That was a line from Mikel Arteta’s press conference and it felt apt.
It’s April 8th, we’ve had a bad game after a fine run of form and now the press and a certain type of fan is rolling out the classics.
‘SHOULD HAVE KEPT AUBA’
‘CHAMBERS AND AINS WOULD BE HANDY’
‘LACAZETTE CAN’T SCORE’
‘OUR JANUARY WAS A SHAMBLES’
‘WHEN CAN WE START HOLDING THE MANAGER ACCOUNTABLE’
All of these moments, when put in a tweet, or an internet comment, could be classed as legitimate… because they are ‘on paper’ comments.
Sure, if you have the Ainsley who was an FA Cup hero in the semi’s and the final, then you have a plug-and-play opportunity this weekend. What’s the truth though? Shocking at West Brom, so bad, Sam Allardyce advised him to just do what he’s told and be a right back. Terrible at Roma, he’s cycled through 4 positions, none of them central midfield, now he’s a benchwarmer. Also, factor in the human side of ‘Ainsley would be good right now’… do you really think a player that begged to go in January would be in good mental shape if we’d held him at Colney against his wishes… until April 9th , when we’d finally have the minutes for him? If you say ‘yes’ to this question, you have absolutely no idea about how people work.
Cal Chambers is another one that gets thrown into the mixer, I think they call players like him crash test dummies… only good as training ground bodies. He’s a MIB (Men In Black) player when it comes to Arsenal fans. We’ve seen what he can do, we see the mistakes, but as soon as he’s gone, we forget about the limitations. Again, 27 years old, 6 months left on his deal, no place in our side all season, and you think he’d be ready to take us to top 4 now? No chance.
I actually haven’t heard many people clamor for Auba, but someone asked in a press conference. Arteta’s response was basically, ‘I haven’t heard this question for 7 weeks’… why? Because we’ve been absolutely fine without Auba. We play better football, rack up more points, more players are involved, and we rack up more goals as a team. It’s a lazy thing to point to… but it looks good on paper.
Another go-to has been the January transfer window, and again, on paper, of course some signings would have made the world of sense. But let’s be honest, it only makes sense on April 8th because we have injuries. Without the signings people said we needed, we are joint points with Spurs who are 4th, so we’ve done a good job so far.
So what are people asking for right now? A central player that could slip into the side that could match Thomas Partey?
There’s simply not a player in the world that would have sat behind Partey on the bench for 3 months that could slip in and do a job now. Bruno Guimarães, the internets favorite player, the man who was going to take Newcastle to the promised land (‘Arsenal are a dead club’ hissy fits all over), can’t even displace Jonjo Shelvey. Bentancur? He was purchased as a starting writer for Spurs.
Then let’s look at the strikers. Alex Isak? 4 goals since November, ‘just do it’ for £75m because that is what ‘ambition’ looked like? Imagine. Even Dusan Vlahovic is on the struggle bus, he’s scored in 3 games, notching 4 goals so far. If he’s struggling to adapt to Juve, imagine how he’d be doing in the Premier League? That’s not to say he won’t bang as a striker, it’s just to point out that even top tier signings struggle to contribute instantly.
Donny Van De Beek? Coutinho? How are Everton and Villa doing?
Now, these players might all come good next season. My point is that pointing to the lack of transfers feels good on paper, but look at the successes, they’ve been limited… because it is really hard to adapt to a new system in the Premier League… and bigger picture, a fair chunk of those transfers have been bad.
‘JUST SIGN BODIES’ is old Arsenal. It’s Pablo Mari on loan. It’s Mikhtayran. It’s Kimmy K with a broken back.
Catastrophisation and aggressive finger-wagging is where a lot of people go in football nowadays without considering the full human or business context of what they are complaining about.
People need to stop crying.
Our back-up to Thomas Partey is going to be Sambi Lokonga. Remember, he was excellent in the first half of the season. We have to hope he can slip back into the side and do a job on limited minutes. Next to Xhaka, why not?
Our right-back situation has a whole number of ways it can be resolved. Nuno could get the minutes, Cedric could shift over the left, Xhaka could slip into that position.
If you take two of the best players out of any team, they are in trouble. It happened to Liverpool and they dropped 30 points on the season prior. If Spurs lost Harry Kane on his own, they’d be totally fucked. Look at how bad Leicester have been without Fofana.
… but we have to adapt. If the players were as weak-kneed as some of our fans, we’d be in deep shit.
There are 9 games to go. Brighton at home is going to need the fans behind the players. If we take the points there, we live to fight our next cup final against Southampton.
The key for the squad here is to step it up, not fear what has yet to happen. Some fans could do with implementing that advice themselves.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments. x