All is quiet this morning in the world of Arsenal. Friday’s often are if we have not played on the Thursday.
We had the pre-game conferences yesterday and the game against Huddersfield tomorrow. Friday is the very average meat in the sandwich.
Unai Emery spoke yesterday about a lose of confidence in recent weeks amongst the team.
“We started very well away, changing our mentality, but now we need to recover this confidence, to recover this performance and the next opportunity is Saturday against Huddersfield.”
Momentum is such an important factor in sport.
We saw that at Liverpool who looked to go 7 points clear of Manchester City in second before slipping up against Leicester City. This led to further dropped points against West Ham. 2 draws in a row, a drop in momentum and suddenly Manchester City are top.
It will be interesting to see if the confidence that was brimming at Liverpool, and driving them towards the title reverses and they continue to wobble.
You can also see the confidence ebb away in the England cricket team over in the West Indies.
Prior to the first test, most were expecting a 3-0 white wash. 77 all out in their first innings led to an 381 run defeat and then a 10 wicket defeat in the 2nd innings.
The 3rd best test team in the world are on the verge of being white washed against the 8th best team, this after they beat Sri Lanka 3-0 at the back end of last year.
The momentum has gone, and England players look completely bereft of confidence.
During the 22-game unbeaten run, the momentum was with Arsenal. We were winning games we perhaps should not have done. We had the confidence that even when not winning at half time, we would come back and win the game. As Emery states, we need to recover that confidence and put together a run to drive us into 4th for the end of the season.
A few people have got arrogant over tomorrows games, calling is an “easy 3 points”.
Huddersfield at bottom of the league with just 11 points. Arsenal should win the game, but a victory should never be taken for granted. Unai Emery is certainly not seeing it as an easy 3 points.
“These matches are difficult and they are playing for the possibility to continue in the Premier League.
“Their last results have not been good but with their new coach [Jan Siewert], I am sure that they are going to play with a big ambition and a big performance on Saturday.
“I think they have good players with a good organisation. They push a lot and I know it will be difficult. For us as well, away games have been a challenge and each match is a new challenge.”
Arsenal’s away form is much improved this season.
Last year we looked fearful when playing away. Zero confidence. Zero momentum. We just kept losing. Whilst it has improved this season, we are certainly not in a position to think that 3 points away from home will be easy.
4 wins away from is the same as we achieved in the whole of last season, and we currently have just 1 point less than we did from the 19 away games last season (16). However this is still not good enough.
We have the 9th best away form yet the 3rd best home form. It is clearly holding us back. Based on home form, we are just 4 points behind Manchester City, level with Liverpool. The poor away form puts us out of the title race – just like last season when we had the 2nd best home form.
“Maybe both,” Emery replied when asked if poor away form was due to tactical or mental reasons.
“It can be… at the end, the reason we didn’t take the same balance as we have shown at home.
“I spoke with the players [and told them] we need to think this match is very important for us and every player needs to be ready, be focused and be thinking we need to win this match.
“Imposing ourselves from the first minute, and throughout the 90 minutes, our capacity against them – but first is the mentality.
“For us, tactically, is the second issue. The first is to think we need to win and after it’s how we can win this match – (in terms of) preparing tactically and individually.”
If Arsenal are to make the top 4, I would imagine we need to win at least 4 of our last 7 away games starting with Huddersfield tomorrow.
Plenty of transfer speculation floating about today as well – usually the case on a slow news day.
A deal for Adrien Rabiot has been mentioned again.
He had supposedly agreed a deal to join Barcelona on a free transfer, but they have since spent big on Frankie De Jong. He would be a very good accusation for Arsenal, reinforcing the midfield and giving the club 4 fantastic options in the 3 man midfield (alongside Lucas Torriera, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi).
Christopher Nkunku is another mentioned again. It would not be a surprise if that deal is done in the summer. He would then make it 5 options for 3 spots, and would probably be the end of Mohamed Elneny.
It has also been reported today that “Arsenal lead the race for Alex Grimaldo“, a left back at Benfica.
I know nothing about him, and I imagine he will be one of about 100 left backs we will be linked to over the next 6 months.
Good afternoon Arsenal fans.
My first blog in over a week following a nice break in Antigua. The cricket was awful but the weather was brilliant.
In my absence I see Gav has been writing a few blogs. He really needs to write more – and I do keep telling him that. His excuse is the shop and his kids keep him busy. He does spend a lot of time coming up with new ideas, like the fantastic Arsenal pop sockets he has just realised, but lack of time is just an excuse. He has a top view on football and very different to mine. We balance each other out.
Plenty has happened since I have been off.
After the goal Liverpool scored against West Ham, there is certainly a feeling that the higher up the league you are, the more favourable decisions you get. Leicester City got many favourable decisions in the run in to their title. Do referees begin to buy into the story of Champions too much favouring the teams at the top? Perhaps.
We signed Denis Suarez on loan with an option to buy.
It was a bit of a transfer saga. Arsenal wanted a loan with option to buy Barcelona wanted a loan with an obligation to buy.
The Spanish sides worry was that with just 18 months left on his contract, if Arsenal did not sign the midfielder his value would dramatically drop. To get the deal through, Saurez signed a year extension and the loan with an option to buy happened.
I know little about him, but he is played under Unai Emery before and Raul Sanllehi has signed him twice for Barcelona. I back their view over someone on Twitter who builds his view on players mainly based on FIFA and YouTube videos.
Whilst I was off, Tottenham passed through 4,000 days without a trophy.
Mauricio Pochettino kept up his mantra of not needing to win trophies, saying that they only exist to boost a managers ego. How deluded is he?
Many Arsenal fans used to say “If Arsene Wenger went to Real Madrid and failed like he did at Arsenal (8 years with no trophy) he would be sacked within 2 years. Pochettino is in the same boat. Still trophyless after 10 years of managing.
He might be a media favourite, but ultimately he will judged on what he wins.
Finally I saw some people getting on Unai Emery’s back, with some even calling for his head. They really need to wind it in.
A lot of people have since jumped on the below (with the media companies “tarting” it up a bit).
Emery is a very good manager with a track record of success and winning trophies (unlike another manager in North London). I feel that some fans had too high expectations. They thought that by Arsene Wenger leaving, we would go from 5th placed in the league to title contenders.
The reality is that it has taken Jurgen Klopp 3 seasons (and 6 transfer windows) to turn Liverpool into a title contender. Prior to this season, they finished 8th, 4th & 4th under him.
Some seem to be criticising Emery for the attention. Others due to their love of Wenger. And some because he was not their preferred target when he joined.
It just feels like a lot of our fans like moaning and enjoy arguing on Twitter. They position their view to create an argument for attention.
The final thing that happened just as I flew out was the racism towards Alex Iwobi.
The Tweet by some Indian “actress” who is more famous for getting her rack out on Instagram (from what I what I have been told) was horrendous and certainly not a reflection on all Arsenal fans.
Sadly some countries are no as evolved as Britain. We live in a diverse, multi cultural society. Whilst racism still exists, it is no where near as big a problem as it was in the 1970s. Some countries still hugely discriminate against people of different backgrounds – whether that be race, sexuality or gender. It is worrying how many of these countries have legislation making this discrimination legal.
There are many countries where you may not hold public office if you are from a certain ethnic group, or where homosexuality is illegal or you are not allowed to follow certain religions.
With the rise of social media, the world has gotten smaller. What then happens is everyone from every country is held to the same level of accountability as they would be in England, even if the words or discrimination they used online is perfectly legal in their country.
It is right that all incidents of racial abuse is highlighted and acted upon accordingly, but it should also be remembered that the actions of someone in India, Russia or Finland (considered the “most racist” country in the EU – the UK is second least racist behind Malta). Views of these fans should more reflect badly on the country they live in, where racism is still a huge problem, rather than reflect badly on Arsenal who have a brilliant history of tackling racism and self policing.
I hope one day the rest of the world catches up with the United Kingdom when it comes to both legislation and individuals views.
Yes, racism still exists in the United Kingdom, and one incident is one too many, but citizens of this great nation can be proud that we are world leaders when it comes to anti-discrimination legislation.
The UK has never implemented any laws that discriminate or segregate on the grounds of race or ethnicity. Furthermore, it has never been an offence for persons of different ethnicities to marry one another. It has never been the case that a British citizen has been denied the vote on the basis of his or her race or ethnicity. Racial segregation and discrimination were never mandated or sanctioned by law in the United Kingdom.
Whilst some might say “these are things to celebrate, they should be the norm” sadly in the majority of countries in the world, its citizens to not share the same freedoms as in the United Kingdom.
So next time someone racially abuses Alex Iwobi, or anyone else, it should be highlighted, and remembered that their view is not a reflection on Arsenal fans but a reflection on themselves.
Huddersfield away this weekend.
Up the Arsenal.