Good morning everyone. Starting a new week with a weekend win means things are less introspective than they were, and frankly, that’s a good thing.
It’s funny how the results change the mindset. Well, I mean, it’s obvious in some ways, but this time last week (or the week before after the Man City game) it was hard to take into account too many positives. I admit it was hard to see how exactly we were going to dig our way out of the hole we were in. Yes, it was only three games blah blah blah, but they were so bad that they had a profound effect on my thinking process.
Then a decent performance against Norwich (yes it’s just Norwich etc) and it’s a lot easier to see the light. To see a defense with new faces, new skills, new combinations and how they might come together. The return of a high profile midfielder who makes so much difference. Another goal for the captain, and that’s four so far this season for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (yes, it was just West Brom etc etc) but we feared the shot on goal had let him down, and there is Evidence that this hasn’t been as long as we get the ball to him in the right areas.
It’s clear we still have a very long way to go, one game doesn’t solve everything (especially one against Only Norwich – their new official name), but I’m happy to have this slightly more positive outlook this morning. I don’t enjoy when Arsenal are bad, I don’t like to go without the club, but there hasn’t been much to complain about so far this season. Now we have a few things that give us a bit of hope, things that we can take with us into the next game, that we can hopefully improve, do better, and gradually change the trajectory.
I was also thinking about something Mikel Arteta said after Saturday’s game. He is and will remain a manager who is under serious pressure for very obvious reasons, and he has undoubtedly sensed it. Talking about how to deal with this at home, he said:
“This negativity has to go. You need to remember that the first thing you should do is do everything you can, and not be fooled or come up with excuses. Usually the easiest thing to do is to blame the players: “They are not good enough. I have that, I have that. ”And then you try to overtrain her.
“I wasn’t ready to do that because, first of all, they don’t deserve it. The people around this club don’t deserve it. You just want to beat yourself up for not getting things right and for not getting the result you think you deserve.
It is not possible for a Premier League manager to exist in a bubble where they are isolated from the reality of their whereabouts. There were some scenes (maybe after the Chelsea game) where his car was surrounded, some things were screamed. Bad, yes, but the same thing happens after positive outcomes where admiration rather than criticism is the motivation.
However, it was this piece that got me thinking. He was asked to think about the last few weeks after that City game, after all the misery of the first three games, and he said:
I have to say it was probably the best 10 to 15 days I’ve had since I’ve been in football. I’m not saying they were the easiest, but probably the best. You need to make sense of why you are doing what you are doing and why you decided to become a soccer player or a coach. It has all made sense in the last week or so. It’s about the relationship we’ve built. It’s about the trust that everyone in the club has. It’s about connections and how the players react emotionally, how everyone on the team – and I speak from every department at the club – supports and tries to improve and deal positively with the situation. You have to win football games, but for me it is an absolute pleasure to see how everyone behaves in the context that we had around us.
At first I thought it was a little crazy to be honest. The kind of thing a manager says so as not to focus on the negatives on a welcome positive day. Now I’m just wondering if it’s because of what happened behind the scenes and how everyone reacted to the bad start to the season. Was he afraid he might “lose the locker room” and instead found that the players were still on board, ready to work hard to get things right? Saturday’s performance against Norwich was far from perfect, but there was no apparent lack of effort on the part of the players or any indication that they were making the moves. We can all see that a mile away, and that wasn’t there.
If that was so, I can understand why he feels some kind of relief and how he sees this time positively. I suspect it’s a bit of an exaggeration here, and that there have been far better times in his football life than this, but when there was some togetherness behind the scenes and evidence that the players are still ready to get the job done etc, I can understand where he’s coming from (I think).
He’s still going against the grain when it comes to public opinion, but if he still has the trust of the players, that’s good for him and hopefully for us too. As a team, we have a far better chance of making it to the top in the Premier League if everyone is ready to do the job. Whether it’s enough for Arteta remains to be seen, but I want Arsenal to win games and, as I said, everything else – good or bad – will depend on whether we do or not.
Ok, let’s leave it at that for today. James and I are going to be recording the Arsecast Extra for you this morning. Keep an eye out for the Call for Questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you are an Arseblog member on Patreon, leave your question in the # arsecast-extra-questions Channel on our Discord server.
Podcast should come out around noon or around, so keep it quiet until then.