Arsenal fans must not get carried away again after just three wins

Don’t Get Carried Away ……Again! by Dan Smith

So as I wrote before Christmas, Arsenal just needed that one win to kickstart their confidence. In what could turn out to be a crucial moment in Mikel Arteta’s managerial career, he decided to give up on the senior players who had been letting him down and put his faith in youth.

Saka has been in the first team for a year now, but the bigger calls were the introductions of Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.

If the squad were doing better than 14th at the time, Martinelli may have not been rushed back. Meanwhile, Smith Rowe in the last week has started more Premiership games than he has since making his debut in the League Cup two years ago.

Injuries meant the midfielder had only been coming off the bench in the cup competitions so asking him to suddenly start on Boxing day was some call. He was simply being picked based on an impressive loan spell at Huddersfield and the fact that outside of Ozil, he’s the only obvious creative midfielder we have.

In our three last fixtures, Saka has scored twice and assisted one while Smith Rowe has recorded two assists.

We had reached a point where we had to cling to any momentum we could find and build off it.

martinelli

In 45 minutes against Man City, Martinelli showed leadership that his more experienced teammates had been lacking. When we talk about bravery, it’s not just about fighting. It’s about who has the personality to demand the ball? Who is not afraid to try and make something?

Why I’m harsh on a Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah has nothing to do with their quality on the ball, it’s that they have had enough chances to show they have the character to belong at this level.

In the space of 6 days a Smith Rowe and Martinelli have showed more self-belief than a Willock or Reiss Nelson in three years.

It’s ironic to me that the same fans who were predicting a title challenge in the summer were arguing with me in December when I suggested we were too good to go down. The fickleness within our fanbase worries me.

When we won the FA Cup last year some gooners were calling me negative for questioning claims of our manager being better then Arsene Wenger, and doubting our ability to win the Champions League within three years. Those same readers are then the first to talk about relegation. Of course the reality is somewhere in the middle.

Of course there are three teams worse than us in the League, yet we do not have enough ambition to be anything other than at best a top 4/6 side who might win the odd cup.

Those fans ruin football for me, they are too reactionary, take things too seriously and go way too deep. My fear is that they will now put too much pressure on the three youngsters I have written about. Two are teenagers, the other is 20, putting massive weight on young shoulders would be counter productive. if they are going to be the face of the ‘new Arsenal’ then they need time to develop and make mistakes. Expecting them to be the answer to all our problems won’t do anyone any favours.

It would also be music to Stan Kroenke’s ears. A month ago he was under pressure to spend serious money in January. Three wins later fans seem to be accepting having to offload talent just to raise funds. That’s the best our Billionaire Owner can manage when we are 11th after 17 games?

Would a Man United or Chelsea struggle to buy a player from the Championship like we are reportedly doing?

Don’t lose sight of these things based on three performances. Winning at two teams in the bottom 4 should be the expectation, the minimal requirement.

Stan Kroenke got away with doing the bare minimum in the summer because some fans got carried away by a few results.

Don’t let him get away with it this month…

Dan Smith

33 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Definitely, because there will be a match where we can’t score from open play. That’s when we need a plan B in the second half, which is a super sub who can score from set-pieces

  2. Highbury Hero says:

    Bless you Dan. I was waiting for this (though it has come much later than I expected). You were right first time around but three more consecutive wins and we are up there challenging. Considering the expected challengers are struggling as well this season I don’t think anything is out of reach yet.

    1. Dan Smith says:

      So we finished in our worst position in 25 years
      Make our worse start in prem era
      Are 11th , have lost 8 games but because we best Brighton and West Bromwich your thinking we can challenge ?

  3. Grandad says:

    How exactly do you think fans can influence our Owner Dan?

  4. Davi says:

    Agree with the article but not sure why you picked out the 3 young players for their character – don’t believe they particularly lack self belief. Nketiah in particular has a tremendous attitude and always goes for it fully, always shows tfor the ball. My issue with him is one of quality, particularly with his finishing, but it’s not for want of trying. It makes me feel apologetic whenever I criticise him because I can’t fault his attitude one bit.
    Never had an issue with Nelson or Willock from that perspective either, but of course there’s no comparison with Martinelli. He’s a born winner and a real rarity. It would make better sense to compare him with some of the older players who have hidden during our poor recent run. There’s plenty of people to talk about there.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Davi, you are right in that you cannot question the attitude of these young players, unlike some of the experienced so called “stars”.
      The issues at Arsenal, don’t rest solely with KS&E, but with the financial and player management by the Board and senior executives. Kroenke and son have been negligent in their selection of those entrusted with shepherding their Arsenal assets. So much money has been squandered on poor recruitment and contract management. Throwing good money after bad won’t stop the underlying problems, despite Dan Smith believing KS&E should just invest more.

  5. JL75 says:

    It is clear that it is too early to consider we have overturned the situation.
    Chelsea are in a bad run, WBA and Brighton were very poor…
    Arteta finally decided to select fighters (with a bit of luck for the timing of Martinelli’s return), but it doesn’t hide the numerous mistakes he made beforehand: loaning out promising young midfielders (Torreira, Guendouzi), sitcking with Xhaka despite his unability to control his nerves, selling our best keeper, rejecting Ozil with no other creativity option, benching Laca, “overtrusting” Nketiah and Willock, hiring a “toasted” Willian, leaving the armband to Auba,…
    He changed the mentality a bit, but his coaching mistakes and his incapacity to see what all fans do, is for me the sign of a coach who is learning while being in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world. He might become a great coach, but I still think we should remove him and give the role to a more experienced guy.

  6. RW1 says:

    Excellent piece … but probably too late as it’s already happened

  7. Fire says:

    Dan…

    It is really difficult for me to pass by any of your articles because of the sheer investment of thought and clarity of message that you often communicate to us. Thank you so much!

    I totally agree that we must not get carried away with the last three wins not only because of our recent streak of losses, but also because the entire EPL has demonstrated the highest level of unpredictability. It is even stranger that we are just six points off top four, when we were closer to relegation just three games ago.

    Nevertheless Dan, I do not totally agree that we should be weary about putting too much demand on these brilliant youngsters. I say so because already these selected youngsters are now carrying the club on their shoulders and they are doing so with a maturity beyond their age and time. Saka, Tierney, Martinelli, ESR, Balogun are a rare breed that we are lucky to have, and they will not be scathed by any demand we put on them, because they were born for such a moment as now. The quality, personality, and sheer hard work is glaring for all to see, and they belong to a breed that will strive on the demand already put on them. They seem to relish it and are clamouring for it, to be our saviour. In my opinion, we shouldn’t be bothered about burdens but instead let them ride the moment and soar, because these young bloods are destined for such a time as this! I say this because of the circumstances that have led to their birth at this period of our lowest point in our premiership history. It’s not a coincidence as many think, as many may say it was Covid that forced Arteta to birth them all at once. For me, I smile, and simply say “it is their time, let them shoulder the burden and demands, because it is meant for them.”

    While there are always many factors to be satisfied in order to become highly successful, nevertheless, two are with the highest weights, which are belief and hard work. And I am convinced these youngsters have both, and in great abundance!

    Once again, let us keep positivity alive, and give hope to an ailing world! Our world needs it more than ever!

    Remain blessed! Stay safe!

    Cheers!

    1. jon fox says:

      Dear Fire, Once again I am lost in admiration of your independent take on how things are. I so much agree and am minded of that famous Shakespeare line from Julius Caesar, “There is a tide in the affairs of man. Which, taken at the flood, leads to fortune”.

      That “tide” is the young players you list and some others coming through. They must have their head and on that fresh tide will come a wind which will blow away all the lethargy and unwillingness of the old laissez faire brigade and drown them, as they feebly try to deny the surge of optimism that will sweep all before it, given its head. And it IS being given its thrilling head, even as we write.

      A little known “fact” from the 16th century was that old Shaky, the Bard himself – in beween writing a few plays here and there – was a great football manager too and Stratford upon Avon Football Club won all the mediaeval honours going. Gadzooks and forsooth, no less!
      Does anyone know what became of old Will and is he still writing I wonder!

  8. jon fox says:

    What I most admire in DANS EXCELLENT ARTICLE- is his take on the fickle nature of SOME of our fanbase. Many of these pendulum swinging fans seem to be always in either agony or ecstasy and rarely somewhere between, where the actual truth generally lies!
    He astutely illustrates that truth in his usual detailed way and I agree that fan pressure is possibly the most harmful obstacle in the way of rapid development of our thrilling younger players.
    But I remain very hopeful about them and feel that these younger players, now being given their head, are our way out of the lethargy and laziness that started perhaps a full decade ago and which is still here but will soon be swept away by a new surge of determination, will to win and self belief, by our wonderful youngsters.

    Of course from time to time they will be rotated and rested but they are here to stay and the idle old guard who have held our club back for FAR too long are on their way out. Optimism reigns then but lets keep it restrained, eh?

    1. Fire says:

      Jon…

      Your words cannot be put any better! They are accurate and apt! Thank you so much for your usual kind compliments! Our world really needs a lot of such tonics to heal its wounds!

      Hope you are safe and healthy as well?

      My warmest regards!

      Cheers!

  9. All Gunz Blazin' says:

    @Dan,
    Please, I would like an explanation on the last part of your article:

    Are you suggesting that Stan Kroenke hasn’t spent enough, despite the transfers of Pepe(72m), Partey(45m), Tierney (25m) et al….and huge salaries for Auba(350k),Ozil(350k), William(220k) et al…..?

    I only asked because my own view is that it isn’t about Kroenke spending but it should be about spending “the right amount for the right things”. For example, we hired a coach for “set-pieces” and our set pieces are even worse than they were before we hired the said coach(which makes it feel like a waste of money to me)….

    We’ve managed to “stockpile” our defence with 6-7 CBs, which begs the question: how many are good enough for our team? Why spend that amount on CBs that are not worth the jerseys they put on?

    Why place a 350k player on sabbatical? That’s like 3 good players salaries…..

    I can go on but I hope you get what I’m saying ….

    Let’s start spending for the right reasons.

    1. Dan says:

      If you look since he became majority share holder he could have done more
      We finished 8th so what did he do to close the gap ? Brought Gabriel ( with the Martinez money) and then spent 4 5 million on Partey , that enough from a billionaire ?
      Year before we needed a defender , best he could do is swap Luiz for Koscielney
      didnt we save wages by letting Ramsey , Welbeck , Wilshire , Mykk leave for free
      Talk about Ozil’s wage , hes tried every underhand trick to get that wage back
      When Ozil leaves , I love to see if that money goes on anyone else

  10. AndersS says:

    A good article with many good points.
    But the usual dig at the owner for not spending is not going to get right by being repeated. It is still a false accusation, and it diverts focus from where the problems come from.
    Arsenal are really only surpassed by Man U and Man C in spending. Not only over the latest 2-3 seasons but also the preceding 5-6 seasons.
    We are also big spenders on salaries.
    The problem is, other clubs like Liverpool and Spurs have been much better at developing players and teams, and that is why they are ahead of us. Not because they have owners that spend. In fact, just the opposite.
    Focus need to be on how we can really improve and not the spending by our owner.
    But I believe you are on to something when questioning the character of some players. Because that has been a weak spot for God knows how many years.

    1. Aaron says:

      staN the man has not spent 1 cent of his own money and Arsenal are at the bottom of the list of 20 clubs.
      “But Arsenal’s business model means that, unlike the rest of the Prem, their spending was entirely funded from self-generated revenues – through television, sponsorship and marketing income, plus prize money.”

      NOT one cent from the Billionaire.

      1. AndersS says:

        How many clubs have owners that spend their own money??
        As far as I know, not many of the ones we are competing against – maybe 2?
        Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, because the fact is, we have spent/invested much more than alomst all clubs for many years, so tha tisn’t where we are lacking.

    2. Dan Smith says:

      Well let’s see what our owner does this month ?

      1. AndersS says:

        Our spending on transfers for wrong players and wages has also resulted in us having a larger squad than almost any team, and the sad thing is, many players we can’t use, but nobody else wants them. Either because the players aren’t worth the transfer or they can’t get the same salary, as Arsenal are paying.
        So, we really need to offload players, whenever possible, and not to accumulate more.

        1. dan Smith says:

          like I said , lets see what our owner does this month?

  11. Phenom says:

    OT. Considering the current slump of top teams, is the top 4 still achievable?

    Those who think we can’t make it (@Jon), do u still stand by your words?

    1. Dan Smith says:

      Arrogant to suggest top 4

  12. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Now that Arsenal are looking to have found out they all along have a top quality midfielder gem in ESR in their 25 after playing him in 3 consecutive PL games.
    But who all along has been in their backyard unminded.

    What is now left for Mesut Ozil to be doing at the club? Will he still be stubborn to refuse leaving Arsenal this winter window as he did last summer despite that the club’s hierarchy bosses want him out on transfer then?

    I believe Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and club’s technical director Edu, would by now have told him his fate in the team as they did last summer. Does Ozil still have a six-month playing career grace to go at Arsenal? NO! I doubt if Arteta and Edu will accord him this courtesy.

    And as Arsenal recent resurgence in the PL is looking to have been spearheaded by 4 Arsenal top quality young players of: Tierney, ESR, Saka and Martinelli, would Arteta gives the latter trio more chance in the PL to continue to showcase their massive prowess that is in them for Arsenal? Who should in my own thinking bring In Balogun into their fold to join the quartet to increase their numbers to 5 young Arsenal massive prowess in the first team?

    As necessary necessity at Arsenal that should be carried out at the club this winter window, the club have therefore are embarking on a clear out exercise of some Gunners who they feel they won’t be needing their services at the club anymore.

    But why should the club owner Stan Kroenke be apportioned any blames for Arsenal doing this winter window offloading before they will allow in any incoming this window if they have to? I think this is normal. For, if it becomes necessary to first sell before buying to avoid been stocked with their unsold players who they want out, what is wrong with Arsenal doing that?

  13. Gun Smoke says:

    Dan
    The discovery of the three wise kids, we need a cover for ESR though, we must manage the three wise kids wisely and ESR in particular, remember he has a history of recent injuries so he should be rest properly,

    ESR seems to play with lots of energy, we must bring in an attacking midfielder be it until summer not just to cover but also who he can learned from,
    We should loan out both Wilork and Eddie
    Regards

  14. Will says:

    This is the exact time to get carried away. We’re winning the league and Saka is winning the Balon d’or and you can’t tell me otherwise 🤩🤩🤩

  15. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Talking about too early for us Gooners getting carried away to start thinking Arsenal have finally turnaround the slum in form they’ve suffered in the PL which saw the club dropped to 14th in the table at a point in the season, but are now winning.

    However, I don’t think us are that getting carried away as such by the recent resurgence in form by Arsenal that saw them winning 3 PL matches in a row.

    But rather, I think us are getting carried along by Arsenal as they are now winning PL games again. And us will be enjoying it while the winning last. And I think it’ll last till only God knows when it’ll temporarily stopped that will see the Gunners play to a draw game but certainly not play to a defeat till this season’s campaign end. For, Arsenal will continue in their current winning reign to not only beat Newcastle in the FA Cup but will also beat them in the PL as well all at the Ems which will see us continuing getting carried along by Arsenal in a winning run.

  16. Joe. S says:

    Although it’s great to win while seeing our club retain its mojo by playing some good football again, I don’t think anyone is getting carried away. Are you guys? Neither is the manager, I’m certain. However there is a very good team amongst that lot waiting to be molded, so I hope the next two transfer windows will see a parting of some of the excess parts and the introduction of some hungry young talented players.

  17. ozziegunner says:

    One win at a time. Being a football supporter means fluctuating emotions, between agony and estacy!

  18. Sid says:

    I was missing you Mr. Dan, lol. This time was perfect for one of your impact articles. While I do disagree with some points, mainly that the owner xan only do right by spending money on transfers, and kind of low key generalisation of overly positive fans like me and Mr. HH with people who changed their tunes to preparing for relegation 😂😂, I agree with your article that we as fans should not be so fickle.

    1. Sid says:

      Ohh and Happy New Year to you and your family😁😁

    2. Dan says:

      thanks Sid
      was away with family at xmas so took a week away

  19. The Art of Teta says:

    Good article Dan. We are in a rebuilding phase and should be realistic in our expectations. Having said that, I can’t help but “feel” we are on the way up for the first time in years. We have a manager I believe in, despite his lack of experience. But remember experience in football is overrated. We have some promising players and we still have a dedicated fan base.

    The only thing I am unsure of is how much blame Kroenke should get. I know he seems to be a popular scape goat and it is true that ultimately he is the final responsible person as a result of being the outright owner.

    But only a biased person, in my humble opinion, would overlook the fact that this owner has been badly misguided by the likes of Wenger, Gazidas, Raul and all the other people brought in for the football their experience.

    Is there anyone who thinks Kroenke got involved with choosing the players we bought? Xhaka?, Mustafi? Ozil contract? Pepe? Saliba? Selling Gnardy? Willian? Laca and Auba? All these players have led the owner and the fans down at one point or another. Only Auba in my opinion delivered when it mattered last season, but strangely goes of the boil this season. Has Harry Kane gone of the boil?

    We have spent good money on average players. For a club that has a self-sustaining financial model we have invested decent amounts of funds in players who have not delivered. At our level you can not afford that. In my opinion that is not Kroenke’s fault. Was not Kante available when we decided on Xhaka? I think our wage bill is in the top 4 (or was). Yet our PL finishes have not been in the top 4.

    Some of the blame for not having gotten bang for our buck has to go to the person(s) who decided to buy Saliba and loan him back for one season when we were in desperate need for a CB that could help immediately. Some of the blame has to go to who ever thought Pepe would be worth spending 70 million. Some of the blame needs to go on who ever decided Ozil was worth 350 per week. When we bought Mustafi we paid a big ticket for that period in time (same for Xhaka) yet he didn’t really deliver and neither did Xhaka.

    I am by no means saying Kroenke deserves no blame. He should have let go of Wenger much sooner IMO. He made a mistake gambling on Raul. He was weak in not giving Usmanov a seat on the board. Our current board and management team look weak to me with the exception of Arteta.

    But if half the players mentioned above would have performed in accordance with their price tag or salary, we would have been a lot better off and that is on the “football brains” that decided to spend our limited resources on these players and their contracts not on Kroenke.

    Even my much beloved Arteta has let Kroenke down with his gamble on Willian (and I hope I will be proven wrong on this).

  20. Stewart Macintosh says:

    Fully agree but it sure is nice to win three games and look better. Lots to do for sure but this is really encouraging.

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