Howdy folks, hope you’ve started your day in a positive fashion, reading through messages of Dennis Bergkamp who yesterday in 1995 signed for The Arsenal and went on to become a legend at the club. Thierry will always be my king, but Dennis is god. That’s how it is with Arsenal fans.
As for modern day Arsenal, well, it’s fair to say there’s a bit of work to do methinks! Not least with a certain Welshman’s contract situation and if you read some of the rumours doing the rounds last night on the ol’ interweb, it appears as though some people believe that Emery’s decision to bench him for Chelski was after a poor performance against City, which has also hampered negotiations.
Obviously that’s a load of old tosh – it has to be – because if the ‘should he stay or go’ pendulum swing that violently one way or another based on being benched for a game then we have to ask if we want to deal with this sort of crap all season? Are we can’t have the slightest issue being blown out of proportion just because a player is a little unhappy. How good would that be for morale if it sounds like a player can dictate what happens on the pitch because of contractual stuff off of it? Can we really afford that?
We can’t, but I suspect that this is mischief making somewhere and has little to do with the actual contract situation we find ourselves in with Ramsey, which will come down to cold hard cash and whether Arsenal have the reddies to spunk on another player. If Arsenal gave him whatever he wants right now – and I don’t think they should because that’s how you end up with a bloated wage bill and not the requisite quality to get us back up the table – this wouldn’t even be a discussion point. It’s people making noises using the vehicle of the press which, sadly, is how most contract negotiations play out these days.
The challenge we will have if/when the contract signing happens, is that we’re going to have yet another player on megabucks, despite being what looks like the sixth best team in the league. We’re paying players exorbitant salaries and quite frankly, not getting the return, because if you’re operating at around the £200-£300k per week mark for a few of your players, then those players need to elevate you into the Champions League spots.
That’s not happening and although it’s still early days it still feels like we’re at the bottom of the ‘Big Six’ League.
I do like that names mean nothing to Emery though. His only agenda is to find a formula to win football matches and whilst the Aaron Ramsey’s of the Arsène Wenger world would have walked in to any side he put out each week, under the management nobody is safe. Xhaka, Mkhi, Özil, Ramsey – all need to be thinking about their position and appreciate that all of their fat contracts won’t keep them from the comfy seats in the dugout.
That’s how it should be. That’s how modern day football works. If you don’t perform, you don’t play, simples.
I suspect that everyone will be given a reboot again this weekend though. City will beat most teams home or away and we always lose to Chelski at Stamford Bridge. But a poor performance against West Ham, Cardiff or Newcastle in the coming weeks and I doubt we’ll be seeing players retaining their places for long if they don’t perform for Unai.
It’s probably a bit too early to be talking about who might play on Saturday but certainly Xhaka will be looking over his shoulder. I’d like to say one of our centre halves will be too but let’s face it, it doesn’t look as though there will be too much competition this season there, which is mad given how absolutely bang average Sokratis is as well as how error-prone Mustafi can be.
So whilst some areas of the pitch should be rightly concerned about the position on the first team starting selection, there are others that will certainly be able to get away with it until January at least I reckon. What that just serves to show us again though is that we are an imbalanced squad. Despite all the good work of the summer in some positions, we still don’t really look like we’ve got everything covered and that is frustrating. It will take time and I appreciate that, but it doesn’t stop me from being any less frustrated about the position we were left in.
Still, that’s the past and I feel I’ve probably been blaming the previous regime a little too much lately, like every single political party does for their first year in office after they win an election. We have to move on and we have to do it through results.
Fingers crossed that starts on Saturday.
Catch you all tomorrow.