I can’t stand Jose Mourinho, but I can’t be biased. If it had been him who complained this week about us playing at home on the same day, they had an away fixture, I’d accuse him of moaning and making excuses.
That’s what our manager has been doing with Spurs playing at the Lane on Thursday while we were travelling back from Greece on Friday.
Both London clubs were due to be away for their first legs as reward for winning their groups.
Yet UEFA have a rule where they don’t like two clubs from the same city both hosting ties on the same day so ordered Tottenham and Zagreb to reverse their original dates. I’m let down that our manager has gone down the route of arguing that Spurs have an unfair advantage based on who was home or away.
I have often wrote to be a big club you need to act like a big club. We shouldn’t be crying over who has to travel, who played what time, etc.
On his first day at work, Arteta spoke about the standards of the club and how he wouldn’t tolerate anyone who didn’t want to adhere to those expectations. Well at Arsenal the expectation is to compete at the highest level. History shows that requires playing every 3 or 4 days. That’s what your Barcelona’s, Real Madrid’s, Bayern Munich’s, etc do.
Messi and Ronaldo are the best talents in my life time and never needed a schedule of only playing once a week. There are players who have that kind of calendar most months, but you tend to find they are the ones who are not successful.
The sad reality is unless we win the Europa League, fixture congestion won’t be an issue next year because for the first time in two decade we won’t have any European Football to worry about.
I would hope that, instead of a dressing room feeling they have an unfair disadvantage on Sunday, that every single player is demanding they play in the NLD as well as the two Olympiakos games. If instead they prefer rest, then they don’t have the attitude needed to be at a club our size.
This is a group who are on course to better last campaigns worse League position in 25 years. They have been defeated 11 times in the Prem with the likes of Burnley, Wolves and Villa comfortably getting three points at the Emirates.
The bare minimum is that they should want to make it up to gooners by beating our rivals, they should have pride in the shirt and be hurting to see how far we have fallen.
I’m amazed, having been taught by Pep Guardiola, that Arteta would try and wrap talent up in a comfort blanket instead of reminding them they have fallen way short of any expectations.
When Aubameyang extended his contract he said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Ian Wright, Adams, Bergkamp, Henry, etc and leave his own legacy. All of those legends won Domestic Doubles which proves that doing well in multiple competitions does not cost you success.
When the likes of Henry and Vieira were returning from Champions League outings I never once recalled them talking about what Spurs were doing. Back in those days, for the majority of time Spurs didn’t participate in Europe so would have a whole week to prefer for a Derby. I never remembered anyone suggesting Spurs would have an advantage because they had more rest while we were travelling.
Nor did they have any advantage.
You want to know how many Derbies Henry lost? 0
For how many of them would he have had a whole week of preparation?
Arteta has shown weakness by paying Spurs too much respect.
Don’t worry what their week looks like, convince your players that if they do what they are good at they can win.
Remember for all the talk of a shift in power, Spurs have only won at the Emirates in the Prem ONCE, a stadium that’s been opened since 2006. That was under Harry Redknapp’s tenure (2010). So even in the famous Pochettino years they never won at our ground in the Prem.
Yet by referencing such a small detail (we travelled/they didn’t) you are giving them way too much credit. We are Arsenal, we don’t need advantages to beat Spurs.
To be a big club, you think like a big club….