Much like last Thursday and Friday last week, it’s all gone deathly quiet and, with there being no Euro’s like last Thursday and Friday as well as no real Arsenal news to speak of, it’s becoming quite slim pickings indeed out there in the football universe. Last week I wasn’t fussed because it was a couple of days off for me and The Management and we were on our way to Glastonbury, but this week it really does feel like a bit of a barren wasteland.

In the UK it’s even worse because all of the talk is about the General Election as it’s polling day today. By the end of it Rishi Sunak is almost certainly likely to be out of a job; maybe Gareth Southgate should be dropping him a Whatsapp to see how it might feel. After all, regardless of what happens in this Euro’s, that man should probably be out of a job. I don’t want to labour it too much because I’ve talked about it already, but tactically he is completely out of his depth and it is why I am happy that at The Arsenal we’re in a good space with our team and manager.

I watched the England v Slovakia game at Glastonbury on an iPhone and I was with a mate who isn’t really in to his football. He’s a bit of an egg-chaser and he said to me on multiple occasions “are they really supposed to be this sh*t?” or “even I can see that they aren’t moving around the pitch when they should be”. That’s to the uninitiated and self-confessed football hater that he is, but when you’ve got somebody like that making fairly obvious statements that the world can see, you know there’s a problem.

I’m bringing this up because I then spent the time talking to him about The Arsenal. I held my phone up near him and started pointing at patches of green space:

“ok so here’s an example. Rice receives the ball, he’s moved it to that guy on the left. At Arsenal Rice and at least another player will move in to a position here, where the angle of a pass is a bit more like creating a triangle. That means the guy receiving the ball has two options. He can retain possession forward or backward but more importantly there are angles created to keep the ball. It’s all about continuous rotation of players without the ball to create space”

As I found myself explaining Arteta’s Arsenal I also found myself incredibly thankful that in Arteta we have a guy who has coached a collective of players to be so good off the ball. When you’re watching as a fan in the stadium you don’t always see it – I certainly don’t given that i’m in the lower tier – but when you start to watch other teams where you have somewhat (even if only a little) investment in the team, it’s easy to see why we’ve been steadily improving under Arteta. When I watch other domestic club games I don’t always look at the tactical side because I am also invested; I want to see City/United/Liverpool/The Scum/Villa, etc, lose. But international football detaches me somewhat, so I find myself observing the actual process of football and as a result I could explain to my mate why Gareth Southgate was…well…not very good as a coach at all.

There is no football identity. At The Arsenal we have an identity; I heard on numerous occasions from pundits who are half decent about how Arsenal are one of the best teams without the ball last season. That’s because they are coached by Arteta to always be moving. Football isn’t a chess match with pieces still until they move, it’s a game which has a life of its own and if all of your players are making moves, creating space, showing fluidity as a collective, then you retain possession, you move teams around more, you create openings and fashion chances to score goals. I’ve seen a few pundits (not many, granted) try to suggest that low block sides are the reason it has been so difficult and of course, a small part of that is true, but you still have to move around the pitch enough to try to pull the opposition out of position. England don’t do that, but thankfully Arsenal do.

The good news is that The Arsenal are just a couple of weeks away until the pre season friendlies will kick in. We’ve recently confirmed Bournemouth as a game in the States and whilst that in itself is hardly the sexist of fixtures in the world, at least it’s the beginning of us starting to look at how the next tactical evolution of Arteta’s Arsenal might look. And that’s quite exciting to me because basically every season we’ve evolved and changed something a little differently. Whether it’s inverted left backs, inverted right backs, the boxes in the middle of the park or something else. We’ve adapted and changed and each time given our opponents something different to think about each season, each time giving other Premier League analysts something to think about.

I think i’ll leave it there for today. We did a ‘one in, one out, one bangs’ episode on the Same Old Arsenal show last night if you fancy listening, which you can do so here. Amanda is also doing a show tonight in which she’ll be remembering Kevin Campbell, with a couple of great guests and you can check that out tonight at 8pm here.

Catch you all tomorrow.