Morning all and welcome to the first – of quite a few – Arsenalless Saturday’s we have between now and the remainder of 2022. We’ll have the World Cup which will form a minor distrcation, but as I’ve said before I’m not really much of an international fan, so it will only be that – a distraction. I don’t get nervous days before like I do with The Arsenal. I’m not looking up who is fit for England, Germany or The Netherlands. I’ll get behind them and want them all to win their matches, but you won’t find any hand-ringing in our household.

But I will inevitably have some kind of absorption, because it is everywhere at the moment. Last night I watched the first episode of the FIFA uncovered series on Netflix, for example, which hardly paints a good picture of those at the top. Blatter is even on it, showing little contrition and seeming like the cat who got the cream, knowing how he’s got away with basically being one of the most corrupt figureheads in world football, yet seemingly has escaped all punishment. Go figure.

I also watched the Italia 90 World Cup documentary on Channel Four the other day, which was interesting because that was when I was first getting in to football as a kid and was the first international competition I remember. So that was nice to bring back memories of the England v Cameroon game in particular. As seems to be the case for England, a penalty was involved in some of the goalscoring. I mean, it’s kind of how Harry Kane has stat-padded his England career to date, really, isn’t it?

So I’ll probably watch a few more of those documentaries and hopefully there will be some good matches in the coming days.

On to Arsenal-related things, we got confirmation yesterday that Edu has had himself a promotion to become Arsenal’s first ever Sporting Director. I think he was Technical Director before, so apart from the job title change, he seems to also now have over-0arching responsibility for the running of the academy too. Quite what that means for the dynamic between Big Per and Edu I’m not sure, but the statement by Vinai says they will be working closely together and that this will strengthen the link between the academy and the other teams including the men’s team. I personally don’t really understand what it means in practical terms, other than I suspect it is in reference to the noises that Edu has been courted by others, as well as some rumours about his contract running down. I thought it was only players and the manager/coaching staff that worked on contractual bases, so again, I’m not sure how true those rumours were about his contract, but I suspect some of those rumours about him being courted by others has led the club to move to promote him and give him a little more cash to keep him sweet and happy at the club.

When he first joined he sat under Sanllehi and I seem to recall hearing a few questions asked – by bloggers like me, podcasters, fans on Twitter, etc, as to what Edu actually does. There were people who weren’t sure whether he was any good or not because, frankly, we weren’t able to see because Raul Sanllehi took centre stage. His departure shone the spotlight on Edu and at first it also wasn’t sure what kind of a guy he’d be. But given time and in working closely with Mikel, it is clear that the job he has done has been a good thing for Arsenal. Together they have formed a strong partnership and you can’t really argue with the transfer policy since Edu has had all of the reigns. He is a better speaker and spokesperson every time I see him and in the summer when on the US tour I thought his interview he did with the assembled journos was excellent. He came across really well, with a real fire in his belly, plus we were treated to the first proper signs that he has a vision and he is laser-focused on his commitment to that vision. He said that this season was one in which we had to get Champions League. He even went as far as saying he’d told KSE that this season was earmarked for it on the trajectory he had planned for a couple of years back. Now, that could of course all be lip service, but he made that Champions League statement before a ball was kicked this season and so to his credit, he did put his neck on the block in the summer by saying we had to achieve this ambition this season.

I like that. Somebody who is willing to state an ambition and not just deliver us all Ivan Gazidis-shaped soundbites. And what we’ve been treated to since then has also been an Arsenal team doing the business on the pitch, which has – so far – validated his statements and so he needs to take a small slice of the credit of what is happening at The Arsenal right now. There is always more work to do, the work never really stops, in fact, but Edu, Arteta and all the team responsible for getting us in the position we are in should all be commended. When you also think about the upcoming January window, I’ve also heard so many people talk about how they are just going to trust that whoever we go for to strengthen the squad in January, we as fans will trust their judgement, because they have earned it. I think that’s right and I do indeed agree with that sentiment. I also think that last January’s signingless window (Austen Trusty aside) might also work in our favour now. Edu, Arteta and Arsenal have shown in those actions that they aren’t just going to go after any old player. They aren’t going to compromise on who they want and the type of player they need, just for a shorter term solution. That means – hopefully – they are less likely to get shafted on fees for players if they don’t believe they won’t drastically improve what we have. That’s a good place to be and that also helps to give fans like me the trust in the team.

Right, I’m going to call it a day on the writing words front, I think. No football but got family over so going to enjoy some quality time with them.

Catch you on tomorrow.