Well good day to you all! Especially the fathers in the room. For mothers day, it’s all emotions and feelings… when it comes to the dads, it’s a phone call to berate them for ruining your taste palete with Ribena milkshakes, and some casual c*nting down the phone. If you have a dad, I hope you are treating him well, if you don’t, I hope you are ok today.
The biggest gift my dad gave me was indoctrination to THE ARSENAL. These modern hippy parents that give their kids choice, what’s with that? I was threatened with a zero present Christmas if I didn’t conform, so I conformed and it was the best decision of my damn life.
Also, for my American friends, Happy Juneteenth, the day when all of America was truly given their freedom in 1865. I think most people are still working out how you celebrate this one, but my team over here are hitting the BBQ and celebrating the culture. Have a cracking day whatever you are doing.
ONTO THE ARSENAL.
This Lisandro Martinez signing, if it happens, might prove to be one of the shrewdest moves of the window. He’s a very versatile player that can operate in a Xhaka role, can play on the left side of defence, and he can also drop in as a centre back. He’s a build-up player. By signing him, you don’t have to have someone like Granit drop deep to start the play. This thread does a very good job of explaining all the bits he can do.
Martinez’ ability to turn so fluidly makes him near impossible to press when he dribbles. He makes incredibly high risk and high skilled actions look easy. This is incredibly valuable because when building out from the back he can turn fluidly and with ease to evade pressure. pic.twitter.com/B2mRphe6qb
— EBL (@EBL2017) June 18, 2022
One of the things the club will like about him is the bravery piece. That Newcastle game at the end of the season was probably the worst moment in our season. We didn’t show up. Our defenders really shit the bed. Our keeper lost his nerve. So we couldn’t break the press. Arteta can’t have that be a problem next season, so he needs to make sure the players he’s bringing in are bold and brave.
Fabio Vieira is the captain of the Portugues U21s, his whole game is about brave passing and clinical accuracy.
Lisandro was the Ajax player of the season, he’ll probably slip into the Argentina first team for the world cup, his game is built around supreme confidence and bravery.
Gabriel Jesus is an extremely trophied 25-year-old, he is brave.
Tielemans plays for the 3rd best international team in the world, I have no doubts that he will not shy away in our midfield next season.
I riled up Spurs Twitter yesterday calling out some truths about how we’re approaching things.
Now, I know things aren’t done yet, but as with last season, you are starting to see some shape to what we’re doing. There’s a nice counterpoint to how Spurs are trying to get some success.
We are building in an innovative and exciting way. There’s a clear style of play we’re going after and we are getting very creative with how we are covering our weaknesses. Some of it is so creative, Arsenal fans are not even sure what is going on, which shows how much tactical flexibility we are adding to the system.
Arsenal are building like City. Our moves have 5 years in mind, not just next season. We’re looking for the next KDB before he’s a big name, so we’ve signed Fabio Vieira. Creative, a goal threat, relentless off the ball, and utterly decisive. We have a power and pace machine at left-back in Kieran Tierney, he needs cover, so instead of replacing like for like, we’re finding a player that can offer something different, so we’re targetting a build up left-back that can play in midfield and as a center-back. A Cancelo-like move. Every decision we make has a deeper story than just the position, it all feels considered, and very thougtful. Some will say ‘we shouldn’t be copying the City model’, my response would be, why not? It seems to be pretty dominant in the Premier League.
Spurs are building like Manchester United. They are building for the now. There’s not a lot of creativity in what they are doing. They need someone on the left, they scan Transfermarkt and see that 33-year-old Perisic can do a job. They need a backup keeper, Forster makes some good saves, he’ll do. Need a midfielder? Go for the one everyone on Twitter thinks is electric, even if he has some serious baggage. Need a striker? How about the whiner that nearly took Everton down?
Both of these systems can offer success, but one feels more sustainable than the other. I’d also say the way Arsenal are doing things is more exciting for the fans, not that it matters, but be real, who is talking about the Spurs window this week? No one. I’d also say that the way Spurs are building it’s absolutely clear they have not moved on from being totally dependent on the output of two players in their late twenties delivering game after game. Arsenal already showed they could do a job without either fullback or Thomas Partey. After this summer, we’ll be even better equipped and in no way will we be classed as a one or two-man team.
What we’re doing has absolute clarity, all the issues are being fixed, there’s balance, and there’s loads of flex in the system for any eventuality. The players we’re chasing would mean we could absorb injuries, we can offer a nightmare to any team whether it’s a deep block or a fancy side coming to play, and nearly all the character flaws we started with last season will have been washed away.
The best bit? The players we’re signing will still keep the average age of our squad lower than 25. Below is the list of players we’ll likely use this season.
The average age of those 30 players is 22.46. If you take out the Europa kids and Balogun, the average age of the squad sits at 23.6. I know it riles up some that I talk about this, but in football, age matters, and this team still has 3 years to get to where City is right now. The average age of Liverpool’s starting 11 was 29.
The types of talent we’re bringing in are so good, the only way is up. Saka will be battle-hardened, Odegaard will start stronger than he did last season, Ben White and Gabriel now know each other better, and players like Saliba and Turner will join the squad knowing there’s a chance for them to stake a claim.
There will be missteps with the players we sign. There always are. Arsene had a mad splash in 2001. He signed Richard Wright, Gio Van Bronckhorst, Juan, Tavlaridis, Edu, Toure and Sol Campbell. Not all of them made it, but the thing with a splash like that is it energizes the fans, the players, and the coaching staff.
During the latter Wenger years, I always said one of the biggest issues he had is he never regenerated the squad. That impacted the players because they knew we weren’t serious. That impacted the fans, because we knew we weren’t in it to win. It impacted the season, because we were never good enough.
That’s all different now. You can disagree with the players we’re targeting, but can anyone honestly say the club isn’t showing ambition? Can anyone say they think Arteta is just going for top 4?
If you are Bukayo Saka right now, do you feel like Arsenal aren’t doing all they can to make you a success at the club you love?
We are trying to get back to the top. That’s good for everyone. Especially those that sit in the stands.
Let’s see what happens this week, hopefully it’s a big one!