CULTURE CLUB + TRANSFER THINKING

by .

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.

556 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dissenter

off

Useroz

Can’t be offside god sake

Raulishuss

Tr7 you’re weak man. Can’t even own up to your defeats. Ode exposed how shameless your footie takes are. Be humble and talk less

Useroz

Goal stands

Dissenter

He’s one foot offside

TR7

Another goal to ESR

MidwestGun

Goal bitches! haha

S Asoa

Looked offside, but VAR got it accurate

Useroz

1st time cheering for soton hahaha

Dissenter

Now to do Wolves

Habesha Gooner

Wow ESR is genuinely on to score double digits. And 3 of them after getting subbed on.

LoveSausage

ESR is incredible. Scores even when he gets 10-15 minutes per game. He needs to get the full 90 soon.

izzo

HAHAHAHAHA SUPER SUB THE SMITH SCORES AGAIN

MidwestGun

Nice… took care of business… Got Saka some confidence in his shooting.. No injuries.. All good news today… Come on Southampton. !

Berg10kamp

ESR always has a goal in him that’s why he must start games

Berg10kamp

Odegaard has been brilliant today

Saladin

Just need Chelsea to fuck up now. A defeat maybe and we are 3 points off 3rd. Not too bad.

Useroz

Esr currently well exceeds his xG, and tops the team

Habesha Gooner

Flat track bully Arsenal are back. We weren’t even doing that the last couple of years. We coasted through this.

Leedsgunner

ESR making the most of cameo appearances! Love the player.

Berg10kamp

And saka is just our best player period. Has been off form for a while but he is getting back to his best. Martinelli will be our best player very soon.

Luteo Guenreira

Well done squad. ESR destined to score these days it seems.

MidwestGun

Sweet! Hammers lose.. starting to create a gap.

Dissenter

We’ve acquired a good squad, even our bench looks decent these days.

It’s hard to commend the positive changes around the squad without singling out the manager for special praise

Mikel Arteta has gotten a lot more right that wiring this season and he’s definitely growing as manager.

izzo

Any top striker worth their salt would be an idiot not to want to come play with the best young attacking trio in football in ESR, Martinelli and Saka.
Haaland if he has a brain cell would do the right thing but gotta ditch that shitty agent of his.

TheLegendaryDB10

Followed the game via Arseblog’s Liveblog. Really happy with that 0-5 win. Tbh, I was expecting a win, but this is even better: 5 goals and a clean sheet. Nice to see our our GD pushed up! Fr9m what I’ve read it really looks line Martinelli is putting a lot if work in. A real shame his goal was offside as it sounds he really deserved it. Really happy to see Saka score 2. Some posters were (rightly) complaining that he needed to convert his goals. Looks like he is getting there. As for ESR, well what can I say?… Read more »

zacharse

Sausage
who do you take off
saka had his first PL brace, martinelli….
ode in my opinion can’t be sacrificed, he’s not like for like in the same way though its debatable esr could do a job in case of an injury
BUT
we’re still a young team and we need all the minutes with as many of the first team players we can get at this point

Dissenter

Spurs are the ones to have concerns over In the race for 4th place
Conte’s influence is beginning to show

Spanishdave

No way back for Auba don’t seem to need him the team seems more fluent

zacharse

plus esr probably isnt complaining! hes scoring every game! and an assist today thho dunno if that gets counted

China1

Great team performance. Great all round, no bad performances

Just wish arteta would make earlier subs when it’s on a plate like that

Ode was MOTM for me. He rocked the first half. I thought he was drifting out of the second half. Then he was key for all 3 of the second half goals in the build up so hats off to him

He was key in all 5 goals… that’s crazy

Karsa

Great result. Happy days. And now we have the 4th best goal difference in the league.

underrated Coq

Martinelli’s strong and holds off defenders well enough. Why not play him as Striker and ESR on the left? Ditch the pensioner Laca

zacharse

dissenter
re: our squad…
that was norwich not olympiakos, shakhtar, valencia
we need a squad brother

Leftside

Good result

TheLegendaryDB10

China1

Just wish arteta would make earlier subs when it’s on a plate like that

This was one thing I noted while following the blog. This is looking very Wengeresque with his 70 mins subs.

At least, once they were done, it felt like the right call to rest Saka, Martinelli and Partey.

Raulishuss

Don’t tell tr7 ode had a good game, he’ll threaten to quit the blog. Ultimate bedwetter.

Gazza

Norwich a poor team however that was some impressive performance by the lads..Odegaard mom

zacharse

could gerrard do a job on chelsea tmrw and leave us 3 off 3rd?

MidwestGun

I dont think you want Marti as a 9…. battling for headers and doing all tehe holdup grunt work and dropping in there with physical battles.. For me you want him running off teh ball and playing off a 9. And it’s working so why mess with team chemisry..,? It’s not a problem to have Marti, Ode, Saka and Esr all able to rotatea and get minutes. Actually its a really good thing.

zacharse

tr7 threatening to quit the blog? i don’t see it

zacharse

IZZO!
who we gonna get at CF?!!!
fiorentina bought a replacement striker from lille… only real news ive heard

LoveSausage

Zacharse,

Agree it’s hard to slot him in now that Ode has hit form. I wonder if Arteta will try a proper 4-3-3 next season. Being a Pep acolyte, you just know he gets a stiffy just thinking about it.

Btw, Zaha is just a homegrown Granit Xhaka. What a dumbass. Can’t believe people wanted him here.

MidwestGun

Nope.. TR7 has been here for as long as I can remember and I been here for like 10 years or more.

Dissenter

The transfer team have earned my trust
I don’t care who they bring in as striker.
I d ok hope they don’t rush it, better to wait till the summer.

zacharse

is it too soon to start thinking about the NLD

Khakib

Norwich are the whipping boys.

DivineSherlock

This team is playing some mad football ! Love This team so much. Bring on the Wolves ! That was brilliant , and as soon as I criticized Saka for not being clinical , he shuts me up with 2 well taken goals . Just fucking awesome to watch right now #ArtetaIN

Aussie+Gooner

Great result! Now we need Villa to turn the chavs over!

Le Sauce

Excellent win… Again!!!
Good to see Saka scoring two, Smith Rowe has doubled Aubas PL goals already. More of this please

zacharse

sausage
you dont fix whats not broken
we’ll see what he does when this system breaks, by then hopefully we’ll have a deeper squad and a 433 becomes possible, right now not so much w laca

MidwestGun

Hope Stevie G has Villa amped for Chelski.. need them to beat the Scum, today.. So I can start sending my Brother some mind the gap messages.

Danny

Good entertainment even though Norwich are conplete shit.
Now come on Villa!

zacharse

weve let in one goal in the prem since everton, 4 games. gd 9, after everton -1

TR7

Raul

Looks like you are a bit obsessed with me which is not a good look.

Rich

TR7

Still think Odegaard is an average player, and will never make it?

Rambinho

Superb result. Progression clear to see

MidwestGun

Ill admit I had my doubts about Odegaard but he has been proving me wrong.. Don’t mind that at all.. because he is a very likeable player … classy dude. Viking ice in his veins.. cool customer. and his decision making has improved immensely along with his confidence.

TheLegendaryDB10

DivineSherlock

This team is playing some mad football ! Love This team so much. 

Same here.

Seeing them play live is even more infectious than some realise here.

The reason I am (was? Pedro’s optimism re Arteta is looking more and more justified by the day) on the fence with Arteta is because I fully understand what some are saying re him being a total novice.

But one can’t deny that with this team there is something special brewing!!

Onwards and Upwards The Arsenal!!!

Duzie

Great performance. Our makeshift back four did well.

Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, ESR – what a group this is going to be.

We mustn’t bottle it.

Chika

TR7

“See how good ESR is, one pass and chaos in Norwich defense. That guy should always be our no 10.”

I like ESR too but Odegaard is surely a better passer. Besides, you need to learn to just enjoy the results and resist the urge for needless comparisons.

MidwestGun

Guess Chelski is trying to make Pulisic feel at home by wearing their Dortmund kit?

salparadisenyc

Cracking win, loving thats its youth delivering big time bodes well many things, padding the GD. Loved in the first half when it got feisty Benny W stood up, felt like the Arsenal I grew up with for a moment. Taking zero shit and giving less fucks jut pressing on. Ødegaard getting calmer on ball as we go, difference maker again to break it open, classy performance. Going to be nitro if Arteta can get him and ESR in same XI with Martinelli and Saka ahead. Palace for me very harshly treated after Prem giving Spurs pass for similar number… Read more »

Samesong

As long as we compete and win our games we don’t need to worry about Spurs or United. The lads are working hard and seem to be enjoying it. If we lost to city I wouldn’t be too harsh on the lads. Who knows though we may suprise them.

DivineSherlock

TheLegendaryDB10

I am skeptical too re: Arteta but right now this team needs our full support and I am up for it ! I think the club made some smart recruitment, which considering last season is a massive improvement . There are some mistakes which Arteta still makes consistently, like the late subs which pisses me off because we have to play again in a day . Overall though it looks like he has this team playing the same tune , which is so beautiful to watch right now. Long may it continue !

Samesong

Why can’t we just appreciate both Oden and ESR they are both on good form at the moment.

Chris

Merry Xmas everyone, I haven’t been able to keep a close eye on Arsenal but just seeing the result todsg, sounds like we ruthlessly despatched a hapless Norwich side and the first thing that stands out to me about that having only seen the score is that we have the grit between our teeth now what with how we smashed a woeful Leeds side last week too.

Long May this continue! Things are in a great place right now. I’m going to try and catch extended highlights later on. Have a good evening all

zacharse

id take 4 points off 3rd just to see chelsea give 2x as much energy to break a deadlock and not be able to

Rich

Samesong

Agreed

Odegaard – Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe – Martinelli

Are exactly the type of problems we want

TheLegendaryDB10

Divine

I totally agree re his subs. This is definitively Arteta’s weakness atm. With games coming thick and fast, subbing before the 70th min was defo required in this game.

From what I read, Norwich didn’t look like much a threat for most of the game so early subs here would have been far more beneficial.

Pierre

The comparison between Odegaard and smith rowe is unfair really because although their best position is as a no.10 , they both play the role differently. Odegaard gives the team an element of control where as smith rowe gives you that touch of magic . Odegaard is a different player to the one i was watching a couple of months ago, gone is the constant running about to close the keeper and defenders down. We now have a player who is more positionally aware for a no 10 and he now looks like he will create and score every time… Read more »

Dissenter

Arteta has grown on the job
One of the mistakes he used ti make was trying to play Odegaard and ESR together. These days, he seldom does that.
They dont play well together and the team is defensively weaker when both start gamers.

Rich

Niles to Roma being reported by Di Marzio with ⏳

Niles out with COVID, we’re about to lose Partey + Elneny for a month, Xhaka’s just back from a knee ligament injury, Sambi recovering from COVID

If Niles is going? Surely we’ll bring in a midfielder…

Wjnaldum on loan?

Habesha Gooner

Man if chelski lose today, they will be right back in the mix for our top 4 race. I still think they have too much to be in that race but you never know if the pressure won’t get to them.

Lukaku hasn’t been playing and when he does, they are going to be stronger. But we shouldn’t fear any team, especially the way we are playing at the moment.

Raulishuss

Tr7 you’re weak sauce man. Ode is making you look really foolish(tbf pierre too) and i won’t stop reminding you cause you were beating the kid up mercilessly everyday on this blog. There’s no need for the comparism with esr. Everyone knows he’s a baller and he’s been playing since last season. Take the L and stop been a manchild like bamford.

Habesha Gooner

Dissenter
ESR and Ode still play well together. It’s just Martinelli, Odegaard and Saka have been undropable so far.
Rich
Niles isn’t going if it isn’t for good money. Roma want a loan with an option. And I am seeing rumors that we are going to give Wilshere a 6 months contract. Other than that may be Wijnaldum on loan. Or Franck kessie on a permanent.

Saladin

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Come on Villa

MidwestGun

I say fuck off to Mourinho… if your not gonna take Granit off our hands for decent money then big no to AMN.

Yes!!!! get in Villa beat Dortmund .,, I mean Chelsea.

Dissenter

What a header

Habesha Gooner

Hahaha chelski own goal. I will take it.

DivineSherlock

TheLegendaryDB10

Norwich werent , there was just a 10min spell where they threatened during 2nd half . We should have subbed Saka and Laca early, both very integral to how we play .

The ESR Odegaard comparison is like trying to compare Bernado Silva and KdB . Very different style of players .

MidwestGun

Reece James will never have a better flick on header goal then that. 😀

Rich

Dissenter What’s happening is simple: 1. Saka is growing, he’s adding end product, this was always going to be a natural progression with his game 2. Smith Rowe is adding end product, he’s currently massively overshooting his XG, but he’s settling and regularly getting into the right positions, this is a young player gradually maturing 3. Odegaard is settling into the intensity of the league, he’s building cohesion and understanding with his team mates, and he’s the one pulling the strings 4. Martinelli’s all around game is coming on in leaps + bounds, he’s still not the full ticket, but… Read more »

Karsa

I don’t see the issue with the subs.

Arteta knows we have a game in two days time just as much as we do.

He also knows each players fitness level and how much game time is suitable far more than us.

Dissenter

Tuchel may very well get sacked
Abramovich doesn’t mess around with managers, winning a CL doesn’t confer any immunity from the sack.

Saladin

Cash you fucking dumbass

MidwestGun

Oh fuck.. off…. pk.. damn it.

Dissenter

Emi and his antics with penalties

Habesha Gooner

Oh what stupidity

Samesong

Cash is so thick. Chelsea are so jammy this season.

Dissenter

Rich would you get a striker in January or wait until the summer?

I would prefer to wait just to see how this ongoing emerging chaos settles
I want to see how far Martinelli can go and how further can Ode/ESR and Saka go

It dies see as if we in the early phase of a fission reaction in a squad with so many new pieces

I fear that a new striker in January can have that dampening effect on an ongoing transformation.
It’s also difficult to get who you really want in January

Rich

Chelsea getting torn to shreds, if Villa had better quality forwards, they’d be out of sight

MidwestGun

Villa have been great on the counter attack they just can’t get a clean shot off for shit.

Saladin

Ings has to do better. Villa should be up 2-1.

G8

5 away goals always impressive
We are in a good shape and confidence is high
We can’t afford to be overconfident though, one bad performance could easily derail our momentum.
A stupid foul and a red card in a tight game could punish us
In game mismanagement cost us points against manure and Everton

Habesha Gooner

Ings has been poor. Watkins is a class player. Works his socks off and he holds the ball up wonderfully. If he scores more he would be a top player.

G8

Vieira missed the game against the spuds due to covid and zaha saw red for being a childish cunt, very unprofessional of him!
Xhaka could harm the team if he continues to behave like that.

DivineSherlock

I don’t see the issue with the subs.
Karsa

Arteta knows we have a game in two days time just as much as we do . He also knows each players fitness level and how much game time is suitable far more than us.

How come he knew about it and didnt do anything about Tomiyasu , who had a muscle related problem.

MidwestGun

Really good chance for Villa to win this.. Hopefully they take their chances bettter second half. Chelski losing would really complete my day. And as we know it’s all about me. 😀

Karsa

and didnt do anything about Tomiyasu

He has Covid.