Can we topple Spurs? And a massive summer is coming up. by Konstantin Mitov
One round of the premier league is left and it will determine our final league position. The best we can finish is 7th, if results go our way. Spurs go to Leicester and Everton go to City. Being an Arsenal fan I always want to finish above Tottenham.
Even if it comes at the price of the “Conference league”. A competition less exciting even than the “Super League” we tried to join. I believe missing out entirely on Europe could actually benefit us, because too often we neglected the league games, because of the backdoor ticket to CL that the EL offers.
If we look at the two games against Burnley, those are 5 points we threw away, that could have moved us up 3 places. We took nothing from games against Villa and Everton, not amazing teams with all my respect. Without using a cup competition as an excuse, we might actually try to cut the gap in the league table, which doesn’t lie. Our season has been entirely poor and there are no excuses for that.
Trying to look on some positives, we’ve won 4 games in a row in the league, for the first time under Arteta. We won at a difficult place like Palace, even with fans returning and ruined Roy’s final home game in charge. We’ve been something like 2nd or 3rd in the league since Christmas (last 23 games).
I’ve been extremely critical of Arteta and I believe fairly so, but I do have some sympathy with him in terms of the limitations of this squad. We wanted to keep Luiz, because he’s a player that can move the ball from the back and pick out a 50 yard pass as well to release us quickly.
Now that we know he’s going, the question is whether Saliba will be given a chance, or we’ll go shopping? Where Arteta really disappoints me is the amount of support he’s given the likes of Luiz, when it’s obvious they are at best stop-gap players that won’t take us much forward. Even if it works for one season, at 33 and 34, you’ll be looking to buy next summer again, to try and scrap a top 4 spot again.
Why is Mikel lauding the “talent” of Willian? We have a talent called Martinelli, who saved his blushes again on Wednesday, yet he’s been struggling for minutes. We tried the shortcut to success with “experienced” players and it hasn’t worked. It’s time to change the old guard with the new.
A lot of “big name” players will depart following Luiz. Bellerin is likely leaving, Willian will hopefully leave and rumours are Xhaka wants out. It will be incredible if we move them on. Our midfield needs massive reinforcements. I’m no longer sure 1 CM will be enough, or we need to look at 2, as hopefully Ceballos will return to Spain and stay there.
A cover for Tierney in LB, a new RB and a ball playing CB and 2 CMs is already a big ask, but up front I expect a new striker as well. I think we have a problem of ‘square pegs, round holes’ as Aubameyang just doesn’t really work at number 9, and that contract we gave him will come back to haunt us.
Lacazette showed more chemistry with the youngsters behind him, but he’s often in the shadows, because Auba is captain and we again gave him that contract, that we are desperately trying to prove it was worth it.
Honestly I’m still guessing what kind of football Arteta wants us to play, but if I take a guess that we want a 4-2-3-1, we should sell Auba if we can and find a young and more dynamic striker that can link up the play, make runs in the box and be a clinical finisher. It’s a difficult and expensive task.
That’s why I don’t trust Arteta and Edu, even though they say they have a clear plan for the summer. They signed Willian, they gave Auba a ridiculous deal, they sold Martinez and they signed Cedric. We are trying to play around an idea to be like City, which we cannot be, unless we spend money like them for multiple windows in a row.
We should instead try to build a squad around players like Saka, ESR and Martinelli, that have carried the squad, and we have the potential to be a squad that can carry us on for 5 years and more. They also have potential to be 80 million players that can bring revenue in the future which can be used to be self-sustainable and help improve the squad.
We have no choice but to wait and see. Hopefully on Sunday, Leicester will do us a favour and it will be a sign of a great summer to come, because we need to be brave and we need a massive, massive summer. Another season of mid-table strolling, won’t cut it and hopefully the pressure will force the board and Arteta to make some better decisions.