Arsenal do have a rather reactionary fanbase, don’t we? by Dan Smith
We are quick to point out that an Ozil, Mustafi, Xakha or Lacazette are not good enough, but just as quick to go overboard with praise after a couple of decent performances.
You would think, in a season where we have been closer to a relegation fight then a top 4 finish up ‘til now, we might be humble enough to hold our hands up, write off the campaign, and allow others to get the plaudits. Yet, despite being 9th, we still have the temerity to expect credit.
For example, no; Leno is not one of the best three keepers in the Premiership; Torreira is not a world class DM; and no, we do not possess one of the best strike forces in the country. If all that was true, our League position would not equate to 9th..
The latest debate around the Emirates is which nation should Saka choose to represent, having represented England in the underage groups? This chat is growing with Euro 2020 around the corner and some thinking our youngster deserves a call up.
The 18 year-old recently contributed to three assists in consecutive matches, but you can’t just pick out the statistics which suit you. Of his 9 assists, 6 have come in the cup competitions. While you can’t ignore his current impact, can you also turn a blind eye that in his 10 League games at left back (that’s where people are saying he should play for the Three Lions) we have only won three. Including his starts further forward, he’s only been on the winning side 5 out of 17 attempts.
Please don’t mistake this for criticism. He could be a top player for us, indeed has had a reputation at our academy for years now as being one to watch. I just want to protect him from too much pressure and let him develop naturally. It’s disrespectful to full-backs who have performed at the highest level for years in big games and moments to say they should miss out on a European championship based on 3 assists (0 goals) in 17 Premiership outings.
Gareth Southgate chooses not to start Alexander Arnold (my player of the year) so he’s not a coach who judges his full backs on their attacking ability. And remember, the long-term plan is for Saka not to be a wingback.
Arteta has been quick to stress he is view that Saka and Maitland-Niles are playing out of position in defence. He’d rather have a centre back at right back and it will only be a matter of time before the kid is in attack. It’s not just that I don’t think he’s ready for the Three Lions, selfishly I want him nowhere near the set up. In the long term it won’t help Arsenal or him.
Our press goes so over the top in the UK, he’s an assist away against a Czech Republic or Croatia in the Euros from every last detail being scrutinised. Suddenly he comes back in the pre-season and the world cares about where he lives, his relationships, his background, how he dresses, etc. He will have sponsors whispering in his ears promising him the world. He could find himself as the face of brands he doesn’t know exists at the moment.
And of course, he’ll have agents demanding he get paid way too much too soon and bang!…. He’s suddenly at Man City!
I feel Arteta is the type to make sure the teenager is being protected off the pitch and has the right network around him, and I could see him stepping in if that’s not the case.
Please don’t read this as anything else then wanting the best for Saka. The fact is though he’s only 18, no need to rush. Let him have a summer break on holiday. Let his body fill out and let him become the player we all hope he can become…
Be kind in the comments