#10 issue about to be resolved + You won’t believe what LA thinks of Stan K

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courtesy @allthatchas

courtesy @allthatchas

Big game today, Arsenal face Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City away from home. For the Bluebirds, it kicks off a trio of nightmare games for them, with Chelsea and City following our visit. It could be a gloomy run for them if Arsenal bring some of that destruction football we’ve yet to see land season.

Unai Emery has his own batch of issues to deal with. Firstly, he hasn’t won a single game away from home. No big deal, he’s only played one, but when you put the issue against the backdrop of our woeful away record in 2018 (we’ve lost 8 of our last 9), it could be a problem if he doesn’t bag three points today.


Banananananana kit please + Wenger job opening? + distasteful rumours

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Well good morning to you all.

Big thanks to Jonathan for the guest post yesterday, hopefully, more from him soon!

Also, I hope you tuned into our podcast yesterday, big thanks to Ash and Matt for that.

So what’s news?

Reiss Nelson is apparently going to sign a new deal with Arsenal then go off to continue his education in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim. The English attacker has clearly been getting good intel from Jadon Sancho over at Dortmund and I’d imagine minutes at a high-level is exactly what he needs at this time. Great thing about this story is I think it tells you how much better English kids are getting these days. Championship loan moves are no longer viable, they want to give it a crack in a top league against great players. That’s a positive for the national team. Also interesting that Real Madrid is eyeing a move for Raheem Sterling. English galacticos finally a thing again.

The BIG news is that Arsenal is close to agreeing a mega-deal with Adidas to take on the shirt sponsorship for next season. They’re rumoured to be ploughing £60m a season into Arsenal, giving us another £20m to squander on Dortmund players next summer.

I don’t mean to bang on about this, but there will be HELL to pay if Adidas don’t give us the modern take on the bruised banana kit. I remember going to a Futureheads gig once, only for them NOT to play the Kate Bush cover. Who do bands think they are not playing their classics?

Adidas, I know you’re all fucking urban-b-boy-hip-hop-street-art-vinyl-mod-scene-street-wear’d up to your eyeballs… but be real with the fans, give us the hit songs we’ve been praying for, and maybe I’ll hand over £90 (don’t make it too skin tight).

I really hope Adidas signs off a new era. Puma felt like the nearly kit, it was ok, it had promise, but up close it just didn’t really deliver. We need to rock a shirt that speaks to the future, whilst having some respect for the past. I really, really hope our new kit is good.

I have to say, when watching Mourinho crash to Spurs the other night, I was taken by both teams kits. Very nice.

Also, look at me coming through with the goods on Jose. Who told you he’d be shite at United? I did. Apparently, he has 10 games to save his career. Then its international-jobs.com for him.

I have to say, I was having this dark thought the other day… wouldn’t it be incredible if Arsene Wenger took over the reins for the rest of the season before Pochettino ducked out of the Spurs rebuild to takeover next summer? That’d be so fucking grand. The job is perfect for Wenger. Low expectations, a group of players who’ve been disciplined, shouted at and called fat c*nts… the club is ready for some of that fatherly love. Some of that sweet, sweet tactical freedom. He could possibly be a force. Similar to when he took over from GG (be real, it was GG). The tough work had been done, he just need to sprinkle expression and love on the side.

I would LOVE that because you know Mourinho would DETEST it.

Amusing that publications are running with ‘ARSENAL HIERARCHY BACK EMERY’ over the decision to not play Ozil. What the fuck else are they going to do, pick the team for him?

It’s also pretty clear that the issue is that Ozil has fallen out over being asked to play wide right. Just as he gets the number 10 shirt, Rambo gets put in his position. Must be a stinger. A real wet towel to the cold arse. Ralgex in the eye.

Also, word to Oziltoligists who have more excuses for their messiah than anyone… it’s really fucking distasteful to spread rumours that the reason for his sick days are centred around depression. I appreciate that it’s a positive that it’s now acceptable to talk about mental health in sport, because who hasn’t had to deal with issues themselves or with loved ones. However, it’s not cool to self-diagnose a player from your computer just to shut down the conversation. It is not an argument to say, ‘hey, imagine if he was really depressed, maybe just don’t criticise him’. It’s the 2018 version of ‘Arsene knows’… super grim. Shame on you if you’re saying it.

Happy to revisit the issue if there is one, but it’s unfair on the player to start hawking that theory around unsubstantiated.

Anyway, that’s me done, catch you tomorrow


Guest columm: What Emery means to Arsenal

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I’m very excited to welcome new guest columnist Jonathan Blaustein (he’s NYT levels). He’s a great writer, he packs a punch and this is his first article (stay for the podcast at the end as well). Find him @jblauphoto.

Well hello there, fellas.

What do you know?

You probably don’t remember, but I wrote a guest post here at Le Grove back in 2014, as I was the poor schmuck whose DVR failed, dooming me to miss the first FA Cup victory.

(All was not lost, as I did a full media blackout, and watched a replay a few days later.)

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve written a regular column at the American Arsenal blog 7amkickoff. (Thanks, Tim.) It gave me a chance to opine on all the ridiculous elements of the Late-Wenger-Era, with a healthy dose of Jose Mourinho mockery too.

Perhaps to tie those themes together, we should keep a running tally of all the times Mourinho mocks Wenger this season? That man would fuck Arsene Wenger’s corpse if he could get away with it, just to have the final word.

All along, though, I continued to read Le Grove daily, beside 7amkickoff, Arseblog, ESPN and The Guardian.

Nearly two years ago, I surprisingly found myself coming around to Pete’s way of thinking. Instead of sounding like a cocky asshole, he came across as a forward-thinking, intelligent young man, well ahead of the curve. Sure, he was on the same message for the last 4 years, but eventually, the world moved in his direction.

Pete called for the modernization of Arsenal Football Club. He said hire a proper backroom staff. And a Director of Football. Modernize the training methods. Get current on analytics. Bring in high-level talent from other successful organizations. (Ultimately Barcelona and Dortmund.)

Pete was bitching about the red zone, and proper player rotation, at least 5 years ago.

And while I was a newbie as both an Arsenal fan and a sports writer back in 2014, now I am neither. (I’ve been a professional photography writer for 8 years, including 5 years at the New York Times.)

I’ve watched 95% of the Arsenal matches since I became a fan in 2011, and have seen 3 FA Cup titles in the interim. I’ve got a solid track record of prognostication over the last two years, and think I’m ready for you guys.

The truth is, everyone needs a change sometimes. It seemed like the perfect time to jump back to Le Grove.

I’m aiming for a monthly column, but might write a bit more than that if the situations are worthy.

But since this is my August contribution, I’ll give you my quick synopsis of the situation.

I like Unai Emery, and mostly like the summer and the squad. (I would have been happier if we’d brought in a CB with true quickness and speed, but that will likely wait until next summer’s window.) Emery strikes me as a passionate, likeable, hardworking grinder with a vision how to build this team.

Remember, he only got the PSG job because he was considered an up-and-comer who wins trophies. Sure, he’s got less shine now, (since he got sacked in Paris,) but I’m not sure he ever had a chance, once they signed Neymar.

The biggest stain on Emery’s reputation is the choke-fest against Barcelona in the 2017 Champions League. And don’t forget, one of the stars of the victory was… Neymar.

Speaking as a student of human nature, there is no fucking way Neymar was going to come to PSG with respect for a coach whose team just capitulated like that. Emery never stood a chance last year, and still he brought home silverware. (Though he gets no credit for it, given his budget, and the fact that Monaco drastically disassembled their title-winning team.)

Right now, after Saturday’s win, it still looks a bit like Wenger-ball, but with more cutback crosses from Hector Bellerin. The press hasn’t really taken root yet, but you can see where he’s going with it. And the attempts to build from the back, (to break the press,) are far-less-feeble than during Wenger’s last couple of years. (Post-Cazorla-injury.)

Even if Mustafi and Sokratis are a scary pair, (not in a good way,) with Torreira and Guendouzi potentially patrolling in front of them, I’m far less frightened than if we were stuck with Ramsey and Xhaka instead.

My belief this season is all about the Europa league, and the race for 4th. Everyone talks about the latter, but the former is more realistic, in my opinion.

Arsenal literally hired an expert in winning the Europa league, and have handed him enough talent to do it. (I’ll bet you £10 that Atletico don’t crash out of the Champions League early this year either.)

Emery has 2 cracks at the Champions League, and I think he’s a decent bet to come through on one of them, but probably not both. If he wins the FA or League Cup, but doesn’t get into the Champions League, I think he’ll keep his job, but it will be considered more failure than success.

Basically, I’m currently bullish on the post-Wenger era. (Especially now that Emery pulled out his first, very Wenger-ish victory.) And for the record, I officially called for the end of Arsene in the winter of 2017.

By then, I’d come around to Le Grove’s way of thinking, and hope you guys dig my columns to come.


Latest podcast that discusses:

  • Shite defence
  • Confused midfield line-up
  • Attack that needs two to work
  • The Mesut issue…


Emery goes to war with Ozil, here’s how he wins

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As you know, I’ve been quite interested in Unai Emery’s attack on some of the entitlement that goes on at Arsenal. We all knew there were a few areas he was going to have address this season. Ramsey’s lack of discipline, Xhaka’s ineptitude, the overall lack of giving a fuck at Arsenal… then there was Mesut.


Ozil pulls a sickie, again + Emery bags win with painful structural issues on show

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Unai Emery continued his assault on the culture of entitlement at Arsenal when he dropped Mesut Ozil from the squad. The official line is that the German was ill, the smokey rumour is he found out he was being dropped and decided he wasn’t going to show for the squad. Either way, it says a lot about the challenges our new manager has with our most expensively remunerated player.

If he really was ill, that’d be the 7th time in 20 months. A quite staggering amount of sick days to pull when you don’t ride public transport, are fed and watered with outrageous precision, and you exercise almost every day of the week. Healthy adults who are athletes simply don’t get sick that often. The manager went all in on quashing the rift angle.


Season starts again

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The real season starts here people. We had a nightmare opener, the worst in 20 years, and don’t kid yourself, Wenger wouldn’t have come away with anything more impressive than Emery.

We now have 8 games to find our stride. Work out who can do what. Find the best 11. Search out missing form. Rack up 24 points. Go into the Liverpool game living our best damn lives.