Gabriel has done it again. His October player of the month award on the club’s official website means he’s the fans favourite for the second month in a row. What a great signing he’s proving to be. I love the way he just goes about his business without fuss or fury. Together with Holding, it seems a solid partnership is unfolding. What with those two and Elneny and Partey, apart from the Aston Villa no show by most of the players, we could be set nicely for a few years now. Bellerin and Tierney have many years left in their legs but as for the rest of our team who started against Villa, I wouldn’t miss if they left tomorrow. Barring Saka of course.
Any chance of players leaving until the summer are slim I think, unless the offer is too good to turn down, or any offer for a player on the periphery of first team. With Covid hitting a second season hard as it is, Arsenal are likely to struggle to find funds again for Mikel Arteta next summer. Sales will be key, removing high earners crucial too. Ozil will be gone as will both Mustafi, Luiz and Sokratis whose contracts all expire and Kolasinac will probably get a move away.
Question marks must be hanging over Pepe, Lacazette, Xhaka, Willian and even Aubameyang right now but, football is a funny old game. One little tweak here and/or there, and individual performances can change in a flash. Aubameyang hasn’t suddenly become a terrible striker overnight, just because Willian now wears a red and white kit instead of blue doesn’t mean he’s a rubbish midfielder and Lacazette hasn’t suddenly lost sight of wear the gap is between the two posts. Mikel Arteta hasn’t become a coach who doesn’t know what he’s doing just because the football isn’t clicking. Five years into his time at Liverpool, Klopp’s team conceded seven goals against Villa, OGS is still trying to find consistency two years into his Utd managerial career and Pep, with all the millions he’s spent, is finding life tougher these days. Even Dean Smith has had a year longer with his squad than Mikel Arteta has had with his.
I’ve no idea where Mikel Arteta is going to take Arsenal Football Club but surely it’s far too soon write him off. Or to expect him to turn players who have failed to gel before to suddenly turn into the perfect team. But I do wonder if his sideline antics are getting in the way of the players game. They will have been drilled before the fixture, tactics worked on during training, so maybe a trial of parking his backside on his seat might help. The constant shouting at players during a match must be really annoying. The stadium is empty of fans so every word he says, or rather shouts can be heard. Imagine if you were at work and your boss was looking over your shoulder for the entirety of your working day, barking orders. It wouldn’t work for long.
If Mikel’s body language and constant shouting at the players is a reflection of his emotions, then how on earth can his players relax and just get on with playing football? Arsene Wenger was great at being the cool, calm and collected, certainly during the first years of his time at Arsenal. He trusted his players to play the game his way and invariably, they did.
Perhaps Mikel should trust his just a little more than his match day policing of games would suggest.
Just a thought…