Morning folks and welcome to Thursday. I tested positive for COVID yesterday which is bloody annoying, because I was supposed to be at a work away day today in which I presented to the whole company, but that’s now been thrown out of the window and as a result it’s a day of tapping away at the keyboard instead. Hence why today’s mutterings are a little later, as I’ll be dammed if I’m getting up early when I don’t have to!
From an Arsenal perspective the news is relatively light as we prepare to visit our training ground neighbours Watford and I wonder if we’ll get a press conference today or tomorrow. It won’t be very different for the players or manager I suspect given the proximity of the visit to Watford and it’s probably even easier for them to get from London Colney to Watford than it is our own ground, so that may mean that Arteta leaves it until tomorrow before giving his thoughts ahead of the game. But before that the world of football has thankfully been full of revelations and interesting stories, none of which thankfully relate to us as yet. Like how Arsenal’s one-time shareholder Usmanov has had a boat seized in Germany, or how Abramovich has decided to put Chelski up for sale, or how about how Tottenham will once again be ending the season without a trophy.
I know I know, less a revelation and more of a confirmation of the inevitable, but weirdly it might not have been the worst thing in the world if they’d have progressed. More games for them to worry about and by being knocked out of yet another competition they now have the same focus on the league that we do. They have played one game more and so suddenly a potentially crowded fixture list has been opened up for them. And because they have an easier run of fixtures, it is a challenge that we will face with stiff competition I think, which is not what you want. If you’re trying to find positives you might say their form is such that we need them to continue to play poorly and drop more points where they are not expected to. They do have to play United and Liverpool, but so do we and they also have to play West Ham, but I wouldn’t expect them to lose that. Other than that their run looks pretty easy.
In the other news, as the world turns its back – rightly – on Russia, Old Roman over at Chelski has said he’ll sell the club for the good of the club. This will be interesting to see what happens next because purely from a football perspective, it could be massive news. He wants of £2billion. As somebody on my Twitter timeline has already pointed out, Chelski, City and Newcastle were sold for modest amounts comparatively speaking and so those investing can inject more cash in. But if you want to do what Abramovich did you have to spend a fortune on the club, then continue to spend a fortune on investments thereafter. I don’t see that happening unless a nation state comes in. That’s possible, but whoever buys it, will they operate like Abramovich did and open a blank chequebook for the club to do what it wants? I would be surprised? What I’d expect is that Chelski looked a little more like Arsenal after any purchase, i.e. a club who have owners that will keep it ticking over but won’t pump billions of their own cash in. At least I hope that’s the case, because it would bring us closer to be able to compete in a footballing world becoming increasing dominated by the ultra-high worth individuals or countries.
Of course all of this is not to detract from what is happening in Ukraine. It is a horrible situation and the fact a madman has gone crazy and has delusions of grandeur that are killing people is depressing and horrific to watch from afar here in the UK. But as I’m not a political expert I use this blog to look at the footballing side of life and from a footballing perspective the Abramovich situation could have implications for many teams.
We also have to remember that had Alisher Usmanov taken full control at The Arsenal, we might be in a similar situation too, as he is facing sanctions from the EU and UK I believe. Now, I’m not for a second suggesting that KSE are a better option because I absolutely do not believe they are good owners, but we can perhaps thank our lucky stars that the other option formerly on the table of Usmanov is not putting us in the same uncertainty. The only uncertainty we need to worry about at this moment in time is how we are going to overcome the obstacles on the pitch, starting with team news and injuries, then how we beat Watford, then how we fit in the remaining games in our fixture list. All much more palatable things to worry about than the ramifications of an owner who has an association with a regime now accused of war crimes.
The only other bit I wanted to highlight today was Pablo Mari’s comments about Arteta in the press. He’s been quoted talking about his loan move out of Arsenal and whilst you’re never going to get a loan player speaking badly about a manager whilst he still has a contract at the club, the player himself seemed to go out of his way to praise him and the way he sets up his teams. He talked about learning things on defending that Arteta has taught him, that he can take forward in his career, as well as the fact that the conversation he had with Arteta was very good and mutually respectful, with Arteta wanting the best for the player. It shows a side to Arteta that many don’t associate him with; he’s a guy who lots of people feel like ‘when you’re out you’re out’ and that Arteta has a threshold of players who are either in good or bad books. But this shows that he’s clearly got more to his management style than has been suggested and for me I see this as a positive sign.
Right, that’s it for today. You have yourselves a good one and I’ll be back tomorrow with more ramblings.