AUBA INCIDENT SHINES LIGHT ON WISHY-WASHY NON-NEGOTIABLES

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Honestly, watching Aaron Ramsdale in the flesh was something special. I still can’t get over how a lad from Sheffield can do those magical things with the ball. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he’s one of the best keepers with the ball at his feet in the Premier League right now… I don’t think we’re far off being able to call him a world-class talent.

He has it all. He’s an elite teammate, he has great energy with the crowd, his athleticism is exceptional, his concentration has been really good so far… and his ability on the ball is surpassed only by Ederson or Allison.

He’s gone from looking like a very expensive ‘we have to do it for homegrown rule’ to ‘wow, this is a bargain.’

The Sheffield United fans called it. We should have taken their word. I am very grateful to have a keeper like him at Arsenal at 23.

Captain news dripped out into the Arsenal ecosystem, Auba agreed a deal with Arsenal to pick up his sick mum in France. He was supposed to be back on Wednesday. He was not. He arrived on Thursday and with the new (extremely annoying) covid rules in place, he couldn’t train with the club.

I empathise with Auba. Dealing with family issues is tough working in any industry. But if you strike a deal, you have to stick to it. Clearly, Arsenal had that deadline in place so he could be tested and he could train/play.

Did Arteta have to share the details? I mean. No. He could have sat on it. But if he’d sat on it, news would have leaked anyway, and fans would have asked why he wasn’t honest with them. I have no idea why some of the Auba stories leak and others don’t. There was a similar covid infraction last season that didn’t get too much coverage.

Is this disciplinary action consistent? I’m not sure. Willian did something similar last year to go and see a famous chef in Dubai. Did he get dropped from the squad? No. Did he start the next game? Yes. What’s the difference here? We don’t know. Non-negotiables have to be consistently applied. If the fans can find holes, then the players can.

The overarching irritation here is that we shouldn’t be having this conversation at all. Auba is 32. If you say you’ll be back on Wednesday, come back on Wednesday. Or call ahead and explain what is going on so it’s not a drama.

Anyway…

Reality is, right now, football isn’t the most important thing for Auba. His mother is. Literally, nothing else in the world needs his attention more, and that’s how it should be. Work is a triviality. When that’s the case, maybe stepping out of the most extreme of limelights is a good thing for him. Take 3 weeks off. Have a fun Christmas with the family. Get those minutes in, because no amount of money can ever buy back time with loved ones. Arsenal is not important.

Long-term though, we have to be honest, he’s not going to be captain for plenty of reasons outside of this incident. He’s not going to be here in 18 months, so planning has to begin on who is next.

So who?

Aaron Ramsdale

Visibly, seems a very interesting choice. He might have been here a short amount of time, but no one can doubt what he’s done. The crowd love him, he holds teammates accountable, and he’s performing to incredibly high levels game after game.

But… he is a keeper. Not known for being great captain material. He’s also only been here 4 months.

Gabriel (CB)

He seems to be loved by the squad. He’s really taken ownership of the back 4 this year. He’s dominant on the pitch, he commands the space like Paddy, Adams or Sol Campbell. I don’t think there are many better CBs of his age anywhere. I also love that he’s not a difference-maker in the opposition box.

But… his English isn’t the best.

Kieran Tierney

Probably in most fans top 3 for the job. Committed, aggressive, never gives up, seems to love the club. When he gets his fitness back and a striker to aim at with those crosses, he’ll be one of the best left-backs in the league.

But… he does get injured quite often. We’ve had good captain material before, but it hasn’t worked out due to injury. Per Mertesacker has sat on the bench as a captain and Thomas Vermaelen did as well.

Martin Odegaard

A Grover called me out on the latest podcast for NOT including him in the running for captaincy. I know the club were very impressed with his leadership skills during his loan stint. He’s measured, very intelligent, probably the only players in our side that hustles refs… and he’s the captain of a Norway side that has Haaland in it.

But… he’s been in and out of the side and has lacked consistency.

Thomas Partey

A very important midfielder for Arsenal. At his best, he’s unplayable. He is an all-action kind of player, he’s a prestige name, and he’s done it at the very highest levels of European football.

But… he’s been very drossy this season. Can we risk giving the armband to another player that isn’t performing at the right level?

The curveball is Granit Xhaka, but I think Arteta might be aware that a move like that would be a bad look for him.

Before I go: check out our latest podcast and video below.

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Sid

Any Santa claus who does Not meet plan B regulations should be handcuffed and locked up.

Bob N16

That’s as maybe Sid but it’s still going to be a logistical nightmare for stewards with limited training trying to work out whether someone is ‘covid covered’.

Mb

But yeah, selection of captain is least of a worry for us. We need to win games which are winnable. Against Everton and United, we should have won.

Against West Ham, Leeds, we should win too.

Basically, qualifying for top4 doesn’t even require you to beat the top 3 teams.

There are surprises like Brentford ones, but then for q change, you can grab a point from Pools and City.


People will come after me but TOP 4 IS MUST! Enough of me trusting the process.

Mb

Club statement –

“”Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham United.

We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed.””

Mb

It’s something more than meeting your mom / travelling a day late.

Vintage Gun

Auba stripped and lashed.

Bob N16

Probably reflects on PEA’s attitude to being dropped as well as possibly being on a final warning after turning up late for the NLD.

Vintage Gun

Pedro alluded previously about Auba’s misdemeanours in and around the training ground recently without ever expanding on what was occurring. Maybe the next post can be about what he hell he was allegedly up to behind the scenes?

Either way, there’s more to the story than two episodes of lateness

Bob N16

‘Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos is on loan from Arsenal at Stuttgart and playing well.

The German club have an option to buy the 24-year-old at the end of the season for just £2.5m and, given his good form, may immediately sell him. They are reportedly hoping to get more than £20m for him’.

West Ham and Newcastle are interested, along with Borussia Dortmund, according to Bild.

If there is no sell on clause at that price that would be embarrassing!

Dissenter

Now that Auba is no longer our capital we can go in a 10 game winning run and play like conquering Vikings

Problem solved
He was an awful captain and was operating at 10% but he wasn’t responsible for our shitty tactics.

Bob N16

It would be amazing to me if the only times PEA has transgressed was before the NLD and last week. Arsenal and Arteta would be rightly criticised if they didn’t keep certain details private. Everybody should move on. PEA may find this difficult but in the cold light of day he may well accept that he’s been in the wrong. Going off to AFCON may be coming at a great time for him, get a little space and hopefully perspective. It’s very easy to write him off but he may come back wanting to prove something on the pitch which… Read more »

Sid

Another Ozil situation, well played Diet Pep, diversionary tactics, to deflect from accountability.

Sid

Laca will fill in, he will be rewarded with a contract, then rinse repeat