…… and the door slides open
POSITIVES, NEEDS and HOPES
In the 14 months that Mikel Arteta has been at Arsenal he has experienced every curve of the rollercoaster that most managers would enjoy and endure in a decade.
I sit here a few hours post game and I wonder if he knows that he has experienced at least two sliding doors moments in his brief managerial career. Perhaps the club didn’t see it this way, but the fans did.
I wonder because if he isn’t on social media like he says, and there are no fans in the ground, then does he know that twice the door has been about to shut and he’s muscle fought the doors open and jumped onboard.
I speak of Chelsea over Christmas and yesterday. On both occasions there have been many that have been about to lose it.
The first sliding doors moment was the worst run of poor results in nearly 100 years and the second after the fanbase was 7 minutes away from meltdown in February whilst 11th in the league. The small dose of sympathy that some would’ve given him turned into a very large stick to beat him with on the 63rd minute when he decided to rescue the biggest game of the season by introducing our worst player.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that he seems to be an escape artist. That’s a good trait. That opening thought is just observation. I personally think that Arteta has the ability to be one of the best and if allowed the time could actually do it at Arsenal. I back him. I’m largely impressed.
I do think however, that much like his team’s ability to give opponents free gifts, he is equally grabbing the same pistol and needlessly popping bullets into his own feet.
I wonder why it took an injury for him to discover Smith-Rowe as a connector when the horseshoe had been horseshoeing for over a month?
I wonder why he insists on over coaching when it’s obvious that Arsenal now have 3 players playing with such a creative eye?
I wonder why we are pursuing the same repeated failing set plays?
I wonder why he thinks that directing every single choice from the sidelines, as if he has the remote control and his players are cars, is a good idea in the long term?
I wonder how he can think that choreographed goals are the only way as they make up 90% of our goals and yet we don’t score enough?
I wonder why he seems willing to potentially lose Martinelli by playing Willian?
I wonder why he hasn’t figured out that the growing tendency to play up, back, up, back, up, back is killing our opportunities to turn and slot our forwards in? Especially when we have players like Odegaard who have this gift as their main banner.
I wonder why he keeps killing games by making unnecessary subs, and not learning?
I wonder if he is aware of how the crowd will react to the robotic football?
I wonder these things and many others because I care. It’s a feeling similar to deciding whether you tell your boss how they are making you feel or just wait for them to get fired. If you care and think they have potential, you speak up.
Again, I think Mikel Arteta is the answer. I think his first sliding doors moment was more of what I said earlier. I think he pried the doors open himself and forced his way back on.
If I’m honest I think that what happened yesterday was the opposite. It was Saka, Tierney and Auba on the train. The train was leaving the station and they grabbed their coach as the train was leaving and the doors were closing and drug him onboard.
As I said at the very beginning of this adventure…… I hope Mikel Arteta is humble. Willing to see these kinds of viewpoints and willing to change. If he isn’t then Arsenal will continue to be swerving to avoid the car crashing. If he is then I think we make progress much quicker than most think.
So, gaffer….. Your next sliding doors moment is your decision on what you’ve learnt from this. I felt that the car was about to crash and for a while I’d lost a little faith and closed my eyes and got in the fetal position.
-Saka. Praise repeat. Running out of original thoughts. Is being saved by a 19 year old a sign of how good he is or a little embarrassing or both?
-The kick off worked! We kept possession rather than going for the line out.
-Auba’s two goals and his marginal offside were all to his strength. Slot passes and back post crosses. I just wonder what the rest of it was as aerial crosses were much of the rest of it and that is his weakness.
-Tierney has twice now bucked the passing patterns and just done it himself. WBA away in the snow and yesterday.
-To be fair to Ceballos, he was dictating play very well in the first half before his errors.
-I’ve had a yucky thought. I was watching ESR and Odegaard and was wondering if the passing patterns and constant string pulling is negatively affecting their choices. ESR a month ago was the solution to the risk averse football. He used to turn and connect. Over and over too. He barely turned his hips last night. Being honest, I’m worried. The greatest sin of any coach is to make a player feel like he can’t or shouldn’t use his main gifting.
-Arteta talks about ‘team’ often. I know some of it is to deflect from hanging individuals out but I had a different concern last night. I got the feeling that the ‘team’ was going to try to win the game without the individuals. What does that mean? Simply that any and all individualism and freedom of expression was left on the bus. It was passing only. No chances taken with shots or dribbling. Certainly no risk in connecting in the final third in tight spaces for fear of transition.
-In answer to my own thought, I wonder if the players were so tightly wound with fear of neglecting their defensive responsibilities that they didn’t want to stray from their ‘man’ and so played within themselves?
How big a part did fear play? Some of our players seemed frozen by the enormity of the game. Better to not be mentioned at all, than risk being mentioned in a negative light.
-Arsenal have more one footed players than I can ever remember.
– That the players feel more revived than I/we do. I feel like I’ve just been resuscitated and forgotten that we actually won.
Sorry for the largely negative thoughts off the back of the biggest win of our season. Just following my eyes and trying to be honest. It would be nice if we could have an easy game in the next round as it’s been hard to breathe recently.