Well good morning to you ALL this morning.
Some fairly mature news dripped out yesterday, Benny Blanco has pulled out of England duties so he can deal with the injury that plagued his game for the back chunk of the season.
The England man had a very strong start to his Arsenal career but he really lost his way after his England call-up. There were stories that he’d be carrying an injury during the United game when he looked out of sorts and that ended up playing out as a wider problem. He managed to survive a season under Bielsa, a whole season under Brighton, but we broke him in the end.
I know I’ve spoken about it a lot, but Mikel Arteta really does need to focus on rotation next year, I’m quite concerned that he’s let Shad Forsythe exit the building. The American really did lead the club in a much more positive direction when he joined the club, he’s one of the best in the world at what he does, and I worry that Mikel Arteta will use the exit to bring in a 14-year-old Spanish kid that he can put under his control.
Arsenal has a weird blend of coaching staff that are very junior or very subservient. We made mistakes last season that we wouldn’t have with stronger people around Arteta. Like, honestly, who didn’t see the Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney injuries coming? Does anyone believe Arteta didn’t have a full understanding that he’d signed a player notorious for calf injuries at Bologna? Did Kieran Tierney’s injury record map to the way we played him once he came back from injury? Why was he so green with the overplaying?
Arteta does learn from his mistakes, I’m not too bothered about that… my issue is that if he had more experience around him, he might not make them in the first place. Let’s hope he doesn’t bring in a yes-man High-Performance Director, that could be especially problematic as the game ramp up next year when we DOMINATE Thursday night football again.
Talking of Thursday night football, it is interesting talking to Arsenal fans on the quiet, because quite a few of them have been whispering to me that Europa is probably best for where we are at the moment. You want names? Man Like Matt Kandela from the podcast said it to me before the Newcastle game.
Would you turn Champions League down? No. But will we benefit from having Thursday night football with a very junior squad? I think so. We’ll get to see Omari Hutchinson, Marcelo Flores, and Flo B develop next season. We’ll also have a really nice outlet for genuinely top talent that didn’t get minutes this season like Sambi Lokonga (who will be a top player), William Saliba (who should be competing for first-team by November), and Matt Turner (who I have no idea about, but hopefully he’s challenging for #1 at some point).
Reality is, if you are in the Champions League, you cannot go light on Tuesdays on Wednesdays because the competition is too damn lucrative. With a squad as young as ours, we’d struggle with fatigue, and I suspect we’d see a ramp-up in injuries to key names that started to break down towards the end of the season.
If you think this is me making the best of a bad situation, you’d be right. I worked in factories for 5 years. Kebab trays, cardboard boxes, Christmas crackers, and paper cups. I found a way to love it. There is nothing better than a paper cup factory, truly a thing of brutalist beauty. It’s best to find the light in life, otherwise, you’ll be very miserable.
Ainsley Maitland Niles is heading back to England as a Conference League Winner, but he is someone in need of finding the light in a bad situation. He has more trophies that Harry Kane. By quite a bit. Now the question is what does he want to do? His Roma stats aren’t great.
He was there for a 26 game period
He didn’t pick up an injury.
He played 90 minutes twice.
He was subbed at halftime 3 times.
He managed 651 minutes, just 179 more than the total amount he left Arsenal for.
He played right back, left midfield, right midfield. No central midfield time.
At what point, does someone sit him down, and say… ‘Ains, you should make up with Arteta, tell him you’ll be right back cover, and be part of something special.’ Sam Allardyce told him this is what he should do, Jose Mourinho didn’t see the spark of a central midfielder. Is it not time to let the dream pass because at this point, maybe it’s more lucrative to be at Arsenal as a back-up than go down a division to play where you want to play?
It could be a masterstroke from Arteta. We know the player can do bits at the very highest level, he’s one of the best athletes at the club, he’s an extremely underrated technician, and when he’s on form against ANY winger, you will find them in his pocket.
I’d rather have Ainsley there than Cedric. I think the Portuguese would be easier to move out on loan. It’ll be interesting to see what Mikel does here.
There was some funny business on the internet when Goal.com reported that Bernd Leno was saying his goodbyes. The German international called out a Twitter user and it was very amusing. There are top tier information gatherers like David Ornstein, he doesn’t have one source of info, he has many, and folk will seek him out because he has so much integrity. When he has a story, he’s so well known, he can get info from both sides.
… then there are the poverty info merchants. ‘Close to Arsenal’ is a very loose definition and certain folk in high media positions max it out. The information ecosystem works both ways, as fans, we tend to think rumours just work well for players and agents… but rest assured, clubs also know what they are doing and they are very adept at sending fans the wrong way to cover their tracks. You’d also be shocked at who leaks. The dad of a very famous Arsenal player who was aggrieved was a ‘source close to the club’ and someone close to the kit cupboard was also known to gas to The Daily Mail.
Shall I tell you who doesn’t usually get top secret information? Random Twitter accounts with 10k followers. There aren’t many people who work in or around the game that would risk blowing their cover to give a teenage nobody the scoop on summer business. The reach isn’t there, if the leak ever got out everyone would think the person leaking was a fucking idiot, and generally, if you are leaking, you want people to believe it. ‘They have good information’ usually means they’ve had a good run guessing.
So David Ornstein, the king of information, seems adamant that the main target this summer is Gabriel Jesus. Me scoffing at him is weak sauce, he’s a top class player, but I just can’t help but imagine being a goal down to some plucky Norwegian team in the Europa League and we’re all cursing a lack of height. City spent £300m to alleviate that issue, why would we knowingly take on that problem?
We have gone out of our way to sign players that are really good at finding targets in the box with long and accurate highballs… and we’re going to roll the dice with 2 smaller strikers? How do you go from Vlahovic and Tammy Abraham to Gabriel Jesus? Obviously, there’s something the data has shown that I’m missing… but he doesn’t have goals, he isn’t a threat in the air, and I worry he won’t be able to occupy defenders like a Tammy or an Osihmen could. It feels like a status signing. Like taking the family to the Caribbean and putting it on the gram when everyone knows you’ve just lost your job.
I guess we’ll worry about that another day.
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