Well, good morning to you all. I’m on tornado watch this morning. Secretly, kind of exciting until my house blows away.
How about I blow you away with some stats?
⚠️ | QUICK STAT
Arsenal have scored just 3 out of the 17 big chances they created in the Premier League in 2022 – their 17.6% big chance conversion rate is the lowest among all 98 teams in the top 5 European leagues this year.
Firstly, you have to move past our striker situation. It hasn’t been handled well since we gave out Auba a new deal. His form crashed harder than anyone expected, he couldn’t do what the system needed, his mere presence in the starting 11 made us less potent overall. It is what it is. Sadly, we had the chance to sign Tammy last summer, Arteta wanted him, but it was a one in one out policy at the club. No one wanted Auba, no one wanted Lacazette, and Eddie was going to see out the final year of his deal.
SPRING HAS SPRUNG where I am today, it’s p*ssing down with rain, but it’ll be a balmy 22 degrees later. Are we close to complaining it’s too hot, yes we are people. You can take the boy out of England and all that, but you’ll NEVER take my right of weather complaint.
Complaining about Arsenal? I’m not sure I can muster it today.
I saw people sharing a GFFN x Guardian love piece on Matteo G yesterday. The Frenchman has pulled up his socks this season and he’s doing a great job. I think he has 14 or so assists, a bunch of goals, and he’s being described as a leader. It’s easy to use that to point to his form being a Mikel Arteta problem, I did briefly yesterday, but I’m told the biggest problem Matteo had at Arsenal is the other players couldn’t stand him.
I worked with a woman once, she was a lunatic, lovely, but very inappropriate. Old school New York type, would blithely offer out bad things in the office, once came to my desk and asked if I like getting spanked because she did. It didn’t work out for her at our place, the fit wasn’t correct… now she’s running shit at a massive organization because the vibes connect. Right time, right place, right energy, right culture. She’s basically working in a pro-spanking agency. Was it the fault of my agency and their leadership that we were anti-spanking? No. But life goes on, you have to be happy for people.
It’s a similar thing for Auba. He’s scoring for fun at Barcelona. Good for him. He was terrible for us. If you had to choose his lack of goals or Lacazette’s, the data would suggest Lacazette’s was a better type of zero threat.
Where Arteta has to watch things is that there was an impression before he was a bit too ruthless for his own good, now that ruthlessness has cost him Top 4 this season. There are plenty of managers that fall out with players, all the best do, but they can usually prove the point out the side of it. Thomas Tuchel has decided he doesn’t like Rom Lukaku, his team has been pretty average by Chelsea standards, I suspect if Roman was in charge, an exit from the CL this week might cost him his job. Jose Mourinho would always fall out with players, he was usually wrong, it was always a power move, but he won things… and winning things means people overlook your flaws.
Arteta has exposed himself as a spanker this week… the question is, can he pump Arsenal up a level so no one noticed the belt-affixed-spanking-paddle when he’s marching the halls of Colney.
Ok, ok, I will stop with the spanking references.
Arsenal are still competing for everything we wanted to compete for this season.
You wouldn’t think after the last few days of ‘BURN IT ALL DOWN’ but the people at the Arsenal training ground don’t think the season is over and nor should you.
We have to beat Southampton. The way to do that is to put out a normal team and control the game. No galaxy brain.
Then we have a cup final run of Chelsea, United and West Ham. Take 4 points from those games and we’re up to 7.
Then, by my calculations, I think we probably need 2 points from our remaining 4 games.
Yes, 9 points gets us into Europe. 16 might get us into the top 4. There are 24 to play for.
We have to take it one game at a time. It’ll be tough. But remember… our financial and squad planning was always built around Europe this season, top 4 next season, title push the season after.
We are on track if we can take 9 points from 24. Anything else is a bonus.
Summer has to take Arsenal to the next level. If we can do to our attack what was done to the defence last summer then we will be in very good shape next season if we can get off to a good start.
Expect Arsenal to add at least two high quality midfielders. It is not a surprise to see Neves linked, we are most certainly courting Tielemans, and I wouldn’t be shocked if we moved for Renato Sanches who has looked great when fit this season.
We’re going to have to reshape our forward line. How aggressively remains to be seen and probably boils down to a few things:
How ready is Folarin Balogun next season
What we do with Lacazette and Eddie
Whether we can extract a fee for Nico who earns about £140k a week
There will be a blockbuster forward signing. The profile is pretty clear. Young, tall, powerful in the air, decent link up play, with goals, goals, goals. This is the most consequential signing of the next 10 years. We cannot miss here. If we can make it happen, I wouldn’t be shocked to see us sign a goalscoring wide player. This won’t be blockbuster, it’ll be rehabbing a broken player (Rashford) or picking up a free transfer (Dybala). We don’t score enough goals, we need someone that can change that, and do the things needed in the system.
There might also be some opportunistic upgrades in defence. Cedric probably won’t move because we have Norton-Cuffy developing at a rate of knots. But the left back position will see some action if possible. Kieran Tierney is turning heads, he’s at the peak of his powers, I’m not sure we could afford to say no to £50m from Madrid. If we could replace him with someone more robust, we will. I’m not sure what we do about Nuno Tavares, it looks like it’s over for him, unless Arteta has a change of heart.
Then there’s William Saliba. On paper, he’s perfect for our system. He’s a French international, he’s tall, great with the ball at his feet, he’s hard to go past, and he can move through midfield with his surging runs. This is a test of Arteta. Clearly he doesn’t fancy him, the press all say he hasn’t spoken to him… but can the club afford to let Arteta’s ego rule the roost on this one? Especially after losing Guendouzi for pittance and Mavropanos for similar amounts of money
Well good afternoon my darlings. How have you spent this weekend? I slayed a dragon in Elden Ring, leveled up my character, beat Godrick the Great. Life is good in my fantasy world.
… but on the round table of Arsenal, it’s not great.
Our season isn’t really in the gutter, it just feels like it. We have 8 games left of the season, we’re 3 points off 4th having played one game left than Spurs, we’re not just technically competing… we are competing.
My word does a lot of bad analysis happen in the space of a couple of bad results. I can’t control how people spew on the internet, but if you’ve been reading this site, you’ll at least have been prepared for bad results and shocks to the system.
Top 4, regardless of what you convinced yourself of, was always a stretch goal this season. The way we’ve dropped out of it with a whimper is the big killer because it felt like we’d come so far… but the fact we have been in the running this far into the season has been a big surprise to majority of Arsenal fans. If targets changed, just remember why they changed… because we improved dramatically.
We have a young manager, we have a young team, and things were never going to be simple during this final run of games. This is a painful moment drenched in 15 years of similar collapses, but don’t believe the noise when people say we’re fucked. No club is better positioned to make it back to the top than Arsenal if we stay the course. The average age of our starting 11 is 23, moments like this help players grow, and our inadequate squad will be strengthened this summer so some of the problems won’t be there next season.
Arteta’s deserves to take the heat this week, no doubt. He galaxy-brained a starting 11 that could have been far simpler. The problem he’s dealing with now is that he gambled on being able to keep the same 11 fit all season and that was naive. I liken his approach to smoking, he’s been dropping 2 boxes of Marlboro a day and every day he’s been fine, the smoking could be classed as healthy up until last week… now he’s got lung disease and it doesn’t look like there’s much that can be done about it.
If you can be beaten by individual stupidity and the sheer drive of Brighton and Palace, you have next to no hope of finding the right tools against West Ham, Chelsea and Spurs.
There are a lot of hot takes as to why we failed. The main one is the January transfer window, but that is totally wrong in my opinion. If the right players weren’t available, then it was best we sit on the funds. I know that stings people because the obvious solution to everything is signings… but that mindset is old Arsenal.