After a defeat that’s as shabby as Saturday’s one to Brighton, we’ve had some things that have ‘come out in the wash’, as they say. Is it me, or are we the only club that this happens to? A couple of year’s ago we had Troy Deeney and his ‘cojones’ statement, we’ve had Patrice Evra sticking the boot in, plus we’ve also seen Jose take swipes almost every season. The latter is just the man being the utterly detestable character he is, but it does feel like sometimes a boot is stuck in a little more on us than other teams sometimes.
But then we learn that it’s because Matteo Guendouzi has been mouthing off during Saturday’s game about how much he earns and, frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. I mean here’s a kid who has barely established himself in Arsenal’s first team and he’s tempting the football karma fates by trying to get a rise out of Brighton players. Bloody Brighton player! We already know they’re a bang average team, yet giving them a little extra motivation doesn’t help anybody from our part and the way the match unfolded it does feel as though the football fates decided to deliver us a big two fingers up.
Guendouzi is a player who looks like the exact problem with so many at Arsenal down the years – believing their own hype. We had Bendtner sticking his weekly wage on the back of his shirt like some kind of trophy for Christ’s sake. Yet here we are with a floppy-haired midfielder who has been part of the car crash this season and who I certainly think many people have realised is not as good as he thinks he is. His positional discipline leaves a lot to be desired sometimes and pairing him with Ceballos on Saturday was as painful a watch as you’re going to see this season. People who bemoaned Xhaka must surely now be realising that at least he offers more than Guendouzi by being on the pitch, right?
Maybe. Or maybe because he runs around a lot there are still some out there that think he’s deserving of the hype that he received last season. Not me though.
It’s just another bullet point added to the rap sheet of wrongs at the club right now, though, isn’t it? And you can see why Steve Round and Arteta have spoken about changing the attitude. The squad is imbalanced, but it also appears that there are a few bad apples in there too and until both players are moved on and those that remain change that attitude, then we’re going to continue to have this culture at our club.
Guendouzi is one of the midfielders who is available though, having had it decided that he’ll somehow escape punishment for his grab on Maupay at the end of the game. A stupid move that could have cost us even more.
Speaking of cost, today will be the day that we find out if another bunch of players are out of the club in a week’s time. Tuesday 23rd June was the cut off point at which the ‘mini extensions’ to contracts for this season had to be agreed and we’ll hear about Soares, Luiz, Mari and Ceballos too. After the three out of ten performance he put in against Brighton on Saturday I wouldn’t be crying too much if he went back to his parent club in Madrid, but given it seems we literally have no midfielders left at the moment, I suspect a deal will be found to keep him around another month.
As for the others…well…that will be interesting. Personally I think this season is done and so with David Luiz if you’re talking keeping him around for another £200k-per-week that is going to impact the club, then I’d be saying thanks and goodbye. There will be another time for us to look long and hard at Raul for doing that deal, but for now let’s just deal with the practicalities. Soares is an interesting one because again if you’re looking to save some cash you could just let him go and tell Ainsley he’s going to have to appreciate he’s an auxiliary right back for the remainder of the season, but long term if Arteta fancies Soares then I don’t see why that deal wouldn’t get done. Might as well have some other option because, if I’m honest with you, I can’t see us splashing big on a right back this summer to replace the ever-slowing Bellerin.
I’d have loved us to go after Meunier but the fact he’s just all but signed from Dortmund, shows we weren’t getting close. Dortmund are a perpetual Champions League team, uinlike us these days, so unless we were going to drop a ridiculous signing on fee and wages, then it was never going to happen.
But at least we’ll get some clarity today and with Arteta due to face the press today with the Southampton game looming on the horizon, at least we’ll know more by the time this week draws to a close. We’ll also know if this season really is a complete waste of time if we get beaten by Southampton and then Sheffield United in quick succession. But let’s see what unfolds today and let’s see what Arteta says later when he does his presser.
Catch you wonderful people tomorrow.