Morning folks. It is a new day and a new dawn for Arsenal’s history, as a new manager has been announced and as expected it is a man who has an affinity and affection for the club and a guy who was formerly our captain.
Step forward Mikel Arteta.
I have said pretty much all I need to say about the appointment over the last few days, but what I would just touch on before talking about Our trip to Everton this lunchtime, is that yesterday’s announcement and press conferences gave me so much to be excited about. Arteta was erudite, humble, but with a strong focus and clearly knows what he wants to do in the short, medium and long term at our great football club. The key will be whether he can translate his vision to those players out there on the pitch. I pray that he can.
His influence today, however, will be limited and Freddie will take charge of his final game as caretaker against another team with a new manager and caretaker in charge. Duncan Ferguson has turned around the style and approach of Everton and today this is going to be a tough game in which I put them as favourites given their recent results. Everton have beaten Chelski at home, drawn away to United and been unlucky to be knocked out to Leicester in the Carabao Cup. Ferguson has got them fighting for each other, covering ground and going back to basics.
They go back to front quickly and Pickford has clearly been instructed to go long rather than play out from the back. They will be tenacious today and that’s why I think we’re going to have a very tough match this lunchtime.
As for us, we were horrendous again at home to City last Sunday and our midfield was essentially non-existent, with a back line that feels like some sort of cruel joke. The kind of joke that no Arsenal fan laughs about.
Added to our poor form is also the frustration of injuries biting, with no recognised senior first team left back available and Bellerin a doubt at right back. It means we will look somewhat makeshift and so I expect Freddie to go with Maitland-Niles on the left (he’s done that before a few seasons ago against West Ham), Chambers on the right, then the two clowns of Sokratis and Luiz in the middle.
Midfield – not that it existed much last weekend – will most likely be Torreira and hopefully Xhaka, having missed out last weekend through a slight injury. In front of them I hope it’s the quartet of Özil, Martinelli, Auba and Pepe but you never know and we might see a return of Lacazette, although his form and the fact he doesn’t score goals away from home should see him continue on the bench.
There will probably be an adaptation of the team from my assumption there but that’s what I think is probably our best of a bad bunch and my overriding hope from today is that we see a performance from players who know they are fighting for a new man. We need to see something from these players because Everton will try to get at us, get our heads down early and snuff out any belief early on today I fear. An early goal for them and who knows whether our players’ heads will go down. We have to hope not but we have seen it a few times already this season.
I just hope that this new appointment and the words that Arteta said to the players when he met them yesterday will have inspired them to start believing they can turn around our fortunes and if that happens today then great. This is the first of four really tough games and I’ll be honest I haven’t really expected ya to pick up points. So it’ll be interesting to see what impact Arteta’s arrival can have the space over the next few games.
Come on Arsenal. Let’s have at it. Go and do the job today.
Catch you all tomorrow with some post match thoughts.