September 19th – Arsenal 2 West Ham United 1

And he’s back. By popular demand. Welcome to the new world order. Welcome to the new season. A few weeks after the last one. Welcome to Artetas world. Arteta knows best. On F. A. Cup later; nearly a year removed from the accountant. Arsenal have a team. A style. And some points.

Though we weren’t as lucky as we were when we beat this lot 1-0 last season, we certainty should consider our selves fortunate. But 2 wins in two games. Not too shabby that. One Community Shield (which ranks even lower than the NoHoppa Cup) and the prized F. A. Cup.

So, its’ good-bye Emil. And please take Kolinsac with you on the way out please. How depressing to see him starting. Let’s hope Tesco-boy makes a rapid recovery. That it’s the same hip injury that he had at Celtic is worrying. We need him back. We can’t afford for him to be injury prone. We need for Kolinsac to return to the Bundesleague. Post his give-away against Sp*rs, I’d hope we’d seen the last of him. He is a disgrace, a disaster, a dumb, defensively demented dreadful defender. Let’s give him away. I’d pay to ship him. I’d buy his ticket (one-way, coach only – no luggage and no prebooked seat, preferably using the middle seat in the back-row right by the toilets with no inclining chair). So Kieran, please come back quickly. Before Oct 5th. We can’t get in the way of this transfer.

On the other side I’d snap off any hand that offered in excess of £25 for Hector. Sure we should give him time to receive from his ACL. He’s one of more interesting personalities with many thought out perspectives and opinions. But on the pitch I’m not sure he’ll ever develop that much more. With Holding playing behind him it’s not surprising that both last week and this week, our creative play happens down the left.

And Holding, another lovable player, does not seem like he has the pace to be part of our long term defensive needs. We need him this year. Just until the new French kid learns to tie his own shoe-laces and is allowed out at night (unaccompanied).

That just leaves our new Brazilian. Two games in and you have to think we’ve caught a good one. Assured and technical with just a touch of physicality, Gabriel could be part of our defense for many years. Dare I say he has a Koscielny like presence about him. He could be our own Van Gabriel. And he’s young. He is certainly no Sokratis nor the much missed Mustafa. This one is a keeper (well, a center-half actually).

Next week the real opposition turn up. We will have to revert to our F. A. Cup winning strategy. Everyone behind the ball, hunker-down and wait for the counter-attack. And by then, hopefully, we’d have consigned Kolinsac to the road-side pickup. TO be placed is some smelly, dumpster.

I’m also wondering whether Pepe might be headed in the same direction. Willian was not as involved today – it’s hard when you’re playing in front of Hector. But he’s still superior to Pepe. Even when he came on for 15 minutes, he still failed to get past WHU full-backs. He still looks all flair and no substance. A luxury player who will score third goal in a 3-0 victory but never the goal to turn a loss into a draw or a draw into a win. Unlike young Eddie. Hard working and purely opportunistic. Less gifted but more effective. Right place at the right time. Our own little fox-in-the-box. Remember that obsession over a decade or so ago? Only took us 20 years to replace Franny Jeffers. But Eddie is not as ugly and way more effective.

That’s two goals on the bounce for Cigarette. Someone has lite him up in front of goal. But, overall, I thought his contribution was pretty weak today. Too often he under hit his passes or failed to take the chances he was presented with. Not that they were clear cut but each time he’s need one too many touches. But he scored so, thank you nonetheless.     

It’s was good to see Saka back on the left. He is a bright spark and clearly part of our long-term solution. WHU did an effective job in closing down his space today but he still worked hard, defended well and attempted to create. Overall, our creative play was too slow and too square. Both goals involved Saka. The few times we played vertical not horizontal. It’s no coincidence both goals involved him and came down the left.

Xhaka was not at his best today. Too many errant passes. Too many times nearly getting caught in possession. Against a better team that will be punished. But, thankfully, it was only West Ham. Ceballos and he did not create enough and should have increased the tempo of the game. But, again, Ceballos, was involved in the winning goal. He works so much harder than he did under our prior Accountant.

Two wins now, two more than this time last year. And we have a shape, a set of tactics. And, more importantly, a manager. Not a coach. But a manager. We lost Raul. We lost Ivan. And we lost our accountant. But we gained a manager. We find the soul of our club. We finally had a direction. A purpose. Something to believe in. And a trophy. Someone we managed to dodge abject failure last season. Qualifying for Europe was a minor miracle. And given what we were like up to November, thoroughly undeserved. But it was a live-saver. It meant we could keep our talisman, our leader and the future golden boot winner, Aubameyang. I remember when we signed him, scratching my head wondering why we needed another striker when we already had Cigarette. But after more or less singlehandedly winning the semi-final and then final in addition to his countless goals, it’s clear it was mandatory that we could keep him. No more Van Persie departures of a captain. And, again, step forward MA to accept the plaudits for that.

This is all part of the resurrection of Arsenal. The rebuild is well in hand. This year won’t take us to the promised land. But within a couple of more transfer windows we will be there; back competing for the premiership with Man City and Crystal Palace; world beating Crystal Palace! Arteta needs time. It’s a wonder what he’s achieved with so little. That midfield needs a rework though. A box to box midfielder. Some more creativity. And a real defensive midfield player. Ideally all wrapped up in one player.

Torreira seems headed for the exit. I always enjoyed watching him play. Emery killed this guy. Confidence is fragile. And for a period, he was that dominant defensive midfield player. Our little Kante. Until Emery bore him to death with his numbers and spreadsheets. And know, with the more technical approach of MA, he’s not going to cut it. The few times he played, his link-up play and distribution were exposed. But I also felt he was trying too hard. He’d lost his way, his confidence and therefore dashed around too much and was a little out of sorts. He needs a stable, consistent run in a team to rediscover his ability. He’s just not going to get that at Arsenal. And we could do with some filthy luca – we need the money.

I am an optimist by nature. Or just simple in the head. Maybe the latter is a requirement for the former. Either way, I’m am optimistic about our future. Whereas under the accountant I was always looking for signs of progress and development, some indication we were moving in the right direction. Under Arteta I know. He is the one. If I honestly had to rank the best PL managers I’d start with Klop then Pepe followed by Arteta; I’m that optimistic. With the youth coming through and the cleaning out of the dross (Kolinsac, Ozil etc) we have a bright future. But that means we also have to be a little patient. We were fortunate to grab the three points today (though last season we would have found a way to lose).  Next week will demonstrate how much further we have to develop. But we know that. We are not at the level where we can really compete; remember it took Klopp five years. We need three years. This season will, at times, test our resolve. We will find ways to throw away points; we will be outclassed by the best teams. But, as we proved at the end of last season, we will compete and fight. We will have the right tactics even if we don’t have the right players. Yet. But we have the right manager.

Oh it’s good to be back


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