180 in 90
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
Ninety days ago Arsenal were offering an overdose of optimism.
We’d healed so much so quickly. The defensive structure which needed a doctor in 2007 was almost fully healed. The accountability which hadn’t been present for about the same amount of time seemed to be reinstated. The opportunity to compete against the bigger sides had seen the sun and we’d even overachieved and won the FA Cup and Community Shield. We had resuscitated our senior players and our Academy graduates were the envy of many.
In a league that looks so congested and could turn up a few surprises in May, it wouldn’t be hard for Arsenal to be in amongst the many in the top half.
What has actually happened is that in 90 days Arsenal have done a 180 degree turn. We’ve chucked away a formation that was working for a formation that doesn’t optimize our current squad. Our defensive structure has somewhat vanished. The accountability that saw Ozil, Guendouzi and Sokratis rightly moved on is now seeing Bellerin, Xhaka and Willian start every game regardless of previous performance. The Hale end boys who were likely itching to be a part must be getting disillusioned as no matter how well they play in the EL, they don’t get rewarded. The ‘non-negotiables’ that we all signed up for are leading to ill discipline both on and off the pitch. The coach whose gift to turn our defence around in rapid time seems to be bereft of good ideas when going the other way.
Perhaps it’s as simple as Arsenal needing to get rid of the senior players as they seem to be at the core of the problems but if so, why lean on them and repeatedly start them when they don’t deserve it?
Ninety days ago everybody thought Mikel Arteta was on his way to becoming the elite coach that his senior players kept telling us that he would be. Couldn’t be more 180 than what’s happening now.
I don’t have an explanation but I do have an idea…
I think the senior players are all of this.
They didn’t like that Sokratis and Ozil were left out and they have a daily reminder when they show up to work. These two should’ve been told to leave. Can you imagine your company firing two colleagues that you liked yet keeping them around for 4 more months? Then your company starts struggling and one of the two has the skill set to fix it and is allowed to exhibit this skill set on a daily basis. Oh my.
Secondly, unrest is brewing amongst the senior players and you empower them by not making them accountable for performance like you do the younger players. No wonder, right? As we are all seeing in the political arena right now, if your leaders know they aren’t accountable, they run riot.
I’d like to see what Mikel Arteta can do with a squad minus these senior players and with the right ones. I still think he could take Arsenal forward and possibly to big things. If he doesn’t convince the club to loan or sell the bad eggs in January, then this bizarre 180 in 90 days will go on.
- How sad is it that the most positive thing that came out of that game was that Granit Xhaka will miss the next three. It’s true though.
- Equally sad that the second most positive aspect was that Hector will not play on Wednesday either.
- Moving forward, it is therefore positive that either AMN or Cedric will finally get to start a PL game.
- It might also be an accidental gift that our top January targets won’t now come to a struggling team and that in my opinion the 3 players we really need would come regardless of our circumstance. I speak of Yves Bissouma, Emi Buendia and Michael Olise. All three are exactly what Arsenal need and I doubt that playing for Brighton, Norwich and Reading will be a problem to convince them to come to Arsenal, even in our current mess. It might help actually, as they will know that they are more likely to play.
- Willian was Arteta’s main transfer target in the summer. Are we playing him as the club are wanting Arteta to prove that he isn’t wasting money? I think so. I think Arteta is asking for more and they aren’t willing to ‘waste’ so he has to try to play Willian into form.
- I’ve never been a fan of Hector Bellerin as a footballer. If you’ve been reading my work for a few years you will know that. I think he protects himself. Doesn’t want to take risks. The modern full back has no option. They are more winger than the winger on the field. If I was Hector Bellerin I would’ve looked at my natural athleticism and stayed behind daily and practiced a variety of ways to beat a man. Much like the equally infuriating Theo Walcott, he is too comfortable. I will never understand why AMN doesn’t play centre midfield instead of Ceballos and Xhaka, but I’m equally baffled as to why he isn’t replacing Hector.
- Arsenal needed a goal. Arteta had two confident players on the bench that he didn’t use in Willock and Smith Rowe. ESR is a born creator. Willock is one of only a small handful of Premier League midfielders that loves to get in the box and is rather good at it.
- Arteta needs 60,000 fans in the stadium. He needs it so he knows how bad this is. They’ll tell you either by not showing up or at the end of the game. He also needs them so he doesn’t completely lose his players. I’m telling you that they must hate his consistent instruction. Some is appreciated, constant is detested.
- I have some happiness!! I’ve been searching for a particular type of player for many years. A player that can play on the right flank. A player that can either play right back/right wing back and overlap or play right wing. I wanted this player to be powerful, have confidence to beat a full back repeatedly with one of many tricks, be fast and quick and productive at both ends of the field. Well, I think I’ve found him after years of searching. His name is Silas Wamangituka and he plays all three of these positions as well as on the left side and as a striker too. He has all the attributes mentioned. He terrorized Dortmund this weekend and is starting to get much attention. I can only hope that Arsenal are watching him. I’d strongly advise you to watch this video if even to take your mind away from Arsenal.
I’d love to ask Mikel Arteta what his attacking vision is. I feel like if he came out and told us that he might save himself with the fanbase. I know it’s not always smart especially if you are inadvertently disrespecting those currently at the club, but I feel like I’m gasping for air with Arsenal right now and a glimpse into the future is where I’d like to be because the present is painful.