It’s Christmas Eve for Arsenal fans worldwide – but for once, Santa has already delivered in full, and we’re happy.
The rest of the Premier League – they’re still in Tesco’s trying to work out if a Spice Girls Best Of album will cut it.
Manchester City bidding £100m for Paquets – feels weird.
Liverpool bidding £110m for Caicedo, only to find out he’s not interested.
Spurs losing Harry Kane to Bayern after Sky Sports News duped their fanbase into thinking he was staying.
Newcastle still short.
United still short and heading into a scandal as they flap over the Mason Greenwood redemption.
Arsenal? We are set. Arteta made Arsenal a destination club. Edu and Richard Garlick made sure everyone signed new deals so we’re no perceived as the most stable club in the league. All our targets only had one club in mind which made it easy for us to get our deals done early.
What’s not to love?
As we watch Spurs flap like seagull in a Cheetos bag – it’s pertinent to remember that we are where we are because Arsenal were finally honest about who they were as a club.
Spurs tried to be big boy winners that signed big boy winner managers.
Arsenal accepted they could only be big boys if they puts steroids into their strengths.
We had a top coach. A top academy. Top analysts and scouts. An elite fan base. Outrageous facilities. Prestige history.
Once Arteta realised older players didn’t give a shit about his ideas – the whole club doubled down on young talent, 21-24, buckets of experience, hungry to be winners at the highest level.
Arteta knew if he could turn the first batch of transfers into elite players – the rest of Europe would pay attention.
Then Arteta added better players in his 2nd big transfer window and challenged Manchester City with the youngest team in the Premier League that didn’t get relegated.
Now we are a destination club. All the best players want to be at Arsenal. We get the targets we want with minimal fuss.
Arsenal, without doubt, are the most exciting project in world football.
This summer has been a masterclass in planning and an absolute dream when it comes to execution. We landed all our primary targets, we added depth, technical capabilities, and most importantly – we are now ridiculously unpredictable.
This Premier League season now feels like it’s ready to bang. There will no doubt be pain along the way, but watching KDB hobble off after 23 minutes leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, City might suffer a little bit more than Arsenal. A broke key player, down after one game, feels reminiscent of the season that followed the Liverpool quadruple bit. Still early days, but a little puff of hopium never hurt anyone, right?
First four games are going to be pivotal. Nottingham Forest has been very bland during preseason and they haven’t won a lot of games. It’s going to be carnage for Matt Turner tomorrow. His first game back at Arsenal and the players all know his weaknesses. He’s poor under pressure with the ball at his feet and he tends to look petrified under pressure. No doubt there will be a little plan of how to take advantage of him playing his first-ever game for Forest.
My hope for tomorrow is that we come flying out the traps like raptors chasing a motorbike. We need to make a statement to the rest of the league against a team that’ll be in the bottom 6 this season. I want to see us pull them apart like we did Barcelona. Aggressive play, relentless pressing, and clinical in front of goal. I honestly can’t be having ‘they’re better than you think’ chats after.
The forward line will probably be the same as the one we saw at Wembley. Kai Havertz wasn’t signed as a #9, but he did a good job against City, and his height will be very useful against Forest.
The midfield kind of picks itself and so does the back 5.
There can be no excuses. Arteta needs a trophy this season and he has all the pieces he wanted. The opening day of the season needs to be special. The momentum of our start last season gave the team so much in terms of solidifying connections. The best ingredient for bonding players is to win lots of games. 10 points feels like the target for this set of games – but I’m telling you, if we can get 12, what a tone we’ll have set for the rest of the league.
Arteta seems very calm, which is great. Just thinking back to two seasons ago when we started the season without doing all our business then we had a bout of covid. How times have changed! The only interesting thing that came out of the presser was that he was unphased by Peter Schmeical’s critique about his Raya signing, he said, ‘ask the fullbacks what they think about competition.’ I make him right. I just hope this really is a battle for the #1 jersey – because let’s be honest, there’s a 95% chance the decision has already been made and Aaron Ramsdale will be on the bench by the end of September. I cannot imagine he’s taking this signing too well. Raya is better with the ball and he has a far superior save percentage. Bad times – but that is elite-level sport for you.
The final weeks of the transfer window will be interesting. Arsenal are waiting to pounce. Could be a midfielder, but suspect it’ll be a right-winger if we can land one. I know you all love Reiss Nelson, but I can’t have it that our solve for a Saka injury over 10 games is going to be him. Sure, could be Trossard, could be Havertz… but we spent the whole of last summer trying to spend £60m on Raphina. Doubt that idea is dead. So let’s see what happens there.
It’s been a mad 24 hrs of transfers and gossip – so get this Rival Watch podcast in your ears if you want to chat about it.
Oh, I forgot to invite you to the first On The Whistle of the season. It’ll be me, Johnny and Matt. It will be FUN.