Morning all.

Arsenal face Brighton three times in October. The under 23’s kick things off tomorrow, a match which Arsenal.com are showing live, then it’s the first team on Saturday evening and on the last day of the month, the women play Brighton in the FA Cup Semi-Final after thrashing Toots 5-1 last night in the Quarter-Final.

Right across the club, things seem to be improving. The women have already thrashed Chelsea and Man City in the WSL and from what I’ve seen this season, they’re playing better football under new coach Jonas Eidevall. Last night’s battering of Totts was Arsenal eighth successive win under the new manager with 31 goals scored along the way. Wow!

I think I’m right in saying that the academy have lost just the one fixture and that was against West Ham. A horrid 6-1 defeat. Like the women, the under 23’s had a change of manager back in the summer as Kevin Betsy  replaced Steve Bould. Dan Micciche’s under 18 are yet to lose a game.

It’s very early days in the 2021/22 season I know but if things stay the same or better still, continue to improve, the future of Arsenal looks promising.

Whilst the focus for many of us is on the first team, what goes on in the academy is equally important for the club because that’s Arsenal’s future in the making. New signings from overseas or other English clubs can be exciting but I think there’s nothing better than seeing one of our own make it. To hear Emile Smith Rowe say that beating Toots after scoring one of the goals was one of the best days of his life says it all. That kind of passion and love for the club can’t be bought in my opinion. Arsenal fans turned players are priceless.

If Arsenal kids who grew up watching Arsenal like his family before had chooses to leave then it suggests his heart is not in the club. Arsenal don’t need that kind of player regardless of how good he might think he is. 15 year old Harrison Parker has just done that after ditching Arsenal for Man Utd. According to reports, he rejected a new contract with Arsenal because he wanted a new challenge. Well good luck to him at a club which makes big money signings for the first team.

I know, Arsenal have just paid big money for a defender too but that was because Mikel Arteta probably wanted a specific type of defender for his style of football, a type of footballer he clearly believed wasn’t already at the club. Or if he was/is, he isn’t quite ready for the first team.

To get the maximum from a squad/team, every player has to want to be at the club, to wear the Arsenal colours with pride and perform to the best level they can in every game. Once a player’s interest in the club has gone, he’s of no use. Arsenal Wenger had to deal with a lot of players who suddenly developed itchy feet. Anelka, Reyes, Flamini, Fabregas, Adebayor, Nasri, Hleb – the list during his days was long. They wanted to win things they said but being the old cynic I am, I’m sure many players simply move around for the money. That’s why I admired Willian for his honesty when he decided to terminate his Arsenal contract so he could move on and be happy. Totally the opposite to one or two others who I’ll refrain from mentioning.

Now it seems Mikel Arteta has another player on his hands who doesn’t want to be at Arsenal any longer and that’s Bernd Leno. The Mirror/Bild quote him as saying:

There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance. He [Arteta] is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me. London is very nice; Milan is not bad either and closer to my home Stuttgart,

I do think him being dropped for Aaron Ramsdale was everything to do with his performances though and I’m sure he knows that too. As soon as Arsenal paid big money for a goalkeeper in the summer, the writing was on the wall for Leno in my opinion. Sitting on the Arsenal bench will do Leno’s World Cup hopes no good at all and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him leave in January.

At least Arsenal’s recruitment seems to have improved somewhat so another Runasson kind of deal should be a thing of the past…

See you in the comments.