Is it just me or is it almost tradition for Arsenal to have a December trip to Everton? Probably just an unwarranted impression and I’m not going to check the past schedule. But Everton have always made me a little uneasy, right from when Rooney scored his first goal.
Oh, how far we’ve come. From David Moyes vs Arsene Wenger to Carlo Ancelotti vs Mikel Arteta. Or… not quite yet. Still no official confirmation on Ancelotti, and it seems Duncan Ferguson, or rather Big Dunc as it is mandated he be called, will once again take charge.
For Arsenal, while Arteta has been confirmed as the new Arsenal head coach, he will not be on the touchline for the game tomorrow. Freddie Ljungberg will once again take charge and I hope our fans sing his song loud, long and proud. The club expressed words of gratitude to him for the job he’s done and I hope fans communicate the same feeling. We love you Freddie, we do.
Tale of two underperformers
Let’s get the mundane stuff out of the way. Everton are 16th in the Premier League with 18 points from 17 games. They don’t pass the ball around very much (15th in the PL) but surprisingly create a fair number of shots. More than Arsenal in fact; 224 to 206. Of course there’s not much to be drawn from these stats when both teams have been underperforming and have interim managers in charge the past few games. Everton have picked up 4 points in their last 2 games against big name opposition. An upset against Chelsea was followed by a 1-1 draw with ManU. They seem to have regained some confidence at just the wrong time as far as we’re concerned.
Arsenal need to win to keep the slim hopes of top 4 still alive. Down in 10th place, 7 points behind Chelsea in 4th, it seems a long shot. But there’s still over half the season to go and with a new coach in place, who knows, maybe we’ll hit a rich vein of form.
Significance of Arteta
So now we get to the exciting stuff. I can scarcely believe it. Mikel Arteta stands where Arsene Wenger once stood. It might have been delayed by 18 months. It might have cost us team balance, belief and identity in the meantime. But Arsene’s true successor is now here.
As a player Mikel joined us in the middle of a crisis and was extremely influential in stabilising the club and getting to 3rd in the table. Can history repeat itself for him as a manager? Probably unlikely as the job is that much harder and as he himself acknowledges, he lacks experience. However, he also says if he didn’t feel ready for the responsibility he wouldn’t have taken over. The thing is, I believe him when he says that.
Arteta has always been fairly forthright in his opinions, and it seems he’ll be no different as a coach. He constantly stressed the importance of identity and said we’ve unfortunately strayed from what it ought to be. This also includes giving chances to young players and Arteta seemed genuinely excited at the prospect. At the same time, he also left the players, young and old alike, in no doubt that he’s going to need them to show commitment to the cause, although he did say he’s going to have to first gain their confidence and help them.
This isn’t a surprise if we consider his days as a player and captain at Arsenal. I recently saw an ‘unclassic commentary’ segment he did with Rosicky. It was funny because unlike the usual banter, it was basically Arteta calling out all the flaws in his teammates’ games including his fellow co-commentator. While that can be grating, Rosicky didn’t seem to mind. I also recall Santi telling Arteta he’s the leader even before he had the armband.
Apart from being universally acknowledged as a leader among the players, Arteta was the one Wenger most trusted. He was the manager’s coach on the field during games.
Arteta is a strong personality, highly motivated, very demanding, and someone who understands the importance of Arsenal’s identity and values. It doesn’t hurt that he’s widely travelled as a player, and has played and worked under top coaches. He’ll need some time and patience, but Mikel Arteta is an exciting appointment for Arsenal Football Club. I can’t wait for him to begin.
Of course, as mentioned previously, Freddie will be in charge vs Everton. Arteta said he’d only discussed some basics but left it to Freddie to do what he thinks best. A decision on whether Freddie will stay as part of the staff will be made only after they have an in-depth discussion, and also the rest of the staff will be announced very soon. Some exciting rumours have been floated in that regard too, but we shall see.
Team News: Tierney and Kolasinac are both out with injury. As is Ceballos. While Bellerin, Holding and Ozil are doubts. Granit Xhaka however is available for selection again.
Starting XI: Leno, Chambers, Luiz, Sokratis, AMN, Xhaka, Torreira, Saka, Pepe, Martinelli, Aubameyang
Subs: Martinez, Holding, Bellerin, Willock, Ozil, Nelson, Lacazette
Prediction: Freddie to sign off (but hopefully stay at the club) with a 2-1 win. It won’t be easy, but the players should be eager to show the new manager what they are all about. I’m actually expecting an exciting attacking game with our superior finishing proving the difference.
Stranger things are happening at The Arsenal.
Xhaka and Torreira ping the ball around together in their own half of the c.circle out towards AMN with some confidence and then bring the ball through the lines and the midfield to build an attack
…Is this what Football looks like?
Have the Gunners weathered the early storm and effort from the Home team?
A strong half chance there for Martinelli and that’s it for the attack in this half.
The CMs have been OK. Subtle yet gradual improvement there has been obvious when Xhaka and Torreira are starting under FL.
ESR playing as you’d expect same as Guendouzi at this level as he’s just not ready yet but it is and has been exciting game for football for me with the gunners up against the odds with this young squad full of academy players away to Everton.
The press won’t big up the number of academy kids starting this fixture for the Gunners, or the many many, many, fuck ups by agents’ patsy Raul that led us here, they won’t rock their gravy train after all the chameleons that they are, but if this callow team go out to play some little football and are still in the game away from home at HT then I’m happy.
Relatively speaking Mr. Friend is balanced.
One of the few or two on the pgMOB roster who deserves to be addressed as a referee IMO.
Not a great game to watch but it is special circumstances for both clubs and I think that contributed.
Does Raul look a little chastised to anybody else? He’s still trying to be smug like he usually is but he seems to have lost some colour in his cheeks,
Arteta meanwhile has been pretty blunt in stating the club has lost its way. The very fact that the question could be asked of him is interesting.
Heh. I had to laugh at Unai Emery still proving why he was always the wrong choice. The lack of self awareness is staggering. Still making excuses, still insisting he did a good job except for one month, and that only crowd pressure forced him out.
Big job for Arteta and for the club to get the support staff, and the recruitment right. I feel like Mikel is up to it, but what will Raul Sanllehi do? He may need to lay low for now. But longer term? One thing’s for sure. Arteta will not keep quiet if Raul messes with his work.
Shard who knows perhaps there were warm embraces and words between Raul and Mikel?
what is interesting is that:
1) if that happened the Arsenal media team edited it out of the footage.
2) if it didn’t happen they made sure to highlight that body language and milk it to the max.
Add in the repeated quotes from the new coach about wanting to know which clown is responsible for the clowning around which led to the club being made to look like a clown with Rambo, Ozil, Koscielny to start with, just the three senior players in the squad when Raul arrived and…you can understand why Raul is looking like he’s got Harry Redknapp’s twitch with both the club media staff and the new coach very publicly lining him up in their gunnery sights (there are those who will ignore the artillery barrage but then they must be deafened to it)
The long and the short of it the dressing room was in revolt in the summer, George and Shotta were the only online blogs to point out this obvious and simple fact, and Arteta clearly intends to identify why that happened, he has to, in order to sort the current mess out.
The only reason Arteta got the job is because Raul was so weakened by trying to hold onto his puppet. the outflanking manoeuvre, O’Leary one side, Arteta the other caught out the management consultant’s defence for his puppet with the simple cut back to finish off Emery, which is kind of ironic when you think about it.
( Under Pep & Arteta City have used the wide areas but unlike the clowns out there that didn’t lead them to attack the corner flags ahead of the Goal….)
Of far greater interest was an Arsenal midfield controlling the second half, dictating the play, away from home against a half decent opponent.
When was the last time we saw that? Before the zombie had infected the squad too deeply I imagine.
Freddie did a great job under difficult circumstances to reset the squad as best he could and get the team playing Football again, yesterday was proof of that.
And he got the defence looking decent too. Luiz has had three top games this season. He’s still got some quality but asking him to be a regular starter after two seasons on the bench was the act of a Clown (Raul). Chambers best CB at the club. Was the best CB at the club at the start of last season but some Clown sent him on loan…
Hey Fins: Omi’s match report was just posted and he was not happy with some of Freddie’s decisions especially subbing ESR in midfield. Looking forward to your response.
This comment made me Lol.. The cutback irony.
I actually wonder what the relationship between Arteta and Raul is, but they themselves only talked up Edu’s relationship. But all the time Edu sat next to Raul only confining himself to the sort of answers Mr Agentman desired. It’s a bit embarrassing. If the TD is responsible for setting the direction of the team, shouldn’t he be taking centre stage on his own and explaining his work?
It will be worth keeping an eye on what we do in terms of recruitment. Will we be bringing in a Mislintat replacement, in fact if not in name? At this point, I think the coaching will improve. I trust Arteta to handle the man management side of things. I trust Arteta to reinstate the Arsenal identity. Recruitment remains the doubt I have.