Morning folks – happy Friday n’all that jazz. Right, let’s get down to it, because it was press conference Thursday yesterday and he addressed the assembled media. The good news is that the first thing he said was that he’s given a few more ideas to the players following a first full week of training having had to play games every couple of days since he arrived. He also talked about the fact we have some injured players back and how the squad is looking a little better from a bodies point of view.
It’s weird you know, because in the last 10 years or so every time we’ve got to a transfer window we’ve heard Wenger, or Emery, talk about how they want to focus on the players they have and if something special can be done then fine. The words almost became a little hollow to me over time having heard them so often. Yet there I sat, on the tube home yesterday watching this man and his perfectly assembled hair, say the same words and despite that I was totally on board with what he was saying. I think that speaks volume for the exciting potential we all feel for this manager though. If a Wenger 20 years into his time at the club says “I want to focus on the players I have” then we know what we are getting because we’ve seen it for uyears. But Arteta saying this about the current crop of players has me really believing him.
I guess that’s because we’ve seen such a quick change in fortunes and effort from the players. No doubt that is also a ‘new manager bounce’ as well, but it just ‘feels’ like these players suddenly have added an extra 10% to their game, minimum. So if that can happen in just a few short weeks, I am sitting here thinking “what is the potential of this current crop? Who could all of a suddenly realise their potential under a new manager?”
We’ve had years of ‘like a new signing’ nonsense, but right now, with the current team and the results Arteta has already got it feels like we could see so much more from these players. It really does feel like so many of them have been given a second chance, or a clean slate, not just from the manager but also us as fans. There are still those people who are entrenched in their views about Xhaka, Ozil, Maitland-Niles and even some people who have swung the other way on Guendouzi, but I for one am happy that there’s an excitement about the club about ‘what could be’ in the coming months.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love us to get a powerful and strong centre half with recovery pace, or an energetic box-to-boxer in the middle of the park who can pass but also has a goal or two in him, but I’m also excited to see who can evolve in our team too. SO in this transfer window whilst I’m hoping for something, I’m more hoping that those players in the squad continue to step up under Arteta.
He spoke about Palace tomorrow and admitted that we will need to isolate Zaha and make sure he doesn’t punish us. To me the first step is not give away a bloody penalty. Them and the Tiny Totts are the two teams we always seem to gift penalties to so my hope is that we can just avoid silly challenges tomorrow. He wouldn’t be drawn on talking about Zaha but he did admit that he was pleased about Auba’s comments in the programme notes and I can understand that. It does feel to me like we have a situation where a truce has been agreed until the end of the season. By June Auba will be 31, we won’t be able to drop a mega contract on his lap for three years and nor should we, so the player needs to come out and tell the English press to ‘do one’ to stop the noise, plus Arteta needs to do exactly what he did yesterday and say he’s pleased but not be drawn on the guys long-term future.
Short term future it looks like Smith-Rowe is off to Huddersfield, which feels like a good deal to me, because he’ll get game time and hopefully with the number of matches they play in the Championship he can have an impact and develop himself like Jack did when he went to Bolton all those years ago. John-Jules is also off to Lincoln which feels about right, but the Nketiah stuff I found fascinating, because it doesn’t seem like a slam dunk that he’s off on another loan. Arteta mentioned how impressed he was with Nketiah and also left the door ever-so-slightly ajar that he could stay at the club. personally I think Eddie needs to go to a team, play regularly for the rest of the season and we need to see if he can smash it up somewhere else. IF he can, then maybe he comes back for summer tours with Arsenal a different player and perhaps we’re not as worried about losing Auba and not having a long-term replacement. I’m still not 100% convinced on Nketiah, but I’d like to be and a loan deal feels like the best option.
Right, that’s it from me. Catch y’all tomorrow.