Hold the phone, we have ourselves a press conference, which means football has never felt closer! And I’m giddy like a little schoolchild.
So perhaps I should take some time to hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t think I’d feel this excited when the lockdown and postponement was of the Premier League was first announced. I was fatigued with the season, if I’m honest, and it felt like I feel at the end of the season when we’ve not really lived up to the pre season hope.
But then I get sucked back in and that’s how I felt this morning when I was drinking in every word of Mikel Arteta’s press conference. I will admit it was a little weird with the Zoom press conference background. But I got over that quickly.
So, what did we learn?
Well firstly, apparently Arteta likes Pep Guardiola, so that’s quite a turn up for the books, eh? Honestly, journalists in this country ask some of the most benign questions that could possibly be conceived when they do these press conferences. It really does wind me up. Why not probe a bit more into the psychological mindset of the players after this? Why not focus on whether he’ll be expecting a game which will be quick front-to-back, or whether it will be a game where quick transition of the football and the accuracy and speed of movement will be impact?
I will caveat my ire by stating that I have only watched the video on the website. I think often there are a couple and some with the written press too, so perhaps these types of questions were asked in that environment, but in reality it doesn’t feel like it based on what has come before.
But anyway, back to talking about the football and Micky was asked about the games against Charlton and Brentford and the first words out of his mouth was “it was nice to get a bit of practice in”. Because that’s what it was. The 6-0 victory over Charlton meant as little as the 3-2 loss and with Arteta experimenting with his team, the result was irrelevant. But it has got valuable minutes for a lot of players and with the fact that there are going to be at least 11 matches in just over a month for Arsenal, it feels like getting minutes for all of the players will be important because most of the first team squad are going to play regularly.
That’s especially the case with the five subs rule and Arteta confirmed that many players will need to respond to the demands that are about to be placed on them with a game every three days. It’s going to force every managers hand and in that sense we can be pleased that the likes of Nelson, Saka, Martinelli, Maitland-Niles, Willock and Nketiah have all got game time, because those players should be ready to play their part as this mini season draws to a close.
One final point from the poresser that I did find interesting though, which was when Arteta was asked about whether this was like a pre-season and he said it wasn’t really because he couldn’t see the players, talk to the players face-to-face, touch the players, etc, etc. That intrigued me because what it did should is just how hands on a coach he is and what type of guy we’ve got at the club. I think it really serves to highlight the potential of Mikel Arteta. He is a coach and at City that was his role. To set the players up, to help with the style and philosophy at the club, to be a motivator. But Arsenal haven’t just brought in a coach and they haven’t just asked a guy to take training. Being a head coach or manager takes so much more than just being on the training pitch and picking the team, but already in a short period of time we’ve seen Arteta totally act the part in his press conferences, we’ve seen him statesmanlike in almost all of his interviews, plus I feel like there’s an air of gravitas about him.
He is clearly a man who believes in what he can achieve and that is so importance. Footballers will feed off of the belief and how a manager can exude confidence. That is why I’m excited for next season. I’m still treating this season as a little bit of a busted flush, if I’m honest, because I feel like we’ve got a little too much to do to get close to that top four, but I do want to see just how far this guy can take us if he’s given all of the right tools to succeed.
We’ll get little snippets over the next month, but it’ll be next season when we see what he’s really made of, and I for one can’t wait.
Catch you all tomorrow.