We’re hurtling towards the return of Arsenal, and I can’t wait.
Sheffield United at home.
Those are three great games that bleed into the darkest of Arsenal months… November. Remember those months under Wenger? Always torrid for no reason. Red cards, injuries, SHOCKING results. Hopefully, this is a season we move well and truly beyond crap traditions.
Chelsea has been in a severe state of uncertainty for quite a while now. They spent 1 billion on a ‘trust the process’ squad and we’re still not sure who is going to work for them. One thing is clear, they do have a lot of talent, so they are NOT to be underestimated. But I think it’s fair to say if we show up, we’ll likely be a little too much for them.
Sevilla away in the
Europa Champions League shouldn’t be a consequential game… but we tanked against RC Lens in our second game. A win isn’t imperative, but it would make everyone feel a little less queasy about qualifying. You simply cannot finish outside the top 1 in a Europa League group that somehow managed to make it into the Champions League. It’s quite weird to me that Arteta doesn’t seem to do too well in Europe; he’s a bit like early Wenger in that respect. But, he is only a youngster; plenty of time to learn.
Sheffield United will be an interesting game. I don’t want to say it, you don’t want me to say it, but god damn it I’m gonna say it: We need this game to pump out goal difference.
I am a disgrace, and I know I’ve disrespected the game – but I mean it. Can’t be scraping a 1-1 to a team that took a beastly pasting by Newcastle.
Phase three of the season is a weird chunk – it’s 4 Premier League games and 3 Cup games. 9 points would be ideal. 10 would be great. 12 would set us up a DREAM for the toughest run of the season: The Phase 4 Christmas run.
The big conundrum we have is the League Cup. What to do? We play West Ham. The competition has very little value in 2023, but this season, it does offer a way for our young and fringe players to get valuable minutes they might not get in the Champions League. West Ham are also in Europe, so it’s not a given they’ll go all out in this one… the question is whether Arteta will want to do a Jose Mourinho and get the League Cup win in nice and early.
The last time we won the league cup it was called the Coca Cola Cup – an outrageously elite name. That was one of my first cup finals. My dad took me to see that AND WWF in the same weekend. Sadly, that was the moment I found out the fighting wasn’t real. Sad times. But we won a cup and that made me happy. Wenger never won it. Emery didn’t do well in it. It’s time we defeated the cup.
I’m putting my chips in… this could be our first trophy of the season. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll know what a Carabou is by the end of the season.
Finally, before I go. It’s been wild to watch the growth of the women’s game. The attendances at The Emirates have been outrageous. Arsenal has been trailblazers on this front, they deserve so much credit for pumping ticket promotions and getting fans into the stadium. Obviously, the product has been so good for so many years, and that’s a huge help. What has been a good/bad thing… the popularity of the Women’s Arsenal has grown to the point where it’s adopted the toxicity of the men’s game. I couldn’t believe the rhetoric this week when Arsenal went down to Aston Villa. It was a bit embarrassing but utterly hilarious when Arsenal turned it around and people had to start deleting tweets. It’s a bit sad that a sign of success is when people like the work soooooo much they add poison to the system, but here we are. Congrats to the team for the win.
One business aspect of the Women’s game I find interesting is the relative youthfulness of the crowds that show up. The football is good, the tickets are cheap, it’s an opportunity for parents in a cash-strapped society to give their offspring a nice day out at a great stadium for less money. In the long term, the Women’s game getting kids into their games will be a boon. Those kids will go when they are adults, they’ll watch the games on TV, by the Women’s merch, and eventually take their own kids. I’m not sure the Premier League for Men is doing anywhere near the job with young people. Average age of a season ticket holder is 43; it’s unaffordable to get kids into the ground, longterm, that’s a problem. A whole generation of kids that love football and DON’T go. That’s why getting a bigger supporter section should be imperative. If young people don’t get the live sports bug, they’ll not attend when they are 45 and can afford it. One to watch.
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— LE GROVE (@LeGrove) October 17, 2023