Morning all.

Chris Sutton:

Break Government guidelines, get caught, copy and paste an apology from your agent on social media, then carry on as normal. That is the way it seems to go.

It did not sit right seeing Luka Milivojevic lead Crystal Palace out on Saturday after spending New Year’s Eve with Aleksandar Mitrovic, the striker of the club whose games are being postponed because of a Covid-19 outbreak. Though Milivojevic flouted Government guidelines, we are told he did not break Premier League protocols because he tested negative before appearing for Palace. Roy Hodgson (right) condemned Milivojevic, yet started him against Sheffield United. Jose Mourinho condemned his Covidiots, yet Sergio Reguilon was sitting there on his substitutes’ bench against Leeds.

It feels as if these players are getting away with their ignorance on technicalities. I would rather see clubs or the footballing authorities police and punish their players. If caught, that is a three-match ban, for example. Let that act as a deterrent. Professional players are in privileged positions — so many at amateur and youth level would love to play a game of football right now.

To not socialise together is such a small sacrifice compared to what the rest of the country is going through. 

Footballers did so much good work during the first lockdown. They were charitable and showed great compassion. Now, a minority are not only giving the game a bad name, but they are also giving the Government more reasons to shut it down, especially if infections continue to rise. None of us want that to happen.

I’m not a huge fan of Chris Sutton but in this case, I think he makes a good point. Ordinary Joe Public is expected to follow the rules yet over recent weeks, professional footballers are blatantly flouting the rules. In doing so, they are putting lives at risk. One minute they’re partying, the next they’re spitting on a football pitch, or worse. Man City, Toots, and Crystal Palace players are the ones we are being told about but there’s bound to be more. The authorities in the UK have millions of people to ‘police’ so it’s only right that football clubs take some kind of responsibility for their own players. Yes, I’d ban them from playing too for a few matches, and fine them with the money going to charity.

I’d like to think Arsenal players will be more sensible considering Mikel Arteta himself contracted the virus. To date, I’ve not read anything about our own players breaching the rules. Gabriel tested positive after someone in his bubble unknowingly had the virus. Or at least that’s what Mikel Arteta has said. Luiz and William were said to be feeling ‘unwell’ but with what symptoms has never been disclosed. ‘Snitch fever’ I reckon!

William Saliba is on his way to Nice for the rest of the season according to reports in the media. Arsenal need him to have a positive five months on loan. He’ll either come back in the summer a better player who Mikel Arteta will be convinced by or he’ll sell for more than the amount we paid for him. It’s kind of a win win situation. I don’t know the ins and outs of why he has made an appearance for the first team so I’m not going to try and guess. Good luck to him though, an injury free few months will do him the world of good.

Football is a funny old game isn’t it? Two weeks ago Mikel Arteta was heading for the sack if the back pages were to believed, whereas his counterpart at Chelsea was a smart young manager doing good things with his team. Here we now and the tables have turned as it’s Frank Lampard the media and pundits are gunning for. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a toot about what goes on at Chelsea but just like a few good performances/results doesn’t mean Arsenal have cracked it, a few bad results doesn’t mean it should be the end of Lampard. For us, I hope his struggles continue and Chelsea drop further and further down the table but being the cut throat kind of owner Roman Abramavic is, it’s unlikely that’ll happen as he’ll be gone. But how is any club able to achieve any kind of stability if managers keep getting sacked?

Football management isn’t like DIY SOS where a team breeze in and build an almost new home in nine days, it takes time, the right tradesman and tools. For Lampard, Roman expects instant success no doubt, especially after spending so much money on new players but at Arsenal, the process takes longer as money isn’t as freely thrown around. This transfer window, and the summer in my opinion, is about clearing the deck of players who don’t fit into Mikel Arteta’s style of football and replacing them with players who do. Trimming the squad and reducing the wage bill at the same time.

Over the last three matches we’ve seen how Arsenal can play with younger and more energetic players. We’ve seen how an injection of enthusiasm has brought the best out of Lacazette too. No doubt the ‘process’ Arteta has often referred to is about finding out who is with him on this journey and who isn’t and the ‘isn’t’ will be moved on where possible. This has also now led to much more support amongst fans on the success of the side, with many picking up different offers here, whilst using the different games available at these top uk platforms. Let’s hope this success continues and Arsenal also continue to climb up the Premier league table.

I guess sometimes it pays to have a board which doesn’t make knee jerk decisions. Depending on your views on Mikel Arteta of course.

See you in the comments.