Well good morning my darlings. I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the lovely messages about my friend and the kind donations you made yesterday to the family. The Arsenal community has many faces, one of them is the outpouring of kindness about the important things.
One thing that did occur to me is that this site doesn’t do enough for good causes. We’ll be looking to address that over the coming months and I’d like it to be geared around suicide prevention and mental health. Any suggestions will be very much welcome in the comments, I’ve already had CALM sent my way.
Now, let’s pivot to something a little more joyous.
Arsenal might have found a new anthem.
— Louis Dunford (@LouisDunford) April 29, 2022
This song entered the culture yesterday as a new Arsenal anthem. I love it. It speaks to local pride, the lyrics are simple, and it seems there’s a 100% YES from fans that we should make this our own. Massive congrats to Louis Dunford. They say every successful musician needs a song in an advert, a film placement, or an anthem for a team. Good work.
The internet is magic.
Mikel Arteta was in a game face kind of mood in the press conference. He wouldn’t be drawn in by any press questions that suggested this game would be easy. He knows we were utterly shite at The Olympic Stadium last season for the first 30 minutes, David Luiz didn’t fancy it, we were beasted, we went 3-0 down. The fightback was a sign of things to come for the team culture, it was the game we found out who this quiet Norwegian kid called Martin Odegaard was, and we exited with a point.
Arsenal players need to remember what West Ham is capable of. They are not in the semi-finals of a European comp because they are mugs. The David Moyes comeback tour with West Ham has been built on resistance and tactical nous. If we go into the Sunday game thinking we can take the 3 points without a fight, we’re going to be in big trouble.
Injury-wise, we’re in good shape. Bukayo Saka is available after recovering well from a knock in the United game. That is huge, he is in imperious form, he’s grown some MAN teeth this season and he looks ready for the next level.
Tomiyasu is now ready to play. Art De Roche asked a question about breaking the lines with his left peg, the response was intriguing.
‘Well, when we follow the player and we identify him as one of the candidates, obviously it one of the things that I came across and it gives you a lot of solutions. Not only because he can use both feet, but he can play right centre-back, left centre-back, he can play left-back so that gives you enormous variability and it’s the way they’ve been raised and coached since a really young age, that’s what he says so for him, left and right is the same.’
Was this question aimed at seeing if Mikel might be thinking about Tomi at left-back to give us more solidity and balance for a Spurs game that likely won’t see Nuno Tavares? I think it was.
Tomi at left-back… would you do it?
Arteta does have the chance to do something interesting tactically.
Things we know:
- West Ham will rest all their main players because they are chasing a Euro final and CL football
- Their squad is generally quite old, there might be a bit of self-preservation, even with the B team
- I suspect whatever side is put out will come for us, I don’t think they’ll sit back, they have to put on a show for the home fans, even if they do lose
- Their players will be emotionally and physically drained
- Moyes won’t have had much time to analyse Arsenal
The mission should be to hit them hard and fast. Score the first goal and it’s going to be very hard for them to get back into the game. The nightmare is if they score first and sit into a dirty deep block.
Arteta will understand this dynamic and might opt for something sexy. Might we see two strikers? Gabi and Eddie more central? Odegaard pushing up higher? West Ham having to pivot tactics because we bring something new to the party might be sharp, especially as they’ll not have a centre-back partnership of note.
Whatever happens, the boys will know that we have to cause problems, take our chances, and leave with 3 points. Leicester is likely going to get thumped by Conte, Kane likes it against them. Spurs haven’t had an answer to Harry Kane getting marked out of the game, but let’s be real, Brendan isn’t going to have a starting 11 capable of doing anything about the England striker and I struggle to believe there won’t be a forceful reaction to ZERO shots on target in two games.
My two ideals for the end of this season are for us to head into the Spurs game not needing a win because we beat West Ham and Leeds… and I’d rather the decider not rest on Everton’s fate. It just had too much juicy bullshit narrative written over it.
Before I leave you, there’s a great podcast on Sky Sports with Mikel, he talks about managing players, and the plan for the summer. He was asked whether we were going to make VVD and Alisson moves this summer, he said, ‘we are not in a position to do that.’
Things to note from that:
- We’re not at the cherry-on-top phase of the project, we don’t even have Champions League football sewn-up
- He’s telling you very clearly that there’s finite cash to spend this summer, so don’t expect a mega blowout
- Liverpool under Klopp took until 17/18 to go massively beyond a £50m net spend. The two prior seasons to the blowout, they had a positive net spend.
Arteta says we can’t do what Liverpool did in that one window, but what we can do is build out a sustainable approach to our transfer business. That means coaching our players to better, bringing through elite kids from the academy, and doing something crazy: sell players for actual cash instead of giving them away.
The plan is to attack Liverpool and City for the league within 3 years.
We’ll do that by:
- Keeping our best players
- Spending the money we do have with absolute precision
- Getting into the Champions League and staying there
- Striking when the moment is HOT
Getting to the top in a league like this one takes 5 years minimum, we might get there in 6 (the amount of time Ralf R said you need), you could chalk that up to a strategic fuck up, a novice management group, or the worst non-war mitigating circumstance in sporting history.
No one will care if we continue progressing the way we are, just look at these real puuurdy graphs.
Right, on that note, jump into our podcast preview of the West Ham game and slide into man-like-Matt-Kandela’s DMs because he’ll be at the away game this weekend.