Happy Monday Gooners, how we all feeling?
I’m feeling good. Match week one has now officially been completed, all teams have played and yesterday we were treated to defeats to both United and West Ham. I don’t really bother looking too much at City and Liverpool at this stage, otherwise I’d be happy about Liverpool’s draw too, but for me we need to look at those around us and if just one of those teams drops points each week and we win, then that can be seen as a good week. Unfortunately the Scum came up against a pretty dire Southampton side on the day, but when you hear that Hassenhuttl has lost each of the last four starts to the season that he’s managed the Saints, you wonder how much of it was Tottenham being the media’s ‘greatest side in the history of the world’ narrative, or was it that they came up against an opponent that was quite happy with bending over and presenting itself to it’s opponent? Southampton aren’t exactly a side in tip top form either, having lost seven of their last ten Premier League games if you go back to last season too (their only win of course coming against us, which they weren’t very good in either). So whilst I saw that Scum result and got a little worried, I guess there’s context that can make me feel a little better.
The Brighton v Man United game, however, was lovely to see, just the tonic to top off the weekend. United are a bit all over the place but looking at that side and the way Brighton performed, if United can be that bad for the rest of the season then that’d be a-ok with me. Looming on the horizon – in less than a month – is a trip to Old Trafford for us and whilst it is fun to poke fun at United now, when you look at our record their it makes for grim reading, so the crowing will only go so far with me. United can be the worst versions of themselves ever, but they’ll still manage to skank a win against us. Last season it was a penalty that got them the points against us, yesterday VAR was trying its best to help United; Lisandro Martinez’s push on Welbeck was as plain as the eye is ever going to see, but Paul Tierney – who was very happy to oblige Son in the North London Derby for the contact that was much less than Martinez yesterday – said ‘no dice’ and play went on. VAR did little to help. Then the same Paul Tierney who was quick to brandish a red for Rob Holding in the NLD, decided that Scott McTominay can go in studs up on ankles with impunity. A joke. But it is what it is and we cane expect the same treatment when we go to Old Trafford and McTominay is allowed to drop kick Saka in the head whilst somebody like Andre Marriner waves play on and Stuart Attwell on VAR thinks it’s perfectly fine for a player to nearly have his eyes gouged out.
Back to Arsenal though and it’ll be an interesting week as we approach the Leicester game, not least because Tielemans played against Brentford for Leicester at the weekend and if Arsenal don’t make any kind of offer for him this week then he’ll most likely play on Saturday too. If I was Arsenal – regardless of whether I want to sign the player, or my interest has ‘cooled’ as they’ve been saying – I’d put in a bid. Get the player unsettled, force Leicester not to play him, then you at least weaken your opponent for your upcoming match against them. Go mega low ball so you know it’ll be rejected, do it on Thursday and then the player will say his head isn’t in the right place and we have a better chance of picking up three points. Leicester have got plenty of other good players in their team and options to replace him, but let’s at least have a go at weakening them with some dark arts tactics this week, eh?
Mind you, Maddison has been subject to bids from Newcastle and Fofana apparently wants to leave for Chelsea, yet both still played on Saturday so Brendan Rodgers would probably still play Tielemans anyway, unless a deal was properly close to completion, which I doubt it will be by the end of this week. Arteta has said we want to make moves if we can, but by the tone of his voice that is based on exits and I think that’ll mean we’ll be spending the week trying to ship out players rather than bring more in. Work still needs to be done with Torreira, although he has now flown out to Galatasaray to seal a move there, whilst Bellerin and Pablo Mari still feel like they need to shuffle along a bit, but by the sounds of it Hellas Verona might be on the case for Mari now, which would be good given that Monza just wanted a loan deal. If we can get a few million quid and his wages off the books then that probably works quite well for us and frees up some space to bring in somebody. We can have 17 non home grown players and right now we’ve got 16 players if you don’t count the fact that they need to be at an English team for three years before the age of 21. I don’t know how the rules work with players who have been registered with us, but Saliba signed in June 2019 and so he now officially gets classed as home grown. Mari would be one of the 16, as is Torreira, So from a non home grown perspective we’re fine, but from a squad size you’d think less so, as we have a few players in there like Bellerin who just won’t play. He’s proving tricky because apparently he only wants Betis, but my hope is that he gets to a point where he just wants to play football and if and when that happens, the market will open up for him I’m sure.
We’ll just have to see how this week shapes up and who we can shake out, I guess. That’s why I don’t think we’ll see much movement for us but that’s fine, because we’re looking in good shape for the first 14 or 15 players in the squad and it looks like Tomiyasu and Tierney are coming back to fitness. MOre on that as the week progresses and we see who looks likely to start for our first home game of the season.
That’s from me today. I’m podcasting later for the Same Old Arsenal podcast, so if you fancy listening in, it’ll be on audio format tomorrow morning I think. Catch you all tomorrow.