Agendas, we all have them don’t we? Or can you, reading this, honestly say you’re a ‘take things day by day’ kind of person? I’ve always believed there’s no point in worrying about tomorrow when today is just beginning.
A football club can’t be run in such a way of course because people at the top have to prepare for tomorrow, the next day and the months/years ahead but, whatever happens ‘today’, should be considered before making future decisions. I hope that makes the same sense to you as it did me at the time of writing. Lol.
Take Arsenal, Edu and Mikel. I think nearly everyone who contributes here on HH believe the club has and/or still is, making errors. The signing of Willian has on many occasion been criticised. The continued selection of he, Pepe, Xhaka, Luiz – insert your own player choice here, has been criticised daily. The selling of Martinez, the omission of Ozil, the appointment of the inexperienced Mikel Arteta. Edu isn’t up to the job he has either. Surf the wider internet, and the criticism goes much deeper.
An excellent performance against Chelsea will no doubt have been dismissed by certain corners of the Arsenal fan base whilst in others, the ‘I told you so’ will be running through the minds of those of us who believed Mikel Arteta needed to bring more youth into the side. Yes, that’s me so I guess banging the youth drum has been my agenda. I also believe Bellerin and Xhaka, Lacazette too, need moving on but that doesn’t mean I have to refuse to acknowledge just how good they played against Chelsea. One good performance individually or collectively as a team, won’t change my opinion but the neither does one bad one.
In life there are people who will never be happy regardless of what their day has delivered. They’ll watch a football match and pick out the negative parts instead of seeing the positive moments. Same applies to the other side of the coin though as ‘some’ people, I hate that expression, will only see the good whilst ignoring the bleedin obvious which has been bad, because the bleedin obvious doesn’t suit their agenda.
The performance against Chelsea is one not to be overly excited about in my opinion but nor should it be ignored. Optimistic though? Absolutely. With Thomas Partey and Gabriel on the sidelines, we absolutely battered Chelsea. It was them hitting and hoping with their crosses into the box and not Arsenal. When Arsenal did that recently, it was greeted with all sorts of negativity, yet Chelsea do it Arsenal were ‘lucky to get away with it’. The fact that we dealt with most things they tried is dismissed with great ease. If Arsenal have ten shots on goal but don’t score, we’re rubbish but when the opponent does something similar, we’re considered fortunate the opponents didn’t have their shooting boots on. Agendas eh!
Regardless of the circumstances which led to Mikel Arteta leaving Pepe and Aubameyang on the bench and Willian and Luiz at home, which I really hope was an Mikel Arteta decision only, it happened and proved to be a positive. What’s important in my opinion is that younger players aren’t now cast aside. Team selection has to be based on performance and attitude and not because of the name on the shirt or how he played six, twelve or eighteen months ago. We learn from the past but we live in the present. The past tells me that if Mikel needs to substitute Martinelli but doesn’t want to lose the teams energy, intensity and pressing game, Pepe is not the player to replace him with, Willock however is a different story. If he wanted to tighten things up defensively, changing ESR with AMN might have been a more suitable option than Willock.
If Mikel Arteta wants to keep Arsenal climbing up the table, he cannot afford to select players who aren’t on his side because they will in my opinion cost him his career at the club. Player power simply cannot win and nor should it be allowed to either.
What the performance against Chelsea proved is that the younger guys will dig deep and then deeper still to win a game. They want to play and they want to perform. Arsenal’s future should be in their hands and not in the guys who downed tools a couple of months ago.
If Mikel Arteta can’t see that then yes, perhaps he deserves to have his stay questioned. If Edu and whoever else is involved in our future player signings think that players at the very end of their career is a good idea then they too should be thinking about packing their bags and walking away.
High energy players, committed players, smart and simple footballing players is the way forward for our club. Men and teenagers who are more interested in playing the game than plotting a way to remove a manager from his position is the way forward. Remove the bad apples and the rest won’t rot.
Even if it took just 95 minutes against a strong Chelsea side for the penny to drop for Mikel Arteta, then thank heavens for that. However, if Willian and Luiz walk back into the team as soon as they’re next available, then it will prove he’s unable to be flexible, to see what’s in front of his nose and incapable of doing what’s best for the club and the team. Same goes for Edu if next month he makes more ridiculous moves in the transfer window.
For today though, I’m feeling pretty optimistic that inside the Arsenal squad of goodness knows how many, there’s a group of players who can, and will if selected, keep the Arsenal moving in the right direction. If the man taking us forward is Arteta, great, if it’s not then so be it. I don’t have an agenda as far as the manager goes, or the board for that matter because I just want Arsenal to do well. To be the best they possibly can with the resources available. It’s fine to be critical but it’s also fine to dish out praise too.
See you in the comments.