Morning folks and welcome to another drab and grey day. It must be Mother Nature telling the footballing world that we’ve all had enough of it.
The international breaks I mean.
It still rumbles on but thankfully not for much longer and whilst some people still got suckered in by the prospect of seeing Thomas Partey strut his stuff for Ghana last night (apparently he racked up a couple of assists in a 5-1 win against Qatar), I couldn’t really bring myself to watch anything if I’m honest. So I played with my new kitten and then went shopping. Far more entertaining than a bunch of international football matches.
Some people made different evening choices, however, and one of which included an evening with Arsene Wenger talking about his new book. It is out today but I suspect I’ll wait a bit before I make my purchase. Mainly that is on account of the fact that everywhere seems to be selling out as Arsenal fans flock to purchase it in the hope for some gems that are hidden within the pages. I’m not sure we’ll get the dirt and if I’m honest i’ll be shocked if we do; Arsene is a man who will take some of the more controversial stuff to his grave I suspect and even if it meant a larger opportunity to make the sales go stratospheric, I’d be stunned if there was anything more than him talking about his philosophy on how football should be played, what his life was like growing up, etc.
He always used to joke when he was our boss that he’ll leave the true stories to his book but when push comes to shove we won’t get a “warts ‘n all” rendition of his life. I’ll still buy it though because this man had such a long lasting impact on our football club and whilst the last couple of year’s were painful and should have been cut a lot shorter than they were, ultimately he is a guy who delivered us a wealth of trophies and we should be eternally grateful for that, with his crowning achievement being giving us something that even when we see clubs like Liverpool blowing away league campaigns, we can still ask “yeah, but is yours gold?”
We can always be pleased about that.
We can also be pleased about his effusive praise about Mikel Arteta and Le Boss Talked up his current squad, saying they’re good enough to win the league this season at the recent Sky evening event that took place recently. Last night he was at the Palladium so I don’t know if he was asked a similar question, but to hear him speak in such glowing terms is heart-warming; he could have played it cautious and said that it is the beginning of the journey and I suspect if you asked Mikel that’s what he’d say, but Arsene was clear that he thinks it is a good enough squad to have a go.
Personally I’m not convinced and having watched Liverpool blow us away a couple of week’s ago I certainly wouldn’t say we have the best players in the league. They were promptly dispatched by Aston Villa the following week but that feels like a freak result more than anything. There have been times at which teams who are not the best set of players in the league have managed to get together winning runs to take the title though. I don’t think Leicester City had the best set of players when they won the league, but they were very consistent and that saw them through, combined with the right tactics and counter attacking style.
I think the difference between that year and now, however, is that there are probably at least three teams that are better than us in terms of what they have on paper. You can’t look at Man City and Liverpool and not say they are better than us and whilst I am hopeful we can make a good account of ourselves this weekend, I’m not exactly putting my house down as collateral on a win, so to speak. But I also think Chelski probably have a better team than us too. They have spent big and will be a force to be reckoned with this season, eventually when they get up and running, even with the relative lack of experience that Lampard has. Then you’re looking at the Tiny Totts and their firepower that has just been bolstered and you have to wonder whether between us we’re very similarly matched. I think United aren’t looking great but in a few week’s we go to Old Trafford for our annual dropping points/defeat to them, no matter how terrible they are, so it’s a very difficult league to the one that Leicester City took everyone by surprise on back in 2017.
As it stands we’ve won three from four and we play Man City this weekend, followed by Leicester City and then away to United, then it’s Villa, Leeds and Wolves before a trip to the scummers at the beginning of December. By the time we’ve hit mid December we’ll have played 11 matches and be just under a third of the way through the season having played all of the traditional ‘Big Six’ away from home except Chelski. If we’re still in a decent position in the league and but a few points from the top four then you never know, but as I already mention above, I think that is very much an outside bet. You only need to look at most of the bookies to see that we’re in at between 20/1 and 25/1, behind Everton, Tottenham, City and Liverpool.
So whilst I admire Arsene’s optimisim, I think I’ll temper any Harry Redknapp-esque excitement until we get towards the Christmas period; then we’ll have a look at where we’re at.
And on that note it’s me done for another day. Catch you lovely people tomorrow with some more random Arsenal-related thoughts that pop into my head based on what we’ve read.