Morning all.

2023 started nearly as well for Arsenal as 2022 ended.Tottenham dropped three points at home against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa and the Chelsea surrendered a 1-0 lead to draw against Nottingham Forest.

Conte went straight into moaning mode after his side lost:

To become title contenders, to become a team ready to fight to win something, you need to have a solid foundation, which means to have 14 or 15 strong players, with quality, and the other young players to develop. Every season, you can add two players, but two players priced £50m, £60m, £70m. In this way, it means you are signing important players who can improve the quality and the level of your team. But this is a process, guys. This is a process.

I can’t believe he dropped the “P” word in. I reckon he’s been spending too much time listening to Mikel Arteta.

I never understand why a price dictates how good a player can be for the club he signs for. Chelsea once paid £50 odd million for Fernando Torres but that didn’t turn out well. Nearly as well as signing Lukaku for £100 million. Arsenal spent around £50 million on Alex Lacazette but I wouldn’t say his move was a great success and Nicolas Pepe certainly turned out to be a disaster £72 million signing really, as did Mesut Ozil. How much did Mitoma cost Brighton, Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah or even Martin Odegaard, William Saliba and Gabriel? Neither Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko moved to Arsenal for £50 million, nor Takehiro Tomiyasu or Kieran Tierney for that matter. Yet all have and still are part of the reason we’re sitting top of the League right now.

I read that Tottenham has spent £400 million on players in three years. Arsenal’s net spend according to PlanetFootball is £280 million since Mikel Arteta arrived.

Conte always seems to blame anyone or anything other than looking in the mirror and admitting it might be him who’s the problem. Just like Arsene Wenger was his own worst enemy during his latter years at Arsenal, Mourinho in recent years and a number of other managers over time too. £170 odd million spent last summer and Conte is still moaning! I bet Djed Spence is so glad he joined them. Not!

Whatever Conte is trying to do, the players don’t look like they’re enjoying being part of it. On the other hand, what Mikel Arteta has, and is doing, the players are 100% into it. Not one of them cost Arsenal in excess of £50 million.

Having money to spend helps any football manager to build a strong squad but I’ve always believed that eleven players at the level of Messi on the pitch will only be great if they believe in who is coaching them and what he’s asking them to do. Respect has to be a two way thing and it has to be earned. I think it’s safe to say that Mikel Arteta ticks that particular box.

Of course I hope things stay as they are down the road from The Emirates because the more they fail, the better it is. I’m just glad Arsenal took the route they did by taking a chance on a rookie but a rookie who’d learned from one/two of the best. Although I’ll admit, there was a time when I couldn’t see where he was taking our club.

There were two stories doing the rounds yesterday afternoon. One, which nearly every tabloid printed, suggested Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Mykhaylo Mudryk which even if true, is worth little if Shakhtar and Arsenal can’t agree a transfer fee. The other suggested that Real Madrid are interested in signing Martin Odegaard. Oh yes, I can see him wanting to rush back to Madrid cant you? I think the chance of him ever returning to the club who sold him to Arsenal are slim to none.

This is by Sam Dean in today’s Daily Telegraph:

Arsenal the ‘prime destination for young talent’.

It’s the way Arsenal are playing and the age of the squad they’ve got right now that is contributing to this. If you look at the front four against Brighton – Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli and Odegaard – the oldest of that front four is Odegaard at 24.

This has become very quickly under Mikel Arteta one of the absolute prime destinations for top talented young players and when you look across the game, who Arsenal are targeting and what the appeal the club might hold for some of these players, it is hard to think of a more enticing project right now.

We all know they want to sign Mykhailo Mudryk and it seems pretty clear from his social media activity at the very least that he is keen on joining Arsenal. That paints a picture of its own as this is a place now where talent goes to thrive when only a few years ago it struggled.

The philosophy Arteta has instilled has made joining Arsenal a very attractive proposition.

I know I’m biased but I agree with him and not only are Arsenal an attractive club to join but to stay at too. Our squad is young, they’re growing together, improving together and they are clearly happy together. The players coming through the academy must see what’s happening at the club and want to be a part of it. The best will get their opportunity I’m sure, they’ll just need to be patient.

David Ornstein reckons one of Man Utd and Arsenal are favourites to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid for the rest of the season but only if the Spanish club lower their loan fees.

Catch up in the comments..