Morning folks and welcome to Thursday. It’s been a weird ol’ week for me as I had Tuesday off after a bank holiday Monday wedding and I’m off tomorrow celebrating my mum’s birthday by taking her and the ol’ man to Cologne for the weekend. So it barely feels like the week has started and it’s already getting to the end of it.
I could get used to this, that’s for sure.
I could also get used to The Arsenal winning lots more football matches and even the ladies got in on the action to trounce the Scumettes 3-0 at the Emirates last night. I’m not the biggest fan or follower of ladies football, but I’ve flicked it on once or twice and whilst I don’t watch too much, it’s always nice to hear that those representing the badge are getting one over on the old enemy. It probably won’t land them that title they need as the season finishes next week I believe, but at least Arsenal Ladies appear to be in a good place and going in a good direction under Jonas Eidevall.
As for the men’s team, I saw this morning the Holding quotes about how Arteta gave them a bit of a pasting at half time against West Ham last weekend and how that drove them on to improve in the second half. I do think there was a slight improvement and obviously we didn’t concede in the second half so you can argue that it must have had some impact, but it made me wonder how much impact a half time shouting session has by the manager and how often he unleashes a tirade against players that he thinks are under performing. I have probably mentioned this before, but I was told about an article on man management that appeared in the broadsheets years ago, when Roy Keane was in charge of Sunderland, about how he drove them to Championship success in what I think was his first season at the club. I believe they won the league in this particular season and Keane and his approach was fundamental to that. Players spoke to being in awe of him, then of wanting to impress him as the great footballer he was, which drove them forward. But when they made the step up to the Premier League there was obviously a difference in class, but also there was a change that happened in the players. That was because after a couple of years of being given rollicking’s every halftime, or being in awe of him/fearful of him for so long, that kind of just…well…wore off. The players became numb to his approach and it didn’t inspire or change him. That’s why as a coach you need to vary your approach and it made me wonder about how often Arteta unleashes the hairdryer treatment.
Every couple of months? A couple of times a season?
I remember a game we won at Anfield under Wenger in which we came from behind to win. After the final whistle Cesc was interviewed and he said Wenger went berserk at halftime. He said he’d never seen him do that. But clearly Arsene was a ‘once a season rollicking’ man and at the right moment he knew he had to pull out that club from the man management bag. So how often does Arteta do that? When you look at him on the touchline shouting, encouraging, cajoling his players, you could be forgiven for thinking that he probably spends all of his time barking, but I wonder if he actually very rarely does it. Maybe he saves it for occasions when it is needed? That’s what I hope anyway, because there’s been a few people talk about how he’s not a great man manager, but I don’t think that any of us can really be unanimous in knowing this because we don’t have access to what goes on behind closed doors. We have to piece together what we know based on hearsay, paper talk, speculation amongst fans and when we see how many players have fallen out with him. But for the team to react when he gives them both barrels, whenever he decides to do it, must show that he has himself a core of players who will react depending on whether they are given the carrot or the stick treatment from Arteta.
And my hope is that we have a guy who in fact IS a good man manager and motivator because he knows when to go in which direction. We’ve had him as manager for two-and-a-half years now and although the personnel have changed, there are some players who are still responding to his approach, so I’m hopeful that it works. Regardless of whether we trip up in these final stages of the season, we have to acknowledge that this season has been better than last, that the team as it looks is more likeable than last. So from that perspective we can at least say we’ve gone in the right direction. And when you think that we’ve now confirmed our Europa League spot – which many thought would be an acceptable ‘par’ for this season to show progress, it feels like we’re going in the right direction to me.
Other than that there’s not a lot else going on. I suspect we won’t hear from Arteta until tomorrow so until that time, we can enjoy a serene Thursday as we look ahead to another massive weekend for The Arsenal.
You have yourself a good one.