Martin Odegaard officially confirmed yesterday, Aaron Ramsdale also confirmed and with that, they instantly get my full backing and hope that we succeed with them in the short, medium and long term. We can all have questions over the signings but now they are here you have to be happy that they are and I wish them long and successful Arsenal careers.
Both seem very likeable additions to the squad too. Nice interviews on the official site, they will hopefully add something to the dressing room, so now all eyes turn to Sunday and trying to work out how the devil we pick up anything against Thomas Tuchel’s side. It feels like an unenviable task for a side that just won the Champions League and is looking like they will be title contenders.
As has already been reported in a much more erudite way than I ever could, what these two signings do is take Arteta and Edu summer spending to over £125million, which means that he must succeed and succeed fast. There are no more excuses. KSE are bad owners, they have proven that over time and their malaise that they cloud over the club will remain, but they have so far put money behind his ‘project’ and so if Arteta doesn’t start picking up results soon then we will all have to admit that backing this rookie manager wasn’t the right thing to do.
As it stands right now though, I am still behind him, because I want this to work so very much. Arteta was a likeable player and captain, he has won us an FA Cup, but he needs to get that attack firing and that back line able to fend off those counters when we press too high. It feels like we’ve all been waiting for it to ‘click’ for so long and I am now at the stage where I feel like admitting that you can’t say this isn’t ‘his’ team any more. It’s been a year and nine months, he’s had his summer and also his spending on players he wants. That’s it now, time to deliver. The odds at 50/1 might feel like a bet you don’t want to take, but with the arrivals we’ve got, it is on Arteta to ensure those odds feel like a no brainer.
What he’s also going to find is that it will also turn sour quickly in the stadium too if the football stinks the place out like the Brentford game. Perhaps the circumstances with the bout of COVID that spread through the team had an impact, but with players now returning and signings giving that psychological boost to the squad, the manager is plum out of reasons to argue that it isn’t succeeding.
He had his press conference yesterday though and talked about how Odegaard will bring a lot of things on the field, but also talked about how the 48 hours before the Brentford game was ‘incredible’. In a bad way of course but what I am hoping isn’t just words to save face is that he said the reaction to the defeat last Friday has been extremely positive. Of course he could just say that and he’s unlikely to say that everything is a car crash and confidence is on the floor, but I hope that he’s telling the truth because we need a confident Arsenal team lining up against the Oil whores from West London tomorrow.
He certainly sounded bullish and when talking about Chelski he admitted he has a plan and he knows what he’s going to do to try to stop them and Lukaku. I just hope it isn’t “what we’ve done during pre season” because that clearly didn’t work and we got exposed with the high press and players who weren’t good enough to react to it. More on how I think he will line up tomorrow though.
He also spoke about trying to get the Brentford game called off and I thought it was telling that he kind of admitted that they wanted it when he started talking about how the club doctor was talking to the officials, but that it was decided to go ahead. I wonder if an outbreak happens for another team, whether a game will be called off. What’s the protocol? How many players have to be ill before a match gets canned? Five? 10? 15? It’s a really tough one because we had four out – Auba, Laca, Willian, Runarsson – so you could make an argument for that impacting, as Arteta suggested in his presser yesterday by saying “my best players were ill with COVID”, but in reality it only affected our striking options because Willian and Runarsson would never had played. So how do you draw the distinction? If Man City suddenly lose five first team players next weekend they have such a quality squad that they can deal with it, but would they just be able to replace and therefore the game is on? Compare that to a West Ham, for instance. Let’s say they lose Fabianski, Antonio, Rice, Soucek and Cresswell. That’s a massive blow to them and would impact them much more than City. So I sympathise with the situation that match officials have because every team is different and in this instance it was made worse because we had two first team players who basically play in the same position. Imagine if all of the goalkeepers at Leicester, for example, get COVID. They’d also be within their rights to ask for the game to be called off because it would be harsh on them. But if it’s only three cases, then on paper it’s just a small number of your squad.
It’s a tough one but as Arteta said you just have to deal with it. We did, poorly, and those two strikers being out weren’t the reason we conceded two really shocking goals. That’s on Arteta and his team and they need to find a way to cut that out.
Right, that’s me for the day, so I’m off to spend some quality time with the parents.
Have a good one. Catch you all tomorrow.