Here we are again, two weeks without domestic football to keep us moaning and groaning. International football just isn’t the same in my opinion, not these days anyway and the only thing I have an interest in is the injuries whilst hoping Arsenal suffer none. The thought of kicking off the next run of domestic fixtures without the likes of Gabriel, White, Partey, Saka, ESR etc, well, it doesn’t bear thinking about really.
Arsenal’s midfield is already one down for the next three months because of the injury to Granit Xhaka and regardless of what you and I might think of him, he’s one of the first on Mikel Arteta’s team sheet.
Arsenal went into the last international break on the back of some terrible performances matched with bad results. We sat bottom of the League with many of us wondering when our first win would come. Would things improve and could Mikel Arteta improve them. Was it already time to replace him, after all, it wouldn’t have been a knee jerk reaction because the football the team was playing had been poor for a while. Rumours were rife that Mikel had ten games to save his Arsenal career. Whoever made that up I don’t know but I doubted it’s truth at the time. After all, what club spends as much money as Arsenal did this summer and then sacks the manager before some of the new signings have even played?
Our last match before the September break was a 5-0 defeat at Man City. Mikel Arteta played a back five in front of Leno. Cedric, Chambers, Holding, Kolasinac and Tierney. Xhaka was the only defence minded midfielder. His sending off didn’t help the team but I don’t think the outcome would have been different had he stayed on the pitch.
I don’t know what happened during that break which followed but I’d imagine there was a lot of soul searching, chats and training. Mikel Arteta was under pressure and he knew it. He needed the fans on his side as much as the players.
After that much needed break, Gabriel and Ben White returned to full fitness and new man Tomiyasu Takehiro was ready to play. As Norwich arrived at The Emirates, Aaron Ramsdale had been given his first League start and AMN, alongside another new signing, Sambi Lokonga formed our central defensive midfield.
Admittedly, Arsenal made hard work of beating Norwich but the game was won and that’s all what mattered that day. The losing streak was over. Arsenal had bossed possession, had thirty shots on goal with seven on target. Norwich had one on target. Then came Burnley, a tough away fixture for any team I think but lo and behold, Arsenal came away with maximum points once more. Another clean sheet for Ramsdale and Arteta’s new look defence.
Then came the big one in this September group of fixtures. The NLD. Lose that one and Arteta was done for – yes, I read that on social media and somewhere else on the Arsenal blog world. Well, Totts were battered good and proper by an Arsenal team performance which was the best I’d seen in a long time. Especially in the first half.
Darn, we dropped points against Brighton at the weekend and the world has ended. But it hasn’t. The weather was awful, we couldn’t find a pass and simply but, most of the Arsenal players had a bad day at the office. Twelve points were on offer for Arsenal during September and we took ten of them. Of course twelve would have been better but to keep Brighton from scoring is a positive for our defence. Important for our defence and Ramsdale.
Of course there’s room for improvement, there always is but September was far far better than August so it looks like we’re on the right track. Both home and away fans seem to behind Arteta and the process he talks about and that’s more important than what the media or even we on the blogs say. As said earlier, we’ll often moan but that’s because we want the best for the club, more from the players and success on a match day. And yes, I want Mikel Arteta to be successful at Arsenal too, not because of who he is or what he’s done during his playing days but because he’s the Arsenal manager right now.
Arsenal’s next run of League fixtures are:
Crystal Palace – H
Aston Villa – H
Leicester City – A
Watford – H
If Arsenal head into the next international break in November with another ten points in the bag and a place in the next round of the League Cup, I’m sure we’ll all be pretty happy.
Twelve points would be even better…
See you in the comments.