by .

So we’ll start today with a video from Rio Ferdinand.

It’s hard to deny one of the best Manchester United defenders of all time their opinion on the culture brewing at Arsenal. He played for the best, he did it with young players, and he likely knows what a good training ground feels like.

Why does he feel this?


Culture. You can feel it in a business that has it nailed down properly. A good sign of culture is that everyone knows what the plan is. Rio specifically says he spoke to a load of the coaches and they all knew where they were going.

There is no more powerful tool in business than clarity. The same for sport. Clarity of vision tells everyone where they are going. Clarity reduces friction in an organisation, because when it’s not there, other people fill the clarity vacuum with their version of what it is. Once you know what the vision is, you can build a culture around it and set out the principles for how people operate within the system.

Arsenal hasn’t had clarity for 10 years.

Reengineering decline (rot) of that magnitude was always a big job.

This is how it usually goes:

  • The vision is set
  • Certain folk complain about the vision and explain why it’s not for them and they can’t do it
  • The new leader is challenged because the ‘can’t do’ folk spread negativity. Everyone else in the business grabs the popcorn to see if the new leader caves like a coward or stands their ground. ‘Can this person be fucked with’ is the question everyone wants to find out.
  • If the new leader stands their ground the arsonists that don’t want it to work are weeded out. This is painful, because arsonists in business can be popular and often are. Removing influential arsonists always rocks the boat. Especially if they are talented (Netflix talented dickheads conversation)
  • When you remove big names, you have to show that it was worth it. In business, you just fire people. In football, you have to drop people to the bench or take their squad number away, which is way more painful. If you’re doing that while losing, which is what happened, things can get really spicy.

Every new vision needs proof points.

It took until December 26th for those proof points to happen for Arteta. He was on life support by the time those came through. But he made it.

Well, this season, the vision is clear, the culture has been set, the dickheads have been moved on, and now we have new foot soldiers that believe in what is going on.

There are also results. They are early, sure. But whatever is happening is delivering points and belief at the training ground that things are progressing.

That’s powerful. It’s even more powerful when the person telling everyone that is Rio Ferdinand on a Youtube channel desperate for that NOT to be the story.

Is a great culture the end goal? No. Top-tier trophies are. A culture is a rallying tool that creates the right environment to get you there.

Isn’t the attacking output a bigger issue?

Yes and no. Culture doesn’t solve tactical or personnel issues. But it does make it more likely we’ll find a solve because there’s desire from everyone to fix it.


❌Mesut Ozil is not going to solve the lack of pressures when out of possession

✅ Auba, for all his challenges, is trying his harder to adapt his game. He’s one of the top strikers for pressures in the league. Why is he doing this? Because he believes in the culture and wants to lead it.

Look at the issues Poch has at PSG. All the players, but no culture. The players run the show there and if they don’t like the manager, then that’s how it’ll go. There’s no desire from them to fix the issues. It is AMAZING to read people call him a bad manager. He’s one of the best in the business. PSG is the problem. No top manager wants that job, which is why they end up with people like Unai Emery.

Patience is key in all of this.

As a fan, you’re going to have to accept that we are operating a recruitment strategy that has inconsistency baked into the plan. This current squad of players hasn’t had an attacking revamp yet. The only true attacking player Arteta signed was Willian. Everyone else is Wenger or Emery. We tried for Tammy in the summer but couldn’t make the one-in-one-out work. There’s still more that can be done with what we have, no doubt. We’re below par attack-wise. Our best striker is not at his peak. Our young players are in and out of form. The team still doesn’t really know each other and they don’t have the ability to deliver full performances yet.

… but it’ll come.

As I wrote yesterday, this season is a messy bitch. We started the first 3 games with a subpar defence that we changed out after the international break. There was also a covid outbreak and a load of injuries. Arsenal can’t handle 9 players out, most teams can’t, so that was a mitigating circumstance.

We’re 9 games in with a new team. We’ve accrued the 2nd most points, scored 2 less than City, and have the 3rd best defence. The players have largely won over the fan base. Could there be a correction coming? Maybe. It’s unlikely we’re going to be accruing the 2nd most points over 9 game periods all season, we’re simply not that good or experienced enough… yet. But, it is weird for people to criticize consistency when the flow of points has been so consistent over those 9 games. I’d also re-up yesterday’s comment. Arsenal has been remarkably consistent since Boxing Day last year. People keep saying what we’re doing right now isn’t sustainable, ignoring that we’ve been doing it for nearly a year.

We have 9 big games coming up right now against some very beatable teams, plus some very tough games that on our day, we should be winning. Then we’ll see where we are. If we’re still 5th, we’ll be able to make better conclusions about the data. If we’re 7th, but within spitting distance of top 4, we have to be ok with that, because the back half of the season looks good for us. This time last season, we were 10 points off 4th. Now we’re 3.

Progress happens in spits and spats. It’s not linear. That’s why it’s good to look at how we’re doing across phases, versus wetting the bed over a Liverpool game we were always likely to struggle with.

So I’ll leave you on a short post today (short when I started). If Rio Ferdinand is telling you the culture and vibes at Arsenal are good, you should see that as a positive. He doesn’t need to say that and it’s especially amusing when it’s through gritted teeth. It’s yet more context for you to wrap around those xG numbers. When Arsenal were ‘flying’ under managers of the past, the vibes at training were not great, which is why I wrote with such confidence about the incoming correction.

Messy data tends to correct in a good way when players are engaged.

Let’s see.

If you haven’t, please check out the excellent interview we did with ex-Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin. The man has seen it all, he’s one of the best around, it was a total pleasure talking to him. It’s nice to know a man as humble as Colin has staff still at the club. Good culture doesn’t happen without good people.

You can check out his clinic here, his team will help you if you are an elite athlete like me. He might even help you if you’ve pinged a hammy reaching for the Percy Pigs. Enjoy, leave us a rating on itunes, or subscribe to our Youtube Channel.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. PhD2020

    GoobergoonerNovember 26, 2021 08:41:51
    PhD hahaha I’m glad that made you laugh! 😂😂


    I’m still chuckling……

    Fornicating hilarious that story of yours…

  2. Spanishdave

    So Arteta wants Wenger to help him.
    That’s progress?
    No Arteta is lost as a coach and is desperate to stay for the money.
    God help us

  3. China1

    I’d love wenger back as long as the role has absolutely zero power.

    Ambassadorial, fantastic. A mentor for the coaches and players. Wonderful.

    But do not give the man any authority please

  4. DUIFG

    Inconsistency? We have never looked like being able to score 3 goals under arteta. We haven’t even for a half gone you’re not going to get the ball we will throw everything at you.

    Conte Sunday, you could tell goals were coming, second half the pressure was there.

    The lack of pressure to date is a worry, it’s not inconsistency, it’s a style of play over 2 yrs in

  5. Leedsgunner

    If I was Arteta, if Wenger is to be brought back, I would wait until he manages to bring Arsenal back into the Champions League under his own steam.

    Otherwise he is forever going to be compared to Wenger… and how he falls short.

    Do I want Wenger back?

    Genuinely mixed. Respect him hugely as a person but as a manager he stayed on too long… and left us a massive rebuilding job.

  6. Tom

    Good analysis of Auba’s numbers on Arseblog.
    Suggests what some of us were saying, that more likely the lack of service and Arteta’s style of play to blame for his lack of goals, rather than the new big money contract, or being on the wrong side of 30.

    Clearly neither Auba or Laca seem the type of attacking players Arteta would sign given a choice, but their scoring record to date surely proves a good coach should be getting more out of them.

  7. Terraloon

    I went to the Doctors today as every I pass wind it makes noise that sounds like the word Honda

    In a blink of an eye My GP said “ You’ve got an abscess “

    “Wow “I said” how do you know that?”

    “Ah “he relied” haven’t you ever heard that abscess makes the fart go Honda ! “

  8. gnarleygeorge9

    Oh faaaaak! Stan has to pay out US$790 million to the town of St Louis. TBH, I hope he sells The Arse to the Swedish fella to cover the loss.

    The Kroenkes are a bloody liability when it comes to footy/throwy ownership 🙁

  9. reality check

    Just wait until Xhaka comes back. When Bellerin returns off loan. Like El neny did. Like Kolasinac did. They went on loan before right. And then came back. because nobody out side the prem can afford their wages and nobody in the prem wants them.

    Anyway. All these UTD fans over excited about Ragnick. He taught klopp. He taught Tuchel. Cobblers.He might be a great coach but this is the big time now. Has he proven anything On the Elite level. Him. Himself. Not his “students”. Just Him? Typical UTD P.R team including paid fan outlets trying to paint narratives that don’t exist. I fully expect this to crumble before Ragnicks laid a brick.

  10. Sid

    “”””What was evident is Ramsdale needed specific angles and it seemed to me that his body shape indicates a few seconds before passing the ball to the CD in the box. The majority of times he clearly prefers to pass the ball the his left .””””

    I was checking some heat maps before the above post, i was amazed that managers had Not figured this out and prepared for it.
    I was impressed that Klopp seems to have prepared for this.

  11. China1

    So here’s a funny story about me from yesterday

    I never got my drivers license in the UK and I’ve been here 8 years in China so figured it’s time to just learn here. But the first step is you have to register and do a health check. My wife told me when she did it years back it included a super basic eye test. I panicked a bit because even tho my eyesight is actually excellent, I am in fact quite severely colorblind. I have no difficulty identifying the red/Amber/green lights etc that I’d need to drive but I still started to panic that they’d give me a more difficult colour test and I’d fail. My wife kept telling me stop worrying and it’s super easy but I made her promise to help me cheat if necessary lol

    The plan was I would pretend to not understand any Chinese so she’d have an excuse to come in and ‘translate’ for me. Then in her translation for me she’d give me subtle hints whilst asking the question. Like by saying ‘what colour is itgr?’ With the ‘gr’ telling me the answer is green to prompt me.

    So we rehearsed every realistic scenario to ensure I’d be prepped.

    We go into the room and the guy opens a FULL ON COLORBLIND TEST BOOK. If you have never done one before they have lots of pages of hundreds of multicolored dots which are arranged in such a way that a regular person would identify a shape, letter or number in amongst the various colours but colour blind people might not be able to see it and we’d just see lots of colored dots but no clear pattern/shape etc.

    So my wife is like ‘what can you see’ and I’m staring at her like ‘FUCKING HELP ME’ because I couldn’t identify shit. And she turns to the guy and is like ‘he doesn’t understand the question they don’t have this in England where he’s from. So the guy turns the page and it’s the same story. And I’m glaring at my wife to imply I need a hint and she says nothing. So I’m starting to panic now and the guy turns the page again. This time I clearly see a green chicken on a red background, so feeling really proud and confident I say chicken. My wife looks concerned as she translates and everyone falls quiet so I’m like ‘rooster???’. They say nothing and turn the page. Once again I can’t see any shape or pattern and my wife is like ‘which animal can you see?’. I muttered ‘Fucking nothing’ and she’s like just say any one. So I’m like ‘horse’. She translated and the guy turns to the ultra easy ones at the back of the book (red circle on a yellow background’ where I passed two and he cleared me.

    Then he turns to my wife and says, I’m not sure if the animals in England are different or if he’s a little colourblind.

    Turns out that ‘chicken’ I thought I saw was a fucking cow. And the ‘horse’ I claimed to see was in fact a butterfly.

    All I can say is thank fuck he passed me 😂😂😂😂

  12. Time Up

    I’ll be watching the Saints against Liverpool with interests this weekend. I want to find out, why is Arteta’s team always collapses against big teams and we don’t even try to give them a game or fight under Mr averageness.

  13. AFC Forever

    Reality Check

    “Anyway. All these UTD fans over-excited about Ragnick. He taught klopp. He taught Tuchel. Cobblers.”

    It’s not just fans, pundits & journalists are always blowing smoke up managers’ backsides. You see it from fans on this blog all the time. Go back and look at all those heralded as ‘great’ managers that suddenly didn’t meet expectations. I remember when Mourinho was guaranteed to win trophies and it was doom for Arsenal; we have just had exactly the same with Conte. You have to laugh. Mourinho stunk up the place and Conte is so good he can’t even get a Spurs team to compete against a bunch of minnows at National League level…!!! The problem is a lot of people who aren’t in the game think they are experts, it’s all so easy. The naivety is truly shocking sometimes. Never coached, not even a Sunday league Team but they genuinely believe they are the dog’s bollocks. It’s all just noise based around an agenda.

    What I will say is that Ragnick has a serious group of players there to get a tune out of, like Tuchel, so when results pick up, as they bloody well should, a lot of people will be claiming the arrival of the messiah.

  14. AFC Forever


    Good story by the way. Fernandez of MUFC is colour blind and he said it often causes him problems on the pitch. If Portugal wear green and the opposition is in red he says he has to look at the shorts and it affects his performance. Not good at traffic lights either.

  15. PhD2020

    China1November 26, 2021 13:17:07

    Yep,indeed a funny story…
    Except for the fact that your story is emanating from a country that ‘allegedly’ unleashed the virus to the rest of the world,decimated lives,economies and in return sold faulty’Covid-19 test kits as a by-product to the NHS in particular the UK,to add insult to injury.

    Never mind that people go missing in your country of residence,females sterilised,men of a different faith,political persuasion imprisoned,children separated from their families and brainwashed,in addition to dissidents and people articulating a different thought and faith having their organs harvested…It goes on……

    Yep,funny story indeed in light of the shenanigans that occur daily in mainland CCP land.

    Let’s ignore the big elephant in the global room…And joke about a car test…As you were.

  16. Mb


    The whole world’s fu*ked up, if we start discussing it in reply to a funny story by a poster, who know by a pseudo name, on a football blog, on a Friday evening, then my friend you need to cheer up a bit. Life’s already tough enough :))

  17. Mb


    Where are the ads? I could see a blank space in the articles, not sure if it’s for approval process but if not, you should consider the ones which collapses if there’s no bid to your ad space.

    P.s. I only know about AdSense but it should be there for any other ads services

  18. AFC Forever

    Just heard on Sky that Spurs are lodging an appeal with UEFA after their humiliation in Slovenia. Apparently, the plumber who played in goal wasn’t gas safe registered.

  19. Emiratesstroller

    I have watched this evening the Arsene Wenger film.

    Fascinating story and a very good watch. I can understand very well why Arteta would like to see Wenger to return to the club in some capacity.

    Whether that will happen or would be a good idea is a different matter to consider.