LET’S GET PHILOSOPHICAL

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Steve Rowley, our Chief Scout through some of our most successful periods passed after a short battle with illness at 63. That is no age. My thoughts are with his family and friends right now. Truly awful on every level. The only positive you can take on occasions like this is that he was part of something extremely special that left and imprint on the history of a football club that’ll be around forever. Legacy, it’s a beautiful thing to leave behind. Big love from all at Le Grove x

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Maybe that sort of thing has shaped how I’m going to be thinking about the rest of the season. Because at the end of the day, there are more important things to waste time being angry about than football.

Let’s open today with a tweet from Man Like Matt Kandela. Watch the video then rejoin the post.

Are you back?

Are you pumped?

Good stuff. Let’s proceed.

I’m going to go all Trainspotting on your right now: You choose what Arsenal you see. You choose your emotions, how to look at then game, what sort of fan you want to be, and right now, I’m choosing to be a philosophical one that sips from a jug of half-full rosé.

Arsenal have made a pigs ear of the last three games, we should have taken at least 7 points from them, and if we had delivered… we’d be choke-slamming top 4 off the top rope right now.

We didn’t.

There are lots of reasons you can highlight.

My GroupChat and podcast team think January was a miss.

I think Arteta mismanaged the players he had at his disposal.

There’s also a pretty strong case for luck not going out way. The only team with a worse xG differential in the league than us this season is Brighton now. Remember the doom-mongers about our December xG? Where are they with the defence of us now?

The Palace game was a bad start by us and we gifted them goals from our own mistakes, but we had enough good chances to beat them.

The Brighton game was bad tactics from Arteta, if he’d given minutes to certain players earlier in the season, we’d have won that game. We lost off two very, very lucky goals from a team that doesn’t score.

Then the Southampton game was a flukey hooked pass from the second phase of a corner. Saka buries that chance on a normal day, ESR gets a better connection when he’s firing, normally a team scores when they have 23 shots in a game. Chelsea scored 6 from 24 shots the week before.

55 shots over 3 games. 1 goal.

Paint the Arteta comeuppance however you like, but this moment isn’t an Emery collapse when you dig a little deeper, ours is underpinned by the luck going against us, not the ramifications of the luck running out because we are shit.

Here’s where you need to helicopter out and get philosophical.

Arsenal aren’t shit.

If you think Arteta is a dreadful manager that should be fired, then you are going to have to explain to me how he has us in contention for top 4 with 7 games to go with the youngest squad in the league without a striker that can score goals.

Something is going right somewhere. We’ve already established that we are unlucky. You don’t need xG to tell you that, just look at the decisions that have gone against us this season.

My hope for this season was to be in contention for the top 4 come the end of the season. I wanted us to be competitive.

Well, that’s exactly where we are. In fact, we’ve been so much better than expected, people now think Arteta should be sacked because we haven’t cleared up top 4 seven games before the end of the season. Silly commentary, don’t you think? It has to be noted, most of the people I know that think that way were calling for Arteta to be sacked after the first three games, and had him down as exiting the club in December.

Philosophically, look at where we are.

Competing for top 4 with a group of players that have mostly never won a trophy. They are extremely green. Most are kids. These young players haven’t had the experience or the pressure of competing at this level. None of them have had to deal with form dips. They haven’t felt fan expectation like this, none of them have had the weight of a clubs history on their shoulders.

People also seem to miss that we had 4 of our first team players out yesterday. 3 in the previous game. 3 by the end of the Palace game. Take the full backs out of the Liverpool and City teams, what do you have? Problems. Take out 4 of Spurs best players, you think Conte is carrying a 10 game winning run? He can’t even manage that with Kane and Son at their peak.

The fans in the ground get it 100%, online, not so much.

Where do you want to be coaching wise? Antonio Conte? I hear so much about how incredible he is, but my good friend David, a season ticket holder at Spurs, told me the Brighton game was the worst performance of the season, including Nuno games. Ralf Rangnick? David Moyes? Mourinho? Carlo? Where is the silverbullet?

I’d rather be with the coach on the rise competing with the silverbullet managers everyone pointed to as missed opportunities for Arsenal.

Arteta has some work to do on his player management, he has to learn to listen to the experts at the club that manage player health, he has to understand that young players that aren’t given minutes are going to be able to slip right into the team. Instead of giving minutes to 12 players that needed developing, he should have been sharing the minutes with 16 of them, so they understand what is expected of them. We opted for a young manager, he’s learning on the job with Arsenal, but let’s again reiterate… all managers make mistakes and most of the ‘HE’S THE ONE’ coaches that have far more experience than Arteta had failed.

We have some clear problems with clear solutions. You couldn’t say that at the end of last season. The path forward has never had more clarity.

The difference between goals and expected goals in -10 this season.

That is a solvable issue however you cut it. 10 more goals and we are cruising into the top 4.

How do we get there?

Young players get better in front of goal. They get more experienced, better under pressure, and they grow in confidence.

You recruit more players that can step up with goals.

Arteta wanted a striker this January, they went down many avenues, agents fees were the difference for Vlahovic. We’re just not going to give £13m to them after the Raul tenure. We will sign a big name striker like Darwin Nunez this summer. That gives you a runner that we don’t have right now. That gives you a target in the box. That gives you a total fucking bully that asks questions of defenders all game. That gives you pedigree in front of goal at a Champions League level.

We don’t have that right now… and we are still in the mixer for 4th with 7 games to go.

Arsenal don’t need a squad overhaul this summer, we have a foundation that is really good, that will get better. We don’t need to fill the squad with more back-up players. What we need is 3-4 players that are ready-made for the first team. That’s why signing a ‘back-up’ striker in the summer was a waste of time. That’s why signing bodies would have been pointless. We need 2 midfielders of pedigree that can bench Granit Xhaka. Neves, Tielemans, or Renato Sanches do that job for you. We need forwards that are going to add goals like Rashford, Dybala, Neves, or Oshimen.

Add proper players to the squad this summer, with pedigree, experience, and hunger and we are cooking next season.

Champions League qual this season was always a big ask.

Europe was the goal.

Arsenal are thinking with the longterm in mind these days because we aren’t rich enough to waste money on drossy short-term ideas.

No team is better placed to move forward than Arsenal.

Drastic changes are not needed.

Bold strategic moves is the only way we kick on.

But that doesn’t start next season, it starts now.

Why can’t we get a point or more from Chelsea this week? When are Arsenal going to get a properly grim result where the luck rolls out way? What can Arteta do to rally his troops and get them back on the right track?

1 point against Chelsea. 3 points against United this weekend. Well, we’re back in the mixer.

Success right now would be making that Spurs away day a Cup Final of consequence.

We have the talent to do it. Do we have the luck? Let’s hope so.

You can be angry about our last 3 games, that’s up to you, but I tell you what… I can see online that most are keener to rally around the squad and look at the club with rose tinted glasses because that’s what being a football fan is all about.

So fuck the misery, time to get our big boy boots on and slide two footed into Wednesday like your name was Granit Xhaka against a top 2 side.

That’s the spirit.

See you in the comments. Watch our podcast. Tell Matt Kandela his tweet was awesome.

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Chrispy

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Peckobill

All a bit delusional that post .

Chrispy

A great

Marko

Something is going right somewhere. We’ve already established that we are unlucky.

No we haven’t you have. We scored 56 league goals last season and then proceeded to not only NOT target forwards in either transfer window but ALSO alienate and get rid of the one good source for goals we had and roll with two absolute stinkers who are set to leave the club on frees. That’s not bad luck that’s shit management by a novice who’s doing a poor poor job.

MilanøGunner

50 yet Chrispy?

Jim

The easy option is to be miserable, think the fan base at large has improved this season / post covid and would do well to maintain some positivity around the team because they certainly seem to need it. You site luck / January / mismanagement for the current seasons disappointment, all of which I agree with, but what I find frustrating is that it isn’t an isolated episode. It seems a late season collapse has been part of our DNA every season going back years. How do you solve such a persistent ingrained pattern? Well the ‘change of culture’ under… Read more »

BacaryisGod

Pedro ‘55 shots over 3 games. 1 goal’. It’s not complicated. We were behind and our last three opponents sat back, absorbed pressure and for the most part were content to let us take low percentage efforts on goal. This is an objectively awful run we’re on and I think luck is a minor factor. The primary reason is Partey returning from the international break with a poor performance and at the end of the first match, a likely season-ending injury/ The Partey-Xhaka partnership made our CBs look better and provided a solid foundation for our attacking players. No team… Read more »

Marko

The reality is every manager previous was able to get a tune out of Aubameyang except for the current manager who clearly struggles offensively and has a blind spot for the attack. Christ even Xavi another novice is getting production from auba.

Marko

Also I think the reason we’ve been in with a chance this season is more to do with teams like Spurs and united this season going through their own struggles and changing manager than us being much improved which is quite obvious that we haven’t. In fact had we changed manager earlier in the season when we had the chance we’d probably be clear in 4th right now.

Marko

Marko, Arteta got a tune out of him and gave him a £350k a week deal and the captaincy.

Nah he struggled under Arteta every forward has.

Marko

Spain is an easy league

Maybe Mikel should go there then maybe he won’t struggle as much

InsideRight

Pedro – “If you think Arteta is a dreadful manager that should be fired, then you are going to have to explain to me how he has us in contention for top 4 with 7 games to go with the youngest squad in the league without a striker that can score goals.” It’s pretty simple really (the strawman notwithstanding) and you gave the answer yourself before, when you said… “Arsenal have made a pigs ear of the last three games, we should have taken at least 7 points from them, and if we had delivered… we’d be choke-slamming top 4… Read more »

Marko

If you went into a boardroom and suggested Arteta be sacked this summer… I’m not sure you’d have much of a case.

Oh you’d have a mountain of evidence. If it was a murder case it’d be cut and dry a gimme an easy conviction given the evidence.

shaun

My Prolem with Arteta has always been his experience and the management of the intangible stuff like man management to a certain degree . When people say he has learnt from the best and there for ………………..and doesn’t work like at and that is the worry with Arteta and his personality seems to lean towards the Pep way of man management .If it does not work for Pep he will just by a new more expensive version that will. In te real world Arteta needs another three years management experience before he is let anywhere near a big club.The issue… Read more »

Globalgunner

If your evidence is ” We have the best young coach in Europe and the youngest team in the league”

You would be put in a restraint and carted off to psycho hospital

benkind

“… No team is better placed to move forward than Arsenal…” The fact that Pedro can write this just tells me Arteta can do no wrong. Well at the end of the season we will all know which direction. We still have a chance to get 4th with champions league football and until it is mathematically impossible then i will stop believing. However, Arteta took a team that finished 5th to two 8th finishes. To get 5th is break even, 4th is an improvement. 6th downwards is failure no matter how it is painted. — Didn’t Madrid also beat Chelsea… Read more »

Ernest Reed

You honestly have zero shame with that “we are still in the hunt for 4th” shout. Unless you’ve woken from a total and complete coma just now, only a fool would even contemplate the concept of being still in it after witnessing the last few matches. Seriously, they are done and the last three games have not been down to “bad luck”, its been down to just being plain old crap, sprinkled with a smattering of dog crap for emphatic flavour. They are bereft of ideas, bereft of desire, and bereft of a decent manager. Thats called done and dusted… Read more »

Globalgunner

Saying the same thing over and over again is not evidence. Pedro. He has 8 games left. 8 tough games. If he can`t improve on 8th place, then what exactly is he good for?

Danny

Pedro
2 blogs since losing to Southampton and not a word about her utterly awful Ødegaard’s been playing. 29 matches – 3 assists.
What a waste of money.
Then there’s Martinelli playing on the wing, 22 games – also 3 assists.
Not good enough.

Marko

I’d also look back at some of your past claims to see where this absurd view came from.

Hardly absurd. Pedro are you okay? Is someone holding you against your will or something? If anything people who predicted arsenal under Arteta are being vindicated. How so? Well we’re currently on an abysmal run and nose diving thanks to him and the stats (not luck) back that up. He had one competition to focus on this season just one and he’s failing miserably at it. Set to concede more and score less than last season and that was a horrendous season.

benkind

InsideRightApril 17, 2022 20:03:01 Great comment and that quote is just perfect. Time will tell. Tuchel is in another Final. We keep giving excuses from referee, to Covid and injuries. We make it sound like these are only exclusive to Arsenal. Every fan of a club can find an excuse for why their club lost or why they are unlucky. Chelsea are playing well and reaching Cup finals even with the speculation and uncertainty about the club with a coach going through a divorce but no everything must be perfect for Mr. Areta. How can Southampton loose 6 nil and… Read more »

Marko

Anyway like I said if his claim for job security is we’re still in with a chance of top 4 purely cause united and Spurs struggled and then brought in new managers then that’s a pretty pathetic reason.

IAT-Robbie

RIP Steve.

Same age as my dad and I can’t imagine him not being around (yet). His club bio said he left his position in 2017 after joining AFC in 1980. It’s good Rowley left when he did and wasn’t amongst the scouts sacked by the club in August 2020. That would have been a bit awkward

Tom

“I mean, even the best clubs are reliant on the best players. Liverpool dropped 30 points when VVD got an injury.“

God give me the strength!

benkind

Ben, not many clubs like a manager so much, they sack on, especially not a big club.Why don’t you tell me why Arsenal are in bad shape moving forward? Like I said, Arsenal is a bad shape if they finish below 5th. That would me we have regressed for 3 seasons with Arteta managing 2.5 seasons in that time period. That is a bad shape. If we get 4th then that is good. Additionally, my goal as a fan isn’t 4th. If it was then why did we sack Wenger? I want us to win the EPL, UCL. With what… Read more »

Marko

I would say, on the face of it, saying Arteta is the worst manager in the league is amongst the worst comments of the season. Tbf I never said that I just said that he’s a bum manager who’s doing a shit job and should have been sacked about half a dozen times already. I wouldn’t want to measure him compared to some of the other managers in the league I think that would be unfair to them Also you keep bringing up how young the team is like that’s something to be proud of in the face of current… Read more »

InsideRight

Pedro, it’s you saying “if Arteta is terrible”. That’s the strawman. What I’m seeing is people saying he isn’t good enough. I didn’t want him appointed, but I didn’t call for him to be sacked. He’s had over 2 seasons now and spent a fortune, and it looks like he might move us one place up the table, possibly two, depending on how generous Utd and Spuds are in their remaining fixtures. In his presser he has already set the groundwork for another spending splurge, citing a lack of experience, after delivering this ending to the season with the biggest… Read more »

Marko

Also the average age is what 24 while under Emery it was 26…I can’t remember that excuse saving him

Tom

Pedro, no .
Say Klopp fucked up with training methods, rotation, diet, or any other thing under the sun and you won’t hear a peep from me in his defense re the injury crisis they had last season. But for fucks sake don’t ignore the fact they did have an astonishing injury crisis 5x worse than most clubs in a normal season, and VVD was just one of many key players.

IAT-Robbie

If we were really top 4 quality all season. How is it possible that we’ve lost all our games against last season’s top 4 teams at a goal difference of -15.

Killroy-TM

Watching the PSG v OM game and what a player Guen is, he got under Neymar’s skin and Neymar got booked did that one more time to another PSG player. The commentator said Guen has a footballing brain and is not afraid to let it be known, that is why he is no longer at the Emirates. Just repeating the commentator. But what a miss for us in Guen, that little shit gives drive to his team and knows how to draw fouls and get players booked.

Marko

So we’re using injuries as an excuse now? Come on that never saved arsene from any criticism.

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