Morning y’all, hope y’all are fine and dandy and living your best lives on this Tuesday morn?
It was over a week of sun in the south of Portugal for me and although I had access to my computer and the internet, I’ll be completely honest with you, I just couldn’t be bothered with it all. I last did a blog ahead of the City game and after that debacle I just didn’t feel like reliving it the next day whilst I wanted to relax. So I just didn’t bother. Then I extended that beyond the transfer deadline day because although we got a player with whom I think we definitely got our upgrade, I don’t think it’s moved the needle enough for us to suddenly become top four contenders.
I’ve been thinking about that for a couple of days now, actually, because the reality of our situation is that it doesn’t really look like our squad is better the City’s and Chelski’s for sure, Liverpool’s when all players are fit, then you have United who have the media fawning over their ‘excellent’ and yet super expensive signings (taking in to account the small fortunes they are paying Varane, Ronaldo and Sancho. There’s no doubt they have a better squad than us too. And when the January month’s roll around we’re looking at losing Partey and Pepe from the squad (I know technically Elneny too, but as we all know that’s less of a loss to us), so all-in-all it’s hard for me to make a case of breaking in to this ‘New Top Four’.
That’s what we might start to see happening this season and it is my genuine concern. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be crossing everything to hope that we can go on some kind of amazing run of victories that propel us up the table and see us somehow get to those coveted spots, but we have the financially doped clubs, one that has been European and League Champions in the last three seasons and still has a big chunk of that team playing (and will be fit this season) in Liverpool, as well as the commercial giant that is United and the mega cash they can splurge on players and wages. We have a billionaire, but it’s a false status, because his investment isn’t going to City or Chelski’s level and whilst I acknowledge that there has been money spent this season on players, that cash wasn’t out of KSE’s pockets, but from BoE loans and other such payment schedules the club have taken out.
Which shows you just how much hope KSE are investing in this Arteta ‘Project’. We’re over 18 months in now. It is time it started delivering, but the outlay that has been made this summer really does feel like a kind of poker ‘all in’ move from the club and that feels risky.
Perhaps this season is another write off season. It pains me to say it, but perhaps the thinking is that the plan should be ‘be better than 8th’ and then maybe go deep in a cup competition? After all, this collective investment in early 20-somethings will most likely not bear any kind of fruit until next season at the earliest and even then that means we need to see some massive gains and rays of hope this season. Even now it feels a lot to ask but wins are currency in football and Arteta needs those like a thirsty man in the Sahara right now.
I’ve seen some noises about Conte being sounded out already. That’s how it starts. Little trickles of information. Some Arsenal fans will be delighted at that news but not for me, because it represents signs that more instability is coming and after a number of seasons of it, surely that’s the last thing any proper Arsenal fan wants? After all, these rumours only surface when the team is underperforming and no true Arsenal fan wants that to happen. They want us to beat Norwich, beat Burnley, Beat the Scum, then suddenly feel like something has ‘clicked’ in this team. That’s my hope anyway.
And besides, someone like Conte isn’t going to jump in to a youth project that has very specific players for a very specific situation. Perhaps you could argue that we have enough centre halves for his three at the back preference, but there are other parts of the team that just don’t have the personnel. Where’s his Lukaku in this team? Doesn’t exist. So he’s going to want cash and he isn’t going to want to wait around until next summer on the off chance that his reputation is tarnished with a poor finishing Arsenal team. He’s won leagues in Italy and England with multiple teams and he will want a more polished squad than the one we have.
Which is why it’s sad these rumours are surfacing because we won’t get Conte, but there is often no smoke without fire, which means Arteta needs to start getting results and fast.
The good news – if the training pics are to be believed from recent days – is that many players have returned. If Arteta wants to I think he can basically shift his entire team around. He could play Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Partey, Lokonga – none of whom started against City – which would means over half the team wouldn’t be scarred by the City disaster. It really does feel, assuming he does ring the changes this weekend, that this could be the second ‘start’ to the season that the team needs. But they need to turn it on now. No more excuses are there. The players are all his, he’s been backed, he’s even got players who feel like they fit his system. Now it is over to Arteta to show us that there is, in fact, an actual ‘project’ we can see forming.
On that note that’s me for another one. You stay good, stay safe, enjoy the start to your week.