7 thoughts on Arsenal
Can’t stop thinking. Here’s 7 more…
1) I recently wrote an article where you could create Arsenal 20/21 from a list of 10 options in every position.
It was amazing to me that we could sell 9 players that mostly sit on the bench and totally revamp and upgrade.
I sold Xhaka and Bellerin.
Then I started thinking about the wisdom in that.
If the short term future is games behind closed doors then leaders become even more important as the benefit of 54,000 pushing you forward vanishes.
I remember watching England playing recently in Eastern Europe behind closed doors. Even watching it on TV (and confirmed later) I could hear Jordan Henderson all game long, taking control of leading.
We’d still have David Luiz and he seemed to be the captain on the field anyway, but is that enough? In my fantasy team I brought back Cazorla for this purpose but although he’s an inspiration, is he a vocal leader?
I’m questioning my own desires as I’d prefer Achraf Hakimi and Wilf N’didi, but is this wise?
Luckily I’m not the Arsenal coach and I think Arteta will keep both. In fact I think all 3 will start next season as I think they are highly valued, especially Luiz and Xhaka.
I’m not the only one though. Many others want an upgrade on all 3 of our natural leaders. How do you feel?
Check out my ‘Build your Arsenal 20/21’ here…
2) So…… most everybody wants a shiny new Centre Back. Most want Dayot Upamecano. I’d be delighted if we acquired him, no doubt.
Here’s the thing though.
Most seem to be fantasizing about a Saliba – Upamecano combo.
Is that realistic or intelligent to expect a 19 and 21 yr old to join a new club, new country, new language and both start alongside each other?
I’ve heard that Saliba is a natural leader even alongside his 30 something CB partner at St.Etienne, but will he have the confidence to lead at Arsenal from the off?
I think the likelihood is that it will be David Luiz and new signing initially with Saliba introduced gradually.
3) Emi Martinez will be 28 in September. He’s been in recent Argentina squads. Their first choice GK is not a rockstar (much like as always) and I’m sure he will feel that if he was first choice somewhere he could flip the bench over and start for his country.
I don’t think that’s happening at Arsenal anytime soon with Leno being one of our most consistent performers.
Nobody is talking about this though.
I wonder if we will sell for good money and get one of Arteta’s former players in to deputize, on a free…. Claudio Bravo
4) I believe I’m right that Sheffield Utd have the largest wage bill per income ratio in the PL.
If they have to cut back should we be looking?
They seem to have a whole group of modern day athletic, team minded players.
This leads nicely on to thought number 5……
5) In my mind I’m projecting forward to a new world of football.
Even though many will be itching to go to a stadium again many won’t be able to afford it and others may be wary of being so close to others.
Not only may gate receipts plummet for a while but sponsorship, TV money etc…, may follow.
This new football world will have to be a place where player salaries shrink as clubs will have no choice.
If this is truth then we may face a very real situation where those that are used to £100,000 + per week are now on significantly less as they can’t find any clubs willing to pay what they can’t afford.
Could this then lead to ‘mass moping?’
I think it could.
Much like Ozil has been accused of I think there will be many who don’t care as much because they feel robbed of the status and opportunity that huge earnings gives.
These are also the players that will struggle behind closed doors as they play for the crowd and the love but struggle without a crowd as they need the love.
If this happens, I’d be looking for players that play for the love of the game and not for money.
Players that say yes to clubs regardless of what their salary will be. They still exist. Players like Wrighty who say yes, then ask what they will be earning.
There may not be anywhere near as many of this type right now but as football adapts some will accept the change in wages and see it for what it is. They won’t mope.
I’d want those players at Arsenal.
6) I like the look of both Luka Jovic and Odsonne Edouard.
I do wonder though if either would be necessary if Arsenal sell Lacazette?
More worry than wonder actually.
Arsenal have four potential gems in Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka and Nelson.
They also have Folarin Balogun who could be the best of the lot.
Nelson and Saka will likely be wing options but if Auba doesn’t move inside and a new signing replaces Lacazette then at least one of the list above may move on as it’s too crowded.
Personally, I’m very interested in Martinelli as a CF and Nketiah has the qualities too. It’s too much to expect these two to be the CF options though, right?
I’d be inclined to use the Lacazette money to put into an Attacking Midfielder.
But then what about the huge potential of Smith-Rowe?
7) Finally, I thought I’d share a general football thought.
What one rule would you change if you had the magic wand of football?
Without doubt I’d change what a penalty kick is given for.
I’ve always thought that it is beyond ridiculous that a team is given an 80% chance to score for EVERY foul committed in the box.
I’d give a penalty if the incident clearly denied a direct goal scoring chance. Not a player facing the assistant ref and being pushed. Not a player dribbling around the goalie, kicking it off the field whilst heading away from goal and waiting to get touched by the GK. Not a player accidentally denying a goal bound shot by handling. Not a player on the byline about to cross. And on and on.
All those situations need to result in a direct or an indirect free kick.
A direct free kick is a penalty though, right? Doesn’t have to be. It could just be a direct free kick like everywhere else on the field.
The free kick inside the box left the world of football many decades ago. It was arguably the single most exciting moment in a match. Defenders lined up on the goal line. Players creatively trying to find a gap.
Beyond the excitement, it was fair.
The punishment fit the crime.
Now we complain about diving and we do it at least twice every game.
Players dive for two reasons. They subconsciously know that they are in a 40% scoring opportunity moment and know that they could double their chances.
Secondly, they know that if they don’t that the refs don’t have the guts to call a PK if they stay on their feet.
This could solve the single most contentious moment in the sport of football.
There we go. I feel like a hero now! Somebody tag Arsene in this post and he will get it done with his new FIFA cape on.
Play with your kids. Kids love your time more than anything 😊
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.