Can we sign Trust?
I don’t trust Arsenal.
I don’t think I have for over 10 years.
My son and I get comfortable and excited on the couch. Out Arsenal run. My son looks at me. He does it every game. It’s a mix of fear and adrenaline I see in his face. He’s only 10 but he understands already.
He has no idea what is about to happen.
I don’t either. Not really. On paper we’ve been better than most but that rarely seems to matter.
Why is that?
I think Arsenal have been built front to back ever since George Graham. I don’t think we’ve valued the thought that you can score three and lose but if you concede none you’ll never lose.
It’s an interesting way to look at football. I’m not thinking or saying that we need to become a reactionary team. It’s just been evident that we haven’t been as serious about building from the back as from the front. Perhaps the romance that Wenger brought to the club was the biggest part of this issue as signing Van Dijk from Celtic wasn’t anywhere near as exciting as Lacazette from Lyon.
This was clearly seen when we signed Aubameyang. We spent over £100M on two players in the same position when we desperately needed defensive AND midfield improvements. Lacazette should not have been signed. That £50M could’ve changed Arsenal if it was spent where it should.
We finished top of the league this season in points given away from leading positions.
Point made, right?
If Arteta’s quotes can be followed through I’m believing that Arsenal will become a very different team. If we as fans feel like we can’t trust our team then the coach has to feel it too. My feeling that this will change goes beyond words though. When Arteta came in our biggest issue was conceding floods of opportunities. Finally, after over 20 years a coach prioritized teaching defensive solidity over attacking.
He now needs the club to buy solid, consistent, defensive minded players to match his desire to build from the back. He needs to be allowed to modernize the midfield so we aren’t trusting players like Dani Ceballos to be our defensive rock when he’s a technical ball retainer.
I often wish we didn’t sign players but traits. If I was the decision maker this is how I’d recruit though.
I’d put the traits on paper first then worry about the players later.
I’d put creativity, goals, assists, athletes and solidity on the paper but above those words I’d put the word ‘TRUST’ as an umbrella over them all.
Which player can I trust to create and not hide?
Which players can I trust to add goals and assists?
Which athletes run the midfield the most regularly?
Which defenders are the most solid/consistent/reliable?
I know I’ll never sit on the couch with my son pre-game and know 100% that we will win. That’s one of the reasons that football is my main passion. I love the unpredictability.
I would however like to know that the players on the field are trustworthy. That they won’t tease me with excellence one week and be wet paper the next.
I watched this game against Watford and felt two things afterwards. I felt like I’d just watched another slow moving car crash that I was trying to avoid. I also felt relieved that we’d beaten the team that came 19th, at home.
I don’t think my Arsenal life should be like this.
Arsenal need to sign Trust.
* The efficiency in front of goal was better. If we’d have played better elsewhere I feel we could’ve scored a basketful as they seemed in the mood.
* I was encouraged by Pepe wondering across the field to create. I’ve felt for a while that he can be the link.
* I felt sorry for Dani Ceballos. He seems to be trustworthy in every game. I think this stems from his genuine love for the game. He did his part but he needs a target to find.
* We won as Watford are poor in front of goal and because Emi Martinez was brilliant yet again.
* I was excited to see AMN at right back. I think he needs to play there in the Final as he has proven he can nullify players like Pulisic.
* Nelson finally started to believe in himself. So much talent but he has to stop being submissive.
* Amidst David Luiz’s bizarre defensive performance it’s also fair to notice his three brilliant first half passes.
* As the long throw returns it is good to see that we have this option too.
* There are 3 types of winger.
One who waits for the defender to bite (Pepe), one who is proactive and doesn’t wait (Pulisic) and one that can do both (Zaha).
We need Pepe to become the third model as one of his biggest issues is drawing a crowd. He draws a crowd as the full back knows that if he doesn’t bite, help is coming.
* Rob Holding may well need another heroic Cup Final performance to stay at Arsenal. I’d be ok with him as a squad player but offers of £15-25M for the over priced English player market will seriously tempt Arsenal.
Holding embodied our performance against Watford.
Some great headers and blocks and some ridiculous moments in possession and in position.
* That was probably Lucas Torreira’s last game.
He seems a half second late to everything.
An offer of £25M+ will be accepted I’m sure.
* Where was Saka? Not the first time he’s been ignored completely.
I’m hoping he is being kept fresh.
I’d play him at LWB in the Final with Tierney switching to LCB.
* Huge decisions upcoming.
Firstly, finals are great but often swing the emotions of a player if they aren’t selected.
I think the only controversial decisions are AMN or Bellerin and Pepe or Nelson. I can see Bellerin being devastated if not chosen and Pepe being hugely upset if Nelson is chosen. I think Pepe starts but I wouldn’t start Bellerin.
* Have you wondered if Chelsea will come in for Leno or Martinez?
Can Arsenal afford to keep both when they’d arguably be able to buy a huge player if we sold one.
Massive decision. I’m sure all Arsenal fans want to keep both but not sure we are in a position to do this. I wonder whether Areola is going to Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs?
* If Zaha is an option again then can we give them Holding plus ££? Would they take ElNeny?
Both of them plus Willock on loan in a straight swap?
Will they ask for Nelson, AMN, ESR or most likely Nketiah (as they need a CF)?
Zaha causes huge problems for defenders but doesn’t have the goals and assists to make him trustworthy. Is this simply because he plays for Palace? If we had Zaha/Auba/Pepe then they couldn’t double/triple team Zaha as the others would flourish. It’s different when they have to worry about Aubameyang vs Ayew.
* So, Barcelona have apparently offered a swap for Guendouzi with either Coutinho plus €45M or Rakitic and Vidal.
If you make a list of what you want in a creative player, Coutinho does tick most of the boxes. The fee and wage are obvious issues.
Rakitic is slated by Barcelona fans. He gives the ball away too often and plays too slowly. It’s important to understand though that their standards are higher than any other fanbase in football as they’ve been spoilt with arguably the worlds best ever midfield three in Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta.
Vidal is ideal. He is still offering goals from midfield. Can play in any midfield position. Has huge experience. The most exciting part for me would be how Arsenal would be perceived. He is Vieira levels of no nonsense. Arsenal are still considered a soft touch and rightly so. He’d change that.
I also think that he is the kind of winner that makes other winners want to come AND stay.
I’d imagine that Aubameyang would love to know that a guy as serious as Vidal was coming.
Age is an issue, I know. I think the goals and athleticism make it worthwhile however.
I’d take Vidal plus £30M for Guendouzi and Coutinho on loan.
Swap deals are coming but clubs have to be wary of agreeing to them if the players they are getting are not interested in the deal therefore unmotivated.
Regardless of what happens next weekend I’m excited by this transfer window.
I believe that our club will back our coach and that our coach will start the transformation that we’ve been wanting for a very long time.
If you’ve enjoyed reading my work can I encourage you to consider listening to it also?
Sent from my iPhone