Everyone in the world is talking about the Super League debacle, but while the dust settles I would rather talk about the brilliant display over in Prague last Thursday. Alex Lacazette set the scene before the kick-off by staring down the Slavia players while taking the knee and the players looked fired up for the game. I think the players would have been extremely motivated for the game regardless, but the meaning behind facing the opponents on the day just spurred them on further. The win was for more than just qualification to the next round and for that, not only Arsenal fans, but football fans all around the globe can be proud of the team and club as a whole.
Laca was certainly fired up as he yet again scored twice. Under Arteta I think he has been able to slowly adapt to what is required of a striker in this system. Aubameyang hasn’t been at his best, and as a senior player Lacazette has put some of the weight on his shoulders and rightly so. For me he has earned a new contract with his performances but that is not for me to decide. Both he and the whole team need to be more consistent in performances.
So Arsenal are now into a European semi-final, and will be meeting up with Unai Emery, but Arteta shouldn’t even be thinking of that fact. Regardless of who the coach of the other team is, the pressure is all the same as Arsenal boss. You are expected to win these games and Arteta will know that. His record at Arsenal may be worse than Emery’s, but I still don’t believe he has been able to implement his project properly yet and I will be more than happy to see him given time to do so.
Arsenal are 3 massive games away from achieving what they want this season. It will be a massive blow if they’re unable to do this and the players will have to look at themselves hard. I am of the belief they will achieve their goals however and I hope they are of the same belief. The quality is there on any given day.
If we play like we did in Prague we should waltz to the Final, but yet again we struggled at the weekend after a European game which is 100% the story of Arsenal’s season. As a player for Arsenal FC you play to win! If you don’t win then you make sure you’ve left everything on the field. The young players are displaying that hunger every game & the senior players need to be doing the same and more! Villarreal are definitely no pushovers, we have a massive tie on our hands and the players and manager should all grow in stature for this as this is what it means to represent the club. Playing and winning big games.
If we do manage to get past Villarreal, I don’t see any reason why Arsenal cannot beat anyone left in the final. They’ve beaten United already this season. For me they just need to focus on what’s next and deal with the final if and when they get there.
Even if we win the Europa, we still have to accept that 10th is not good enough for this club. I am sure Arteta is aware of this and will try and change this. The club need to back him in the market massively for Arsenal to catch up with the clubs ahead. A Cup win may just be papering over the cracks in the squad, but a European cup win would just be the start. You then add quality to the squad and don’t let up. The manager is there to glue them cracks together.
To get us back to challenging for the Top Four again, Arteta needs 100% to bring in a minimum of 4 players this summer. LB, RB, CM, LW. My picks would be Bertrand, Hakimi, Bissouma & Zaha but there are plenty players of quality out there. I am sure the club has done their homework on this and will be doing their best to improve the squad again in the summer.
We’ve also had the good news that Balogun is going to sign a new contract. He is a player I’ve watched in the academy on many occasions. He has great potential, and it is vital for the club that they’re keeping their best young talent.
Until the next time.