CULTURE CLUB + TRANSFER THINKING

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Well, yesterday was the most trafficked post of the year, isn’t that weird? Thousands of men and women, sneaking off to the bathroom,  Peroni in hand, to land a hit of Le Grove. Lovely stuff. Could also be a weird SEO thing because I put ‘xxx’ at the end of the title.

I was spending Christmas alone yesterday until I found out my dad had also tested positive for COVID. He came into London to collect me, we shared strains in the car on the way home, and had a nice Christmas. I am STILL testing positive. But today is day 9, tomorrow, I’m free whatever the lateral-flow test says.

It was mildly amusing to see the Arsenal.com handle land some shit for not saying ‘Happy Christmas’ until later in the day. I am not a Trumpy ‘THEY STOLE OUR CHRISTMAS’ type of guy, but if you’re out here celebrating every other religious holiday (which Arsenal rightly do), you can’t shy away from saying Happy Christmas when you are a British club. Honestly, who gives a shit if someone is offended by it, that is their problem.

Back to the good stuff…

We’re playing Norwich today, they are bottom of the league, Dean Smith has a good record against us… but today really would be asking something of him. The Canaries have been truly awful this season, they don’t have the equipment to stay up… but when has that ever stopped an upset?

Things going against us today:

  • Post-Christmas games are always a bit sluggish
  • The game is an away day, and we’ve not been the best away from him this season. We’re 10th for points accrued on the road. We’ve conceded 17 and lost 5 in 9 games.
  • We are famous for being a Christmas gift to teams that are having a bad run. It’s been that way for about 15 years.

Arsenal cannot allow Norwich to happen to us. It would ruin a great body of December/November work. We are a form team, everyone has found their level, we need to go to Carrow Road and do a very straightforward job, very well.

The injury news is pretty good. Everyone is available bar Auba and a few second-stringers that wouldn’t have been important anyway.

Arteta is thinking about the January transfer window.

“If you can tweak what you need to in that period, which is not easy, it would be really helpful,”

“We are working on that to see the necessities we can have, and whether we can find the right solutions to that.”

The problem with the January window is it rarely offers up a lot of ‘NOW’ value. The standout move over the past 15 years was Andre Arshavin. He came in, made a HUGE impact, then he got a little overweight and was never the same. Martin Odegaard on loan was also a bit of a saucy move, the player made an impact to the way we played, versus showing big numbers, it was also a trial run for a summer move. Now look at him… don’t we just love him?

Maybe that’s part of the recipe? Find players with a point to prove. Jovic at Madrid needs a move this summer, he has 321 minutes to his name, he’ll come in and play the way we want him to play.

The other challenge you have with a loan move is the reality: It might take minutes from a promising kid. We wasted minutes on Ceballos last season. We wasted even more on the busted flush that was Willian. Are we going to bring someone in that might waste time that could go to a top talent? I thought Arteta had the answers in this following quote:

“I was living at La Masia – it was a bedroom of eight,” he said. “I had Pepe Reina, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol … What I learned was that internally there was competition: we were all at the same age and wanted to be first-team players but could not all get there. But what I learned as well was within that competition you understand that you have to look after each other. That was a big, big lesson in that period for me.

“Some of them are still my best friends because it is tough and you go through important, key moments in your career and it stays for life. Those relationships are unbreakable.”

I’m not sure that quote answered much, but it’s nice that he’s doubling down on Wenger ideals. Our ex-manager dreamed of building a group of young players that had unbreakable bonds on the pitch and a huge love for the club off it. The thing he missed during his Project Youth was the special sauce that could have made them title winners. Cesc needed an experienced destroyer next to him. The team needed more depth. Talented young players will eventually want to win… and get paid.

The manager also spent a lot of time talking about culture. This is meant in the least offensive way, but I think it’s quite hard for journalists to write about culture because the job they do is mostly all about them. Journos are like golfers, they are in control of whether they are good or not. The words flow or they don’t. My guess, having not worked as one, is that there’s not a huge amount of teamwork in sports writing. I know they occasionally write in groups, but I don’t think they experience culture in the same way you or I do (Unless they were footballers at a high level). Which is why some ask questions like ‘are you a dictator for enforcing something that feels quite trivial.’

Well, the questions in the presser again fell on ‘what is culture and how do you do it.’ I quite liked that Arteta said firstly, the culture is not his. The second part I liked is that he makes it work because he asked the players ‘do you think it has been good in the past?.’ If they agree no, then fixing it becomes everyone’s duty. That is ultimately the key to a great culture. When it’s working, everyone understands what you are working towards, and everyone in it knows what they have to do.

A big part of it is also knowing what gets rewarded in the system and what is punished. It’s super basic, but you probably know that in a Jose Mourinho system, pretending to have a head injury in the 92nd minute is going to be rewarded in the dressing room. If everyone understands that is part of the culture, players know how to behave on the pitch, and you grow a team of shit-housers that will do anything to win. What does Arteta reward? He probably likes to see players focusing on being defensively resolute the whole game, so what are we seeing now? Martin Odegaard closing down like a lunatic late in the game, Martinelli tracking runners after a gruelling game, and players celebrating defensive actions like goals. How do you know that sort of stuff is part of the rewards in our culture? Fans recognize that Arsenal are more George Graham than Arsene Wenger. We can see it. The rules of your culture are important because they allow you to weed out the people that aren’t going to work.

Anyway, I find culture fascinating because it’s a living being in an organization. When people call it management talk, it’s usually because they’ve never experienced a good one. This is controversial, but quite often people label truly elite cultures toxic because they can’t handle the pressures that come with hitting a standard. You see it all over the world, companies that create incredible often have workers that complain. A good culture doesn’t always mean it’s pleasant. A good culture is hard. It means you are constantly reminded that there are standards. It means you are called out if you fall below it. A good culture is exhausting. Just listen to Klopp talk about his players at Dortmund getting bored of him after a while. Conte never lasts long because he takes the standards too far and it breaks people. Those are the extremes of elite anything. Some people can handle it, some people are prepared to suffer, most can’t and melt.

Losing a player like Auba just means he’s not built for where we’re heading. Look at the players moved on? Most couldn’t hit the standard, weren’t prepared to stay at the standard they once attained or were too old to give a shit.

I like where we’re heading. It’s exciting. It makes sense. Games like today show us where we are.

Right, have a great Boxing Day, I’ll see you in the comments. xx

P.S. We’ll be in the whistle after the game

P.P.S. If you’ve seen Ian Wright wearing the awesome jumper below and you want it… head to Art of Football to buy it.

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Bankz

Bankz is here for the tr4phy again

Bankz

Hopefully today’s game will be a comprehensive win. We need to rack up more goals to our goal difference.
Beating Norwich by 4 or 5 goals will be a perfect Boxing Day game

Bankz

I know DM is somewhere laying in wait

Bankz

((((BOOOOOM))))

Bankz

He is probably still hungover from yesterday’s binge drinking.
Another day, another Tr4phy under my belt.
Racking them up lately the same way Messi has been grabbing all available BalonD’or awards in sight.
We do this again tomorrow

grooveydaddy

Too late

Bankz

I am beginning to lean towards the idea of keeping Eddie especially if Auba leaves in the January window.
Also we need to do everything possible to get a good striker in the window.
I think our scouting has improved tremendously in the last 2 windows so I’m hopeful they will get this one right too.

Bankz

Happy holidays grooveydaddy.
I had today’s run on lock.
Sorry….give me a challenge tomorrow

Niall

Frenkie in January.

Rich

Good post Pedro, really enjoyed that.

Certainly seems from the outside, that we’re attempting to litter the dressing room with consummate professionals

Setting high standards is what all top managers do, it’ll help that Arteta has been inside an elite performance culture at City

If a squad of players down a manager, it certainly says more about the players, than it does the manager, and suggests that the club has much bigger underlining problems than coaching or tactics .

Richard

I hope both Beundia and ESR start today, just so we can all be sure we ended up with the better of the two players.

I don’t doubt it for a second, but I hope to see ESR rip them a new one, while Gab and Blanco keep Buendia snuggly in their pockets.

P.S. How about a New Year’s resolution to all get behing Arteta on all online platforms for the rest of the season and let’s see where we end up?

Leftside

Someone wanna tell Richard or should I lool

Leftside

Buendia plays for Villa buddy, and they play Chelsea this evening

Bob N16

TT passed fit.

Richard

HAHA!

Someone shouldn’tnpost with a heavy hangover!

CaliGooner

3 points is a must. Since we play wolves with 48 hours rest while they’ve had 10 days of rest.

Bob N16

I’d be inclined to bench Odegaard, Laca and Saka and replace them with ESR, Eddie and Pepe.

Rich

I set us a target of 35 points at the halfway line during the last International break, I have us down for 69-74 points at the finishing line

Vital we win today, then a slight points improvement over the second half of the season, would certainly put us in the top 6, and with a good chance of 4th

Every point is vital, anything less than 3 points today is a bad result

COYG

S Asoa

Berbatov is predicting 2-0 for Arsenal. But if it is such a win, feel we might do 3-0.
Yeah another clean sheet for Rambo. He deserves it

Taylor Swift

Great post Pedro, really informative. Ive always said, when running a business, negatrive feedback (from outside or within) is absolutely vital. Whenever a customer complained we would immediately offer them a £250 credit note.

You dont improve from positive feedback.

S Asoa

Ouch
Chastised
😁

S Asoa

Another one from where Tomi came from.

“The Gunners are interested in signing another Bologna player in the shape of Mattias Svanberg as Edu looks to take advantage of the midfielder’s contract situation, according to Il Resto del Carlino via Sport Witness.

Gurzavinho

Hey guys, first time posting here. Merry christmas!

Just psyched with project youth and hope we keep that going today.

Martinelli-ESR-Saka really look like a future elite level 3-behind-a-striker, just gotta find them that striker – I personally hope it’s Balogun.

Gazza

Anyone expecting an easy win today think again Norwich may be bottom but they will give us a tough game

GD

Nothing comes easy, especially on the road, in the EPL

Pierre

The 3 or 4 who will find it difficult to play 2 games in 3 days are Lacazette, Tierney , Martinelli and possibly Partey, so Arteta has to decide if he wants to continue with the usual league side for today’s game or save the above 3 or 4 for the wolves game who i think will be a tougher nut to crack.. Whoever he selects , i hope he doesn’t mess around with the formation as he did for the sunderland game,. There is no reason to play just one in centre midfield, it leaves too many gaps and… Read more »

TT

We either lose or give them a spanking. Nothing in between.

Aussie+Gooner

Seasons Greetings to all on Le Grove and thanks to Pedro for keeping the whole show on the road! Condolences to all those who have lost loved ones to the scourge of COVID (and of course any other disease/condition). These loses seem to be amplified at this time of the year. We have been very blessed here in Western Australia as far as COVID transmission is concerned due to geographical location and strong State leadership. I for one am pleased to have a few ‘traditional’ kick off times to look forward to here in this part of the world. ‘Tonight’s’… Read more »

TT

I’ll be wearing my new Arsenal shirt for the game so it better be a spanking….

Chika

I’m expecting a tough contest today, Norwich really pushed United the last time. I hope we’re on top of our game.

Pierre

Aussie gooner “. We must start our best available players as it is unclear how the EPL will pan out due to COVID.” Hence why Eddie and Tavares should start , it’s a game where pace will make the difference and someone up top who can put the ball on the back of the net as we will create a bundle of chances today We will win this game whoever starts, our offensive 4 will be the difference …pick any 4 from smith rowe, Odegaard, saka, Lacazette, Martinelli, Eddie or Pepe. The full backs could be important as I believe… Read more »

Bob N16

White at RB

Bob N16

or 3 at the back and Saka RWB

Nelson

Arsenal starting XI vs Norwich: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette

Nelson

Arsenal subs vs Norwich: Leno, Tavares, Mari, ELneny, Patino, Sambi, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nketiah.

Gommit

No TT but Patino makes the bench!

Mb

Are we seeing Patino as a sub today? Would be awesome.

At this stage, all I want to see is a tean without Xhaka.

Rich

Bob, when we signed White, I thought we might be signing him to play the inverted right back role, it’s the role he predominantly played for Brighton last season

If Saliba comes back next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t sign a right back, and went with Tomiyasu + White

Patino comes the PL bench for the first time, big moment for the young man

NJ Gooner

The stats suggest Norwich have a real problem on the left side of their defence. So, Saka is a must to start, with maybe Pepe coming on for him after 60 minutes if we have a comfortable lead. Hanley isn’t playing as their first choice Centre-half, so it may be a good game to start Eddie.

I’m still bemused why Wolves don’t have to play today but our game against them hasn’t been pushed back a day or two. We are all asked to be flexible, so why can’t the fixture list be as well?

Pierre

Sit back and watch the goals go in…Martinelli’s off the ball running into the left channel will be decisive…

The way i read it is Lacazette will be asked drop into the hole to pull a centre back out of position to allow saka and Martinelli to attack the vacant area with our full backs providing the width with partey and xhaka giving balance to the side and controlling the game.

Bob N16

Rich, look forward to seeing his performance and how well he combines with Saka.

Rich

…………Ramsdale
….Holding Gabriel
White Partey Xhaka
Odegaard Lacazette
……Saka ……Tierney
……………..Martinelli

MidwestGun

Good morning and Happy boxing Day.. Y’all.. Hope y’all had a good Christmas. Interesting back line.. that’s why we payed for the versatiltiy of White I suppose. Anyhow.. hopefully today will be a fun day. and we rack up the 3 points with no issues.

Aussie+Gooner

Pierre

‘Sit back and watch the goals go in..’

I hope you are right! We tend to take our foot off the throat when well on top. We could do with boosting morale and our goal difference with a plethora of goals! How about a Martinelli hatrick?? Alright… and a goal for Eddie off the bench!

Mb

TT December 26, 2021 13:14:04
I’ll be wearing my new Arsenal shirt for the game so it better be a spanking….

Before I returned from UK, I bought the new red and white. You are not alone today.

Cheers. #COYG

Topside Northbank

Tomiyasu, Cedric and AMN all out covid.

Will obviously miss Wolves game as well as Norwich

Danny

In the 70’s on boxing day I used to go to 3 matches e.g. West Ham (or Fulham) at 12, us at 3 and Chelsea (probably in the 2nd divsion) at 7:30 but never Spurs, unless it was against us!

Berg10kamp

Why the fuck is ESR not playing!!!!! Our best player being benched for no fucking reason. But Xhaka will play. Fuck sakes.

Raulishuss

Esr is unlucky atm with the form of the front four.

andy1886

Would prefer to see ESR in the side, and Sambi if fit, but expect that they will have to play second fiddle to other players that are managerial favourites.

Thankfully Norwich aren’t as good as some people claimed they were following our win against them earlier in the season.

R.S.P.C.Arsenal

Keep ESR fresh man….

MidwestGun

I wouldnt say ESR is benched for no reason.. trying to fit 4 players into 3 positions.. I personally would start ESR over Odegaard.. but also we have 2 matches in 48 hours. But it’s going to be an ongoing issue and we will have to rotate Marti, Ode, Saka, and ESR.

Aussie+Gooner

ESR will start against Wolves – a much more difficult game on paper!

Bob N16

Did you see the story that our players don’t have to go to AFCO until after the City game.

Aussie+Gooner

Berg10kamp

Come now – you know that Xhaka will always start! If he is injured, got COVID or shagged Arteta’s wife then there may be some doubt!

Mb

Aussie-Gooner

I’m not sure the third reason will be sufficient. Lolol

Gonsterous

Merry Christmas to all

Spread some christmas cheer and post a decent link please 🙂

Berg10kamp

Surely ESR can play a bit deeper in the xhaka role. Arteta and his favourites. @Ausie even if he shags artetas wife he will still play. Lol

S Asoa

Arteta saving the best for next game, except Saka who is indispensable

LoveSausage

Rob Holding has thicker hair every time I see him.

MidwestGun

Ok then here we go… Come on Boys.. still not a fan of the bluish kit. but anyways.. minor point .. haha

Mb

Gons

Norwich vs Arsenal totalsportek – gives you lots of links 😉

S Asoa

Martinelli has to know to release the ball earlier. But of course this play too serves to draw opposition out of shape. Unfortunately the rest of the team after 2 years of drilling stay firmly in their designated slots.
So advantage lost

Nelson

Yeah!! Saka!!

MidwestGun

YEs!!!!!! Cracking move.. that was nice.. !

S Asoa

De Bruyne is back to his peak on other screen.
Our Saka got 1 in

Nelson

All our front 4 touched the ball for this goal

MidwestGun

Love to see Saka get on the score sheet.

Gonsterous

MB

Thanx for the heads up mate

DUIFG

Links?

China1

Lovely jubbly good start

Saka is getting the luck that he never got in the last couple of seasons

Last season the defenders gets a block on that and it reflects wide for a corner. Right now these are starting to go in. Well deserved

S Asoa

Tension off Arteta face. He can’t bear it not playing his full 11 every time

Dissenter

Norwich are pretty poor
I’m glad Arteta rested a few players, the wolves game will be more difficult and its only 43 hrs away

Hope we get through without any injuries and we take our chances

7-2 to the Arsenal

Nelson

There must be a lot of Arsenal away fans You hear the singing!!!

TR7

Saka > Mahrez

Raulishuss

Its always about how poor our opponents are.

MidwestGun

The passing today so far has been pretty much on point. best Ive seen in awhile.

Spanishdave

It’s a game to put subs on earlier.
Arteta seems to be stuck in Wenger time.

S Asoa

Nope Mahrez is better. He is older and more experienced too. Saka will definitely get to be better. For one, Mahrez strikes the ball much better by quite a bit

Dissenter

Martinelli is a dynamo

Raulishuss

Tr7 sure. Saka>foden imo

Leedsgunner

Four RBs all out with covid apparently. Yep, and EPL in its wisdom thought it was ok for us to play… 3 points welcome but how is this fair?

Samir

Raulishuss sure. Saka>prime Mbappe imo

Dissenter

Odegaard will end up being the captain
He’s been the most consistent player ion the team, other tban Gabriel and Ramsdale.

TR7

Raul

What sets Saka apart from most youngsters is his footballing brain. Some of the other talented guys might seem more skillful but Saka is in a league of his own purely because he makes right decisions most of the time. He is a bit Iniestaesque.

Dissenter

Leeds
How isn’t not fair?

We are still able to field a competitive starting 11 and have good subs available

It’s better to play you games and bank the points than join the crush of games that have to be rescheduled?

China1

Leeds seems we have plenty of players available to play. I don’t see why we’d need to cancel

Leedsgunner

*three points if achieved…

Dissenter

**How isn’t it fair?

China1

This is only a couple of players shy of our best 11 and we have some good subs too. No reason to cancel

Nelson

That’s a fault. He kicked the back of the shoe instead of the ball.

Dissenter

Udseless refs
He didn’t see the foul on Odegaard

Spanishdave

Leicester getting thumped.
Rogers not so good now

S Asoa

Xaka is easily bypassed if approached at speed. Also noticed he picked up Odegard old art of looking busy with no result, something Ode has grown out now

Dissenter

I want us to play al our games and bank the points
That will be an advantage in the last third of the season

Nelson

Laca, What a bad header!

S Asoa

Bad header Laca, so wide

Dissenter

You have to wonder how are they going to slot in all these canceled games

International football will be February with World Cup play-offs, same time the CL/EL games return.

Playing and winning most of your games now will be a big advantage in the race for 4th place.

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