Morning all.

Josh Kroenke has been talking to Geoff Shreeves of Sky Sports. The interview is being broadcast before Arsenal kick off against Watford.

  • Arsenal are not for sale.
  • The club receives offers to buy Arsenal quite often.
  • The Kroenke family are only just getting going after the 100% takeover in 2018.
  • The Premier League title is the aim.
  • Do we have to rethink how we’re going to go about achieving those goals? Absolutely. This summer that really played out. We weren’t breaking any transfer records but the net spend was very high.
  • Young players, talented players with the right mentality is the plan. Let them grow together while continuing to sprinkle in talent throughout the squad.
  • Arsenal fans should expect the best. That’s what they’ve expected throughout their history and that shouldn’t change at all.
  • We had many areas we needed to address on the pitch, those were addressed with players of a certain quality, of a certain age, and I think what gets left out quite a bit is, we needed to change a few mentalities around here. We needed to get mentally stronger.
  • Do we feel good about where we are? We feel better about where we are, we don’t feel good. Our fans still deserve more.
  • We need to get back into the top four, we need to start qualifying for the Champions League regularly, and with that Champions League qualification comes a different level of how you can recruit players. The best players want to play in the best league in the world, which is the Champions League, outside of the Premier League.

I’ll leave the chewing over of the Josh Kroenke interview for the comments section. We have one of two choices though, believe him or take his words which a huge pinch of salt.

He’s right about one thing though and that’s feeling a bit better about what’s going on at Arsenal. After the huffing and puffing to earn a draw against Crystal Palace at The Emirates, Arsenal have been good. Tougher challenges than Palace were to follow, or at least that’s what was being written in the back pages but as Man City have since learned, the media too perhaps, is that Palace themselves are a tough challenge.

This League isn’t like it used to be. No fixture is easy and no opposition are a walk over. The Palace game was the first fixture after the most recent international break.

Crystal Palace ➖
Aston Villa ✔️
Leeds (Cup) ✔️
Leicester City ✔️

Two wins out of three. Seven points out of the nine on offer during the period following the international break which is pretty good but there’s still one match left and Arsenal cannot afford to take Watford lightly despite their up and down performances under Claudio Ranieri. At Leicester City, Ranieri won the Premier League by playing counter attacking football at speed and I fully expect him to set up in a similar way today at The Emirates.

During this period between international football breaks, Watford have won just one fixture. Beaten by Leeds, thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool, beat Everton 5-2 but suffered another defeat in their last match which was at home against Southampton.

Arsenal are in a good place right now, you/I can probably sense that from the players body language and effort on the pitch. Aubameyang sets the tone up front with his pressing and Lacazette is right behind him. We’re not seeing our captain just jogging around trying to look busy anymore. His efforts are real now. We’ve started the last two fixtures with high energy and it’s reaped reward with early goals. Partey and Lokonga are busy in midfield whilst Saka and Smith Rowe just go about their game with little fuss. At the back, we’ve looked solid at the back but I think there’s still room for improvement. Not giving away free kicks in a dangerous area is one.

For me if I have to define our identity, it is one word now: unity. The past that we had in recent months, it is only one, unity. Without unity you can’t achieve what we want to achieve and unity means every person that works in the organisation, it’s our way of playing, it our way of transmitting, our way of playing, it is our way of transmitting our values, our way of connecting with our fans, our ownership is everybody, uniform, thinking in the same way, with the same purpose, without any individual agendas, without any egos, just that’s the task. That’s what we want to get and a big part of that [I am] I am going to push the boat very, very fast. – Mikel Arteta on Arsenal.com

I absolutely agree with the manager here because in my opinion, there’s nothing worse than watching a big name player playing with either a chip on his shoulder or an ego greater than his effort/performance in a match. No doubt that’s why Mikel Arteta had a bit of a clear out of the squad. Every manager needs players who want to play and want to perform well for the club, his teammates, his manager and the club’s fans.

In the past we’ve all seen Arsenal teams turn up on days like today probably thinking a win is a foregone conclusion but 90 minutes later, they’re trudging off the pitch with points having been dropped. As said earlier, no opposition is easy to beat anymore. Only hard work will get a result and credit where it’s due, Mikel Arteta does seem to finally have his players doing that.

First of all, [what I want for everyone is] the feeling to be privileged to represent this club and be in the position that you are, every time you come through that door. If that is lost, you have to go, get in your car and drive home and come back the next day with a different thought, because we’re not going to move the club the way we want [without that] and that is the purpose, and without a real purpose I don’t think we’re going to achieve what we want. – Mikel Arteta on Arsenal.com

Not sure about getting in the car, going home and coming back the next day. I think it’s more likely to be get in the car and keep on driving because I don’t believe Mikel Arteta will give too many chances to those who don’t put a shift in. Not anymore and why should he?

So, I don’t expect to see a lacklustre Arsenal today. Totally the opposite. We’re flirting with the top four places and need to stay there or thereabouts. Yes we’ll drop points, but most other clubs will too but at home against Watford, anything other than a win would be a disappointment.

See you in the comments.