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  • A post-season assessment of Arteta - a good season not a great season

    Arteta has silenced all the critics, has he? Not exactly, he hasn’t silenced himself, Edu, Josh Kroenke, and many of the players and staff at the Arsenal. He has definitely silenced the fans, some of whom, unbelievably, were shouting Arteta out on social media when we hit a bad patch in the middle of the season. But if you listen to Arteta, Odegaard, Declan Rice and others you know they are not quite happy because they want better. Winning the league and the Champions League is the priority from now on.


    Fulham, not the Spuds, cost us the league

    One draw turned into a win would have made us champions, with Fulham early on an obvious culprit.  26th August 2023 will be burned into their minds. It emphasises that for every game they have to be ready to fight. The other draws were against established top sides. We had five losses and five draws with Fulham our big punishers. We lost five points against them. We could have been celebrating at the Emirates on the last day knowing City were confined to the dustbin. They, not the Spuds, cost us the league, although they also got a draw against us, but you do expect to drop some points to the top end of the table.

    Can he get his transfers right?

    Regular readers will know that I have also criticised Arteta throughout my time here but I have always supported him. I criticised his struggles with big names here and I will come back to that later but he has come through that test so far. I would be nervous if he got an Mbappe or a Neymar but he certainly handled the Declan Rice and Havertz situation really well. One plus for Arteta. But it must continue with our new signings due this summer.


    Kai Havertz scores again - Arteta got him right

    I also criticised his team falling apart for the last ten games here but he managed 25 points which is a respectable score and much better than his previous best. We had a lot of tough matches to negotiate and we got an excellent point from City away, but probably were a little vulnerable against Villa after defeat by Bayern. Two pluses for Arteta. Again it must continue, though. A manager is judged solely on their recent results.

    Is he able to rotate?

    He did achieve a remarkable level of consistency and succeeded in getting a record number of Arsenal wins and a score of points that would have won most Premier Leagues so far. He took on a resurgent Liverpool and Spurs who were both top of the league for a period, and a dynamic Aston Villa, but left them well behind.


    Arteta - losses and draws to be turned into wins

    However, there is a question mark here as we had few injuries and he didn’t rotate the squad much, and often only made changes late in games. Saka, in particular, took a lot of punishment. He did have Martinelli who seemed to suffer from lack of game time but he could have given Saka a rest and switched Martinelli as he did against Everton. He caused a lot of problems in that game. But we can make that a minus, I feel. Guardiola rotated like crazy and won the league. We may not be so lucky with injuries next year.

    Let’s look again at man-management

    Where Arteta has excelled from day one was his appeal to work with the fans, to create a strong atmosphere at games home and away. I was at Old Trafford and at times we out sang the Mancs. The fans have been great and Arteta deserves all praise for the way he includes the fans in everything. A big plus to Arteta.


    Getting the fans singing has been Arteta's great achievement

     So I am going to return to player management as I said I would but first a little backwards look to talk about Aubameyang, which was Arteta’s strongest test of player management.  Aubameyang obviously thought he was far more important than a rookie manager and Arteta struggled to deal with him, plus Ozil, Lacazette and Guendouzi also spring to mind.

    Aubameyang the arse

    But let’s take a look at Aubameyang as we still haven’t truly replaced him. Supposing he wasn’t such an arse but rather a serious professional, he could still be here. He went in February 2022 with 92 goals and there have been two more seasons since then. In those two and a half seasons if he scored 50 goals he would now have 142 goals for us, 3rd in the all time list and in front of Van Persie on 132. He would have had better players to provide assists and could have got even more making Ian Wright’s 179 a target.  Messi and Ronaldo are still playing so so could he, say for another 2 years for us. He is 34 years old, quite a bit younger than those two. Two more seasons from now and Wright could have been relegated to 3rd.


    That's an arsehole you see, Pierre

    I don’t think there is anyone who doubts Aubameyang’s ability, he was superb at his best. If we had the best him for the past 2 years we could have made up the small amounts of points needed and we could now be double champions. Take a look in the mirror, Pierre Emerick, and you will see an arse who deprived himself of two league titles, of chasing Ian Wright’s record, and of becoming an Arsenal legend. You will see an arse who is playing for a mediocre French team who only won 13 of their 34 league games.  And especially you will see an arse who, because of your huge ego, decided you would push a rookie manager rather than give your all as an ambitious professional. You lost and you are looking at a loser. Pity is that you made us all lose. None of us care about you now.

    We lose our young players?

    There is one area I am concerned about and that is the peripheral players, Possibly Martinelli, plus Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Nelson, Ramsdale, etc., and the young players bubbling through. To win, to me it seems that Arteta believes we need a strong, experienced squad. How can he keep all the players happy?  Young players don’t remain young forever. They need to play before they get old. I suggested here that up to 15 players could go and how will that affect the culture? Steve Round went after disagreeing with Arteta about this very point and specifically Ramsdale. Arteta has worked hard to create a culture of togetherness but unsatisfied young players not getting games will make them unhappy.


    Could Martinelli go? A disaster

    This is his challenge, one that he didn’t have so much this year. We will probably have 3 or more new players to keep happy as well. We hope that he has learned. That recruitment will take into account temperament and that we don’t sign an arse like Aubameyang. We are all hoping for an improvement in August but Arteta is facing another new challenge, one of expectation. Can he deliver? So far, he has always found a way. Long may that continue!

    Ramsdale vs Raya


    Ramsdale- should be number one?

    Ps. I have been reading a lot of statistics that say they prove that Raya is better than Ramsdale. How about these for the opposite? We came second last year 5 points behind City. And second again this year 2 points behind City. They had Haaland and De Bruyne out a bit this season. We had a team more mature by being a year older. We had Rice and Havertz, a big improvement. We had few injuries. Last year when Saliba went we lost points. So Ramsdale got us second with a weaker team. And points were easier to get this season as the bottom teams got very few.


    Raya - truly top class?

    There is one area where Ramsdale is clearly better and that is shot-stopping. He can pull off an amazing save. He is bigger and stronger than Raya which makes him harder to bully. He rises up the fans better than Raya which gives us a 12th player. And he is always smiling when he is playing. That makes me happier. He will probably go and it will be a mistake.  I reckon, despite the stats, Raya is just short of being a true top goalkeeper and I really hope we don’t find that out next year. I hope I am wrong.









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