SPRING HAS SPRUNG where I am today, it’s p*ssing down with rain, but it’ll be a balmy 22 degrees later. Are we close to complaining it’s too hot, yes we are people. You can take the boy out of England and all that, but you’ll NEVER take my right of weather complaint.
Complaining about Arsenal? I’m not sure I can muster it today.
I saw people sharing a GFFN x Guardian love piece on Matteo G yesterday. The Frenchman has pulled up his socks this season and he’s doing a great job. I think he has 14 or so assists, a bunch of goals, and he’s being described as a leader. It’s easy to use that to point to his form being a Mikel Arteta problem, I did briefly yesterday, but I’m told the biggest problem Matteo had at Arsenal is the other players couldn’t stand him.
I worked with a woman once, she was a lunatic, lovely, but very inappropriate. Old school New York type, would blithely offer out bad things in the office, once came to my desk and asked if I like getting spanked because she did. It didn’t work out for her at our place, the fit wasn’t correct… now she’s running shit at a massive organization because the vibes connect. Right time, right place, right energy, right culture. She’s basically working in a pro-spanking agency. Was it the fault of my agency and their leadership that we were anti-spanking? No. But life goes on, you have to be happy for people.
It’s a similar thing for Auba. He’s scoring for fun at Barcelona. Good for him. He was terrible for us. If you had to choose his lack of goals or Lacazette’s, the data would suggest Lacazette’s was a better type of zero threat.
Where Arteta has to watch things is that there was an impression before he was a bit too ruthless for his own good, now that ruthlessness has cost him Top 4 this season. There are plenty of managers that fall out with players, all the best do, but they can usually prove the point out the side of it. Thomas Tuchel has decided he doesn’t like Rom Lukaku, his team has been pretty average by Chelsea standards, I suspect if Roman was in charge, an exit from the CL this week might cost him his job. Jose Mourinho would always fall out with players, he was usually wrong, it was always a power move, but he won things… and winning things means people overlook your flaws.
Arteta has exposed himself as a spanker this week… the question is, can he pump Arsenal up a level so no one noticed the belt-affixed-spanking-paddle when he’s marching the halls of Colney.
Ok, ok, I will stop with the spanking references.
Arsenal are still competing for everything we wanted to compete for this season.
You wouldn’t think after the last few days of ‘BURN IT ALL DOWN’ but the people at the Arsenal training ground don’t think the season is over and nor should you.
We have to beat Southampton. The way to do that is to put out a normal team and control the game. No galaxy brain.
Then we have a cup final run of Chelsea, United and West Ham. Take 4 points from those games and we’re up to 7.
Then, by my calculations, I think we probably need 2 points from our remaining 4 games.
Yes, 9 points gets us into Europe. 16 might get us into the top 4. There are 24 to play for.
We have to take it one game at a time. It’ll be tough. But remember… our financial and squad planning was always built around Europe this season, top 4 next season, title push the season after.
We are on track if we can take 9 points from 24. Anything else is a bonus.
Summer has to take Arsenal to the next level. If we can do to our attack what was done to the defence last summer then we will be in very good shape next season if we can get off to a good start.
Expect Arsenal to add at least two high quality midfielders. It is not a surprise to see Neves linked, we are most certainly courting Tielemans, and I wouldn’t be shocked if we moved for Renato Sanches who has looked great when fit this season.
We’re going to have to reshape our forward line. How aggressively remains to be seen and probably boils down to a few things:
- How ready is Folarin Balogun next season
- What we do with Lacazette and Eddie
- Whether we can extract a fee for Nico who earns about £140k a week
There will be a blockbuster forward signing. The profile is pretty clear. Young, tall, powerful in the air, decent link up play, with goals, goals, goals. This is the most consequential signing of the next 10 years. We cannot miss here. If we can make it happen, I wouldn’t be shocked to see us sign a goalscoring wide player. This won’t be blockbuster, it’ll be rehabbing a broken player (Rashford) or picking up a free transfer (Dybala). We don’t score enough goals, we need someone that can change that, and do the things needed in the system.
There might also be some opportunistic upgrades in defence. Cedric probably won’t move because we have Norton-Cuffy developing at a rate of knots. But the left back position will see some action if possible. Kieran Tierney is turning heads, he’s at the peak of his powers, I’m not sure we could afford to say no to £50m from Madrid. If we could replace him with someone more robust, we will. I’m not sure what we do about Nuno Tavares, it looks like it’s over for him, unless Arteta has a change of heart.
Then there’s William Saliba. On paper, he’s perfect for our system. He’s a French international, he’s tall, great with the ball at his feet, he’s hard to go past, and he can move through midfield with his surging runs. This is a test of Arteta. Clearly he doesn’t fancy him, the press all say he hasn’t spoken to him… but can the club afford to let Arteta’s ego rule the roost on this one? Especially after losing Guendouzi for pittance and Mavropanos for similar amounts of money