ARTETA NEEDS TO RIP THE PLASTER (LONG READ)

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Well, here we are, once again licking open wounds on a Monday morning. It’s grim. But every moment like this presents an opportunity to learn. That Liverpool performance will give credence to certain debates going on behind the scenes. It’ll also shake out any decisions being moved on emotion, versus hard facts. It needs to mean something because we had a game like this last season against Villa after a semi-final win and it seems we learned nothing.

A bum result like the Liverpool one is par the course for this squad of players. We know we can compete against them because we’ve beaten this Klopp side in the past when they were at a higher level. The main difference this weekend? There was nothing to play for, so the players switched off.

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EUROPA LEAGUE NOW DANGEROUSLY IMPORTANT FOR ARTETA

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Well, before we dive into the mess. Le Grove passed 2.5m comments yesterday. Quite the number when I consider how many comments I delete on a weekly basis. The shame? That the massive jump happened because Arsenal reverted to pre-December form and dropped an abomination of a performance.

There’s only one way to look at the game.

Meek.

We were absolutely petrified of Liverpool. No one in that starting 11 thought they were coming out of that game with more than a point and that mindset is down to Arteta.

Can you blame injuries?

No. You can’t.

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TOP FOUR FLIRTS AGAIN, AS HOPE WAVES FROM THE BAR

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Ahhhhggghhhhhhhh… WHY CHELSEA, WHY?

I wanted them to win. Smash West Brom. Keep hope OUT of this weekend. Make the Liverpool game an exercise in nothing.

Tuchel losing his first league game 5-2 has opened this afternoon up. It went from largely uninteresting, to… hmmmm… this could be sexy?

For Arsenal AND Liverpool.

If we win today, we go to within 6 points of top 4. SIX POINTS OFF TOP 4 WITH 8 GAMES TO GO.

That would be tantalising. There are still a lot of teams in the mixer. Too many to topple in my opinion, but still, the Premier League season, as it stands, is not over by a longshot. Our last few games are not the worst… we also play Chelsea, who we can beat.

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JUST SAY NO

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Finally, football is back and we can all start being friends again. Kind of sad that international break is like being cut off from the world. My group chats have been dead. Do I only have friends because of Arsenal?

Matt from the pod called me the other day and it was like an awkward first date. I don’t know what he likes outside football. Is that child he walks around with his? I’ve never taken the time to ask.

Friendships during international break is a bit like growing old as a couple and realizing all you had was great sex… my relationships are vapid and narrow. Most are men I’ve met online. Still, I can live with it if we smash Liverpool tomorrow, am I right, internet best friends?

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#7

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Welcome to Wednesday.

A day of remembrance. It’s been 20 years since the passing of Rocky Rocastle. A player that no doubt would have thrived in the current setup we’re building, who still holds a special place in the hearts of Arsenal fans all around the world.

I don’t have sharp enough memories of him to give a full run down, I just remember my dad being absolutely gutted when he left the club under George Graham. The fact he cried tells you all you need to know about the player and the man (Rocastle, and probs my dad).

Quite touching that our current number 7, hoping to emulate his impact, is out here honouring Rocastle today.

The Athletic has run a piece about fan happiness up and down the country. The data looks a bit wonky on the Arsenal front, but the overall picture is Arsenal fans are very happy with the entertainment value of the football, and a bit above meh on the Arteta being the coach next season.

What grinds me are the people that are standards merchants ‘HAPPY WITH 10TH’, like the table is literally the only thing that Arsenal fans are looking at.

No one is happy with 10th, I can assure you. But what most Arsenal fans can now see is that things are moving forward, old problems are being addressed, and something resembling sexy football is starting to emerge.

If you accept that mediocrity and a lack of ambition crashed us over 10 years, then you have accept that in the real world, building back to elite was always going to take longer than 12 months… and ideally, if you were undertaking that, you’d prefer to do it without a pandemic.

‘BUT EMERY’

Time is a reward for people doing a good job. Emery did not do a good job. He was not respected, he couldn’t communicate, and things were as bad behind the scenes as they were on the pitch. There’s no world where more time for him was leading somewhere positive.

Back to the STANDARDS folk. Calling fans out for having a bit of vision about where we’re going is football flat-earthing. If the only way you can understand progress is the table, you’re missing out on a whole lot of nuance… particularly right now.

Happiness is not a single metric, never has been, never will be. Emery’s 22 game unbeaten run was not happiness if you knew what you were looking at. Wenger reaching 2nd in 2016 was not a celebration. Klopp crashing Dortmund was not the imminent decline of his powers at the top of the game. 10th in the  table isn’t reflective of where we’ll place next season, I can assure you of that.

The injury scene is looking fairly decent… the main worry was around the fitness of Smith Rowe. That’ll be bad news if he’s injured… the hope is that, like a few of the kids, he’s managing his body well and the absence is precautionary. Losing one of your stars to the misery that is Aidy Bothroyd really would be a sorry state of affairs.

Short one today, normally blogging will commence soon… and there should be a podcast tomorrow.

See you in the comments.

 


ONLINE DISCOURSE IN THE GUTTER

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Welcome to Tuesday.

Bacary Sagna has been chatting in the press a bit. He shared some thoughts on William Saliba.

“I still have trust in him, I think he is a good player and he can adapt to Arsenal because I’ve seen him play many times.

“He is doing well at Nice and has probably been their best player. At that age you need to be playing. He has big potential and in France people know it.

“Sending him away is not a bad thing, it’s not a punishment. To me it’s clever to send him [on loan] rather than him being on the bench or not even being in the squad.”

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