THE CHAAAAAAMPIONS! DU DU DU DUH DUHHHHHHH!
It’s here my children.
Cancel your Wednesday night group therapy sessions with the boys – SPURS FANS CAN HURT YOU NO MORE.
The midweek is for The Arsenal, fighting the best clubs in Europe… it’s for the ELITISTS!
Well, kind of…
I’m only the millionth person to point it out – but our group feels like a rough Europa League group stage versus a beastly battle of the icons.
Still, I’m not sad. The biggest worry we have from this lot is complacency.
Lens have lost two and drawn one in their opening games and lost two key players this summer.
Sevilla are bottom of La Liga after putting every single one of their players on the transfer list.
PSV are doing PSV things in the Dutch league. I feel like regardless of how badly they’re doing, they’ll always find a way of hurting us.
Overall, how can you moan? Every team is a short flight. The away day will be lovely. It’s a gentle bike ride back into the Champions League, versus the ‘Felix Baumgartner dropping from space’ adventure Newcastle are facing against Dortmund, Milan, and PSG.
The biggest test we’re going to face this season is the Champions League. Not because we’re ill-equipped – but because we have a group of players that has NEVER had to play 3 games a week from September.
Fatigue, both physically and mentally, sets in – you’re always tired.
You are playing BIG games and the pressure can get to you.
The team requires more rotation – and sometimes that breaks rhythm and fans can get angry
Fan expectation is maybe not living in the realm of reality at the moment – we’re expecting at least a quarter-final to be satisfied with the season. On paper, we have it, we’re 4th favorites for the whole thing – but in the real world, who knows, because our players have only played under easy conditions. Remember – Leicester won the league without Europe. Chelsea won the league without it under a tyrant manager. Placing high without mega-cup runs isn’t easy, but it’s not what Manchester City and old Liverpool have been doing for years.
To move to the next level – we need to be able to sustain the league AND the Champions League.
Can we do it? I bloody well hope so. This group gives me a lot of hope. I just hope the players aren’t as complacent as I am. Arsenal have been knocked out of Euro comps by Villareal, PSV, and Monaco in the past. Hopefully we’re ready!
One thing seems close to certain – it’s going to be very hard for Arsenal to bring in a new player before the window closes. Never say never, but it’s not looking good. An area of high concern is our defence.
- Partey (RB)
- Reuell Walters (RB)
- Tomi (LB/RB)
- Zinchenko (LB)
- Kiwior (CB/LB)
- White (CB/RB)
- Saliba (CB)
- Gabriel (CB)
- T̶i̶m̶b̶e̶r̶ ̶(̶C̶B̶/̶R̶B̶)̶
8 defenders doesn’t feel very secure. Tomiyasu struggles with calf injuries and always gets injured. Zinchenko breaks every 10 or so games. Then you have Thomas Partey who is now a defender, but only because Arteta said so. Reuell Walter who is a baby at 18. Kiwior is a centre-back who is also a backup left-back but not a convincing one (yet). Ben White is a center-back, but he’s really our best right-back. Cover is there – but you have to squint and pray to the gods.
Losing Timber really has rattled us – but all these people complaining we haven’t immediately gone out and dropped another £40m to replace him are being very harsh. We did our business, we lost a key player, we can’t just replace him. Especially considering how specific we need to be with the players we bring in.
This scenario is basically the same as the one we dealt with when Jesus picked up that knee injury. Everyone said we wouldn’t survive without him, Eddie did the job, we scored just as many goals, and we were fine. We can start last seasons back 4 on Sunday and it’ll be great. Arteta is just going to have to get creative with back-ups – which is why he’s trying things now when he has a choice. Versus experimenting with new ideas under duress and more pressure.
Did I just speak of Eddie and not remind all his HATERS that their HATE powered him into the England squad? The man is a KING. League One Eddie. Jokers.
Back to my other narrative…
I did see someone make a great point on AFTV earlier – pundits spent the first half of last season saying City weren’t their usual selves at the start of last season. Why? They were trying new things. Different formations. Different player combos. New ideas. When they got into the backend of the season – they were more than themselves and they went on an extraordinary run. The work Pep did at the start of the season paid off during the backend. Arteta seems to be following suit – get your ideas down on paper, see what the players react to, and always plan to peak when the going gets tough.
We have not peaked at the right time 2 seasons on the bounce. Maybe this shift will help us make better decisions in the long-run. Rob Holding was a default because we hadn’t tried White and Partey earlier. That won’t happen again.
Ok – short post today. Get on our latest pod. The boys reunite for a Champions League Reaction podcast with all the lads. x