Defiance

It’s already 65 and it’s going to be 97 here today so I need to get up and go for a walk with the dog while it’s still cool.

In Arsenal world, the club announced a partnership with some people who are putting a small amount of amino acids – naturally found in almost any food that has protein – into plastic bottles and selling it on for $2.50 a bottle. I enjoy a partnership with a company which helps to further extract fossil fuels from the planet and use them to create plastics which kill off our marine life under the guise of providing health and fitness. I hope it goes well for all involved and they are able to use the profits to last a few weeks longer than the rest of us when the ecosystem collapses and they take shelter in their underground bunker. Logan Paul and KSI, bunkered in as the planet melts, sipping blow pop flavored protein drinks. The perfect way to end our species.

Do you know what the word is for the last example of a species? Endling.

Meanwhile Nuno Tavares is off to Marseille for a year long loan. Marseille recently hired Igor Tudor as head coach after a fall out with Jorge Sampaoli over lack of transfer activity. Tudor comes to Marseille from Hellas Verona where he played a kind of crazy counter-pressing 3421. Nuno ostensibly fits right in with this system as an attacking wingback and I have high hopes for him to have a great season.

I’ll admit I’m not as attuned to the sentiments of Marseille supporters as I am with other clubs but I do know that Marseille is a high pressure atmosphere and the club finished last season 2nd in Ligue Un with the 2nd best defensive record in the league. Tudor’s history suggests that he’s more “run and gun” than Sampaoli and I wonder if we are seeing a repeat of the Seattle Supersonics when Paul Westphal took over from George Karl (hint, he’s like School on Sunday, no D).

I kinda wish Nuno had gone to Atalanta. Gasperini plays a version of juego de posicion and still likes to play attacking football, which benefits Nuno. Plus, there’s continuity at Atalanta with a settled, well respected coach. Oh well, if wishes were fishes as they say. I will be able to report back on how Nuno’s season is going, though, since I watch Marseille matches from time to time.

In wholly undepressing news, Tacoma Defiance play a home match this Saturday and tickets are just $15. Even better, Tacoma Defiance ticket sales wholly benefit the RAVE foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to building football fields and programming year-round events for underserved kids in Washington state with the explicit goal of trying to break the pay-to-play system we have here in the USA. Tacoma Defiance are the B team for the Seattle Sounders and a great place to watch up and coming academy players get their first tastes of professional football. There are only three more home matches for the Defiance this summer, so get one while you still can.

Qq

32 comments

  1. Wish Nuno well. Kid’s got a bundle of talent. Guess that we can put his acquisition down to a scouting fail, because anyone who understudies Tierney should have been expected to play a lot of football. He’s now third choice at LB, so wasn’t going to get a lot of games. For his own sake, let’s hope that he makes the kind of leap in his footballing development that Saliba and Guendouzi did at that same club. But, in Zinch, Arsenal made a massive upgrade. So much so that the question of who our first choice LB is, is now debatable.

    Here’s hoping that we sign that elegant beast in central midfield. We have a similar problem there to the Nuno problem. The alt to our best player will play a lot of games, and there’s not anyone near his quality. However, Edu’s all but said that we have enough in midfield. With the greatest respect to his vastly superior footballing knowledge, I disagree.

    1. Sorry to ask, but has there been any improvement in Saliba’s game or is it just something that people say?

      I get what the loan was for, but I have heard the same things in terms of strengths and weaknesses in Saliba’s game from the time he was signed up till now.

      Is it said to hide the fact that he was already good enough last season (or the season before that) and didn’t need a loan?

      I would really like to know what shortcomings he has fixed or what growth he has shown that required a loan move. Guendouzi is similar, just the same player he has always been, given less defensive responsibility and greater freedom to attack.

      I think the loan was the wrong decision because now, Arteta is going to have to drop the player who was brought in, in place of Saliba. Saliba is, and was already better than White last season.

      1. I watched him all season. I would say slight improvement but he was ready to play for Arsenal last season.

  2. Really hope Arsenal are getting some actual cash out of that amino delivery tech. If they’ve signed them up for ‘influence’, they could run a whole five minute ad just with footage of the Arsenal youf demographic doing blue water spit-takes.

    In other planet news, we seem to have 370 billion shiny new(ish) dollars in climate spending. Trade-off is that Sen. Manchin is now legally classified as a wind energy source, but you have to take your good news where you can.

  3. There’s a story on the paininthearsenal site that needs looking at, the evidence seems extremely damning, this is burn your Arsenal shirts and pick another sport/league material if it’s not dealt with promptly and correctly and it may be that time regardless of what action is taken, depends how aware the club was of the details, which includes how much they were willing to listen. Feel free to delete this comment if needs be.

    1. The comments below that article tho… Unanimous. I hate this. I hate people who value football over women.

  4. Great post Tim. I also enjoyed your post about the fishing trip. One of my best recent memories was backpacking up to a remote mountain lake here in Colorado that rarely has any fishermen. I was with my son in law and it was my 12 year old grandsons first backpacking trip. We packed in collapsible light weight spinning reels and a couple of lures and between the 3 of us we probably caught and released 150 trout over the 4 days we camped there. I usually go backpacking with people closer to my age and I am usually the pace setter but this was the first trip where I was the rate limiting person during the climb in. My grandson was only carrying a small pack and his dad and I had most of his gear in our packs. My grandson was excited and wanted to get to the lake ASAP and he encouraged me to keep up and I heard “come on Poppy” a few times.

    With regard to Saliba its easy to make judgements and criticize in retrospect but our front office had to make the decision to send him on loan last year prospectively. CB is the outfield position which is by far the least forgiving of youthful mistakes especially in the PL. How many PL managers of teams competing for the top 4 have we seen in this century who give a 20 year old regular minutes at that position? May be there are a couple but I would guess the answer is almost never. I think the optimism we have seen this preseason gives us plenty of evidence that our front office has made a couple mistakes but the general direction is clearly up and they are getting a lot of things right. They would have observed Saliba in training and spoken with him and had scouts watching him and watched plenty of hours of film of his games in France the season before last year when he was only 19. Its my belief they were in much better position to judge then any of us whether or not they would be able to give him regular minutes in the his age 20 season in the PL. Its possible he could have played brilliantly last year but its also possible he could have made a few mistakes early in the season and lost confidence and the season could have been a mess. With an eye towards the long term best interest of the player and the club I can certainly understand the logic of their caution and deciding to send him back to France for another year of regular minutes and not rushing him into the meat grinder that can be the PL. I don’t think anyone can argue that last season should have helped him gain a lot more experience and helped him worked thru some of the mistakes of youth and given him a lot more confidence coming into this season.

    1. Bill,

      This is an appeal to authority and it’s generally a powerful rhetorical tool for those who are ready to accept it uncritically but let’s take a look at another perspective.

      The club has all of the scouts and expertise that you state, yes. Experts, however, aren’t perfect. In fact in this case they were far from perfect.

      The experts at Arsenal chose to send Saliba to France and spend £50m plus massive salary to bring Ben White in instead. I think we can agree on this.

      You suggest that maybe this was because Saliba wasn’t ready and would have struggled from the start and say that we don’t know. This is a common theme you use which essentially boils down to “the club do know, we don’t know, therefore the club is correct in almost everything they do.”

      However, Saliba DID hit the ground running and was great from the start, earning high praise from everyone who watched him play.

      Meanwhile, Ben White had a nightmare start to his Arsenal career where it looked like he was incapable of heading a ball (this is still a major weakness for him) and was caught turning himself inside out several times in his first 5 matches at the club.

      As for their vision for the long term, I think it’s just as possible – in fact highly probable – that they thought Saliba was another Pepe, an expensive bust (which was chosen by the same experts, the previous group of experts who we all agree were not good, which is proof against the experts argument all by itself) and were ready to write him off. I think the evidence for this is the fact that they spent £50m plus salary on a player who plays his exact style in his exact position and then shipped Saliba off to play with Guendouzi, a player who they openly didn’t like.

      But when Saliba had a player of the year season, they realized that they could lose a lot of money and a really good player if they didn’t at least give him a chance. So, they brought him back.

      Now, of course I don’t know what happened, just like you don’t know what happened. But what we can both agree on is that Arsenal have spent 3 years and £80m on two RCB which play the exact same style and seem to be at the exact same level. Even if we disagree on everything else, you and I should be in agreement that that was an absurd waste of resources which limited our ability to replace our ageing forwards, our midfield, and buy adequate backups for our FBs. Now, they did buy in those positions but the players they bought weren’t ready and some of them have been loaned out and again these experts, who you say know more than everyone else, have had to spend more money and loan players out again who aren’t good enough. Which we all know that they aren’t good enough because you have said it many times and because we missed out on top four.

      And missing out on top four last season was another incredibly costly mistake. So, while you see great planning and foresight, I see a club which is still very much struggling to acquire the right players the first time and needing to send them out on loan or replace them before maybe getting it right two to three years later.

      Anyway, I very much hope Arsenal get top 4 this season because if not I feel like it will be a major failure after spending the most money in England on transfers.

  5. Bill
    Only Arsenal had the conundrum of playing Saliba who was highly rated even when we signed.
    Pity our poor Arteta had such a momentous decision in his first year of coaching…and to make matters worse the twat contradicting in training too !

    By the way defensive positions carry a high risk of consequences due to closeness of the goal, and that applies to veteran defenders too.

  6. I don’t think Ben White was a weak point in the squad last season, indeed I think we missed him terribly in those decisive games against Spurs and Newcastle. No he didn’t start well but who at Arsenal did? Defenders tend to get the blame when the team ships goals, especially defenders who were already seen as overpriced and physically underwhelming. I do think he is a substantial improvement on Rob Holding though that might be damning with faint praise. In hindsight we probably overpaid but we should also reserve some judgment until we see more of his Arsenal career. I do agree, and so does Mikel Arteta, that Saliba is the better player of the two at this point and I fully expect him to start against Crystal Palace. But you know who else will start that game? Ben White. He hasn’t looked out of place starting at RB this preseason or last season when he plugged the gap there. That versatility is worth something, maybe not what we paid, but it’s worth something. Manchester United just paid a king’s ransom for a similar player on the left, and while I won’t hold them up as any models for good transfer business, it does show that a versatile, still young defender with good technique is a valuable commodity. If we are purely reductionist about it, the end result is that we have two full international, first team caliber RCBs under 25 in the squad and one of them can fill in at RB. That’s a nice spot to be in regardless of the missteps along the way to get there.

  7. Tim.

    That camping trip is a great memory. I was the only experienced backpacker and I have an 80 liter pack and my son in law had a 50 liter pack and my grandson had a small day pack. By necessity I was the pack mule and it was about a 3000 foot elevation gain of the trip in. That trip up the mountain was real struggle

    Thanks for the reply. You are correct that neither of us really knows what happened and why. I think we both can assume the club management wants Saliba and the club as a whole to succeed and every decision is made with belief it will help the team. How we view events depends on which context you want to look at it from. I think Edu took over at the start of Emery’s second season and the club was in trouble. The results were tanking and the dressing room had quit on the second manager in a row. Edu quickly convinced ownership to sack emery and hire a new manager which started the process we have seen in the last 21/2 years. To me it looks like they have take a club which was spiraling around the toilet bowl when Edu took over and almost completely rebuilt the team to the point where many of us are now very optimistic about the future. You can’t do that if you don’t have a good plan or if the front office were incompetent or making decisions based on petty jealousies. We both agree that a few mistakes were inevitable but clearly the overall gestalt of what has been happening has been good and the right decisions have outnumbered the mistakes. For that reason. I tend to believe prospectively they had good reasons to send Saliba on loan last year. I assume they bought White because they believed he was a long term piece of the puzzle.

    1. Bill – it might be easier for everyone to unite around optimism (which all fans want to) if there was less insistence that we are not sufficiently discerning to witness genius at work. If you’re insistent that you saw a plan when few others did, others can be just as insistent (and right to boot) that all available evidence points in the opposite direction.

      For me, plan/no-plan is all academic if the squad is invested in and the football is worth watching. What about you? Is the football only worth watching if we accept it as divinely inspired?

  8. Amid all of the serious talking points and Bill’s never-ending re-writing of history and dogged ignoring of plain facts, I just want to talk about our third kit… pink with blue stripes. I thought the black and gold was gorgeous, but man. This one.

    Take my £70, Josh. Again (gosh, the price of replica kit aint what it used to be). I will never

    Oh and we demolished a good Sevilla team, playing what looks like our likely starting XI. Pre seasons are false indicators? I’m talking this one, thanks. And Im backing Jesus to lead us to the promised land. Not the title, folks, but perhaps an improved position… rebuild willing, of course.

    1. Inter were left chasing shadows in Arsenal’s 2007 preseason I think, so I think this bodes well.

  9. TW14

    I never said that I saw the plan earlier then everyone else but by now it has to be clear in retrospect to anyone who is willing to take a few minutes to think about what has happened in the last 2 1/2 years and look at the results. Again there were a few mistakes and they went off script a couple times such as signing Willian but the overall path seems pretty clear. No?

    I would certainly expect any management team worth their wages in any sports club or business to have constructed a rough step by step long term plan when they were contemplating a long term rebuilding project that was going to take time and cost the ownership a lot of money. If they were just trying to wing it while blindly fumbling from one crisis to the next (which is how it felt like the club had been operated for several years) then they should never have been running a professional football club.

    The sentiment on the blog at least from the people who were willing to post was heavily negative but I just was never willing to believe that Arteta was an idiot that for some reason a lot of people wanted to believe. He had a great pedigree and was praised for his intellect and work ethic and made club captain by all of the managers he played for. He was highly praised by Pep and now a couple of people who worked with him at Man City were happy to play for him. It seemed very unlikely that someone like that would suddenly develop a counterproductive personality and turn into an ego driven dictatorial self centered manager who wanted to playing boring conservative football.

    1. How it felt the club was operated for several years.. who knew then all they had to say was finishing outside of not just the CL spots but Europe entirely was not a crisis but all a plan? Only a genius could figure that out. Kudos to Arteta.

      1. lol.

        “The regime I like is incapable of error” is quite the argument. 8th, 8th and 5th (despite the league’s highest spending and no European games to sap our energy) were actually part of a clever plan, don’t you know, you ungrateful thing? So was taking Arsenal out of Europe for the first time in a quarter of a century. Even the 2 managers that Bill asserts without evidence that the players quit on (a made-up story… Arsene was 5 years past his prime and Emery hit a bad patch, just like Mikel did the year later) managed European football.

        The Salisaga. No football for 7 months… oopsy. Sorry, lad, Normal mistake, no? We prefer to offer Mustafi a new deal, buy Mari and White and keep Holding — places that you could have had. But nothing personal. Still deemed not ready after a highly successful half season loan spell? Look we integrated other young players (Sambi, Nuno) and do so all the time. We welcome back other high potentials after loans (ESR). But this one is sooooo special that we…. sent him away again! Wahey! To help Marseilles, not us, qualify for the Champions League. That’s next level clever! That warm liquid is actually rain, Shard. Be grateful.

        Look, all parties are now at a point where they can be happy with the outcome. He’s like an elite new signing that cost us nothing in transfer fees this window. He gets to play for a club he has supported since he started following football (thanks, Thierry). A new contract means a pay rise. Arsenal get to lock in value, as Tim said. I suggest that Bill makes time to — for a change — watch some pre-season highlights. Some games, even. And tell us who’s playing RCB, and who’s been shunted to RB. The young man effectively embarrassed Arsenal into dealing with him frontally. ArtEdu dont get to get credit for dicking him around, and HIM showing the strength of character to emerge stronger out of that. His inferior former ball partner Wesley Fofana is several years into a career at Leicester, while he was on loanapalooza. Dont let anyone try to Kellyanne Conway their way around this, or bring King’s New Clothes energy to this discussion.

        And can we ease poor Ben White? His name is always going to be sounded, unfairly, in this saga (he didnt buy himself, or set his way-too-high valuation). The brutal fact is that our defence performed worse last season than the previous one, and we actually went backwards in that area, with him, Tomi and Ramsdale the key injections. But that cannot be solely down to him. And he’s a good player. Im happy to have both of them.

        This isn’t to continue to knock the manager. It’s to state facts, not helpful conjecture. Thing is, one can say this; and simultaneously feel that ArtEdu smashed the pre-season, and have prepared the team really, really well for the start of the season. Optimism is high. I’m with THW14 on this.

        p.s. YouTube pushed at my feed a video of one of Arteta’s implacable critics. I watched it. He was purring after that performance yesterday, and, for once, did not have a single bad thing to say about the manager. Optimism is high.

        1. Two thoughts come to mind from reading this, Claude. First, while none of us was in the dressing room at the time, the evidence of my eyes tells me that the players really did stop trying for both Wenger (still feeling outraged by that) and Emery (I reckon they hated his enforced playing style as much as I did). You can dismiss it as a “made-up story” but for me at least it was pretty clear that both managers got to a point where they were unable to motivate the team.

          Now we have Arteta who, for whatever reason, also produced some pretty dire performances in his first two years, and now has the team playing with energy and enthusiasm, and a smile on their faces. Lack of European football last season was a huge disappointment (although it’s not as if we’re entitled to that), but wasn’t it also a contributing factor to our better league position by season’s end? I’m sure Mikel would be the first to put his hand up when assigning blame for missing out on the Champions League this year, but some (again!) unfortunate injuries and lack of depth at key positions played a significant part too. After Emery was fired I seem to remember a lot of comments here observing that we would need to be patient and allow time for rebuilding, Klopp took three years and smart transfer moves to re-establish ‘Pool at the top, etc., etc. Given the somewhat peculiar personnel moves we’ve made over the last three+ years, the fact that we’re on track with an upward trajectory and a happy squad seems even more impressive from a managerial perspective.

          Appreciate your always thoughtful and often highly amusing comments here.

          1. Thanks, Jayke. Appreciate that.

            Wenger’s last 3 finishes were 2nd, 5th and 6th. In his last 5 years, he won the FA Cup 3 times. Emery finished 5th in his only full season, missing 4th by a point.

            So I’m not sure what the measure of “stopped playing for the manager” is. Some things congeal as conventional wisdom, but don’t quite hold up when you present hard facts and evidence. Besides, the inference is that a manager finishing 8th, 8th and 5th, did not suffer the fate of the players stopping playing for him. I don’t think it does, but let’s be logically consistent here.

            You know what Arsene’s problems were? We couldn’t hold him to his own own impossibly high standards of Top 4 delivery. We hung him with his own rope. His other problem was that he hung on too long, and we the entitled fans became sick of him.

            If Arteta’s tenure has taught us anything, was what a miracle worker Arsene was.
            _______________________

            Mikel was hired because we the fans clamoured for him virtually from the moment Pep hired him (I was one), and the owners listened. He also, from reporting at the time, killed it at his interview (Emery had also impressed with detailed prior knowledge of the squad he was about to inherit, but that’s another story).

            You can make good arguments either way for Emery not turning out to be a good fit, Im not shedding any tears for him. But what’s undeniable was that he was given far less rope — and Mikel far more rope — than anyone else. So having seen a young manager with no prior experience struggle with the brief, they made a decision to back him and give him time. Mikel is still in a job because KSE backed him above and beyond. He would not have survived Fenway’s board, no matter how many nice things Pep had to say about him, or how bright everyone considered him to be. I’ll be fair… give him a pass on his first half season (8th), because he was new in the job, and actually won the FA Cup (with Emery’s much maligned players). His first full season (8th and crashing out of Europe) was an abject failure; and the way we ended the last one leaves it up for debate. The owners have been terrific. Whether a big bill will come due at some point for the club is another matter, the fact is that they’ve supported a manager that most other boards would have fired. Edu can move the goalposts all he likes. He can tell us one thing in Y1 and another thing in Y3.5. He can tell us the fans one thing in July 2022 and Willian and Auba another when wooing them in July 2020. None of this changes the fact of the owners’ support, above and beyond.

            Touch wood, it looks like as if the patience, time and money invested is about to pay off; and hopefully he has become a better coach and manager in all facets. The football yesterday was breathtaking. Im greeting this season with optimism I haven’t felt in a while. Here’s to unity in optimism, gooners.

  10. ICYMI, this was a very professional performance by Arsenal.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edAcHy1_95w&ab_channel=Arsenal

    It’s not a meaningless pre-season game. Sevilla are actually a good side. Said enough about Jesus. What about…

    – Martinelli. Superb yesterday, and this edited clip doesnt do him justice. Looks super hungry. Feels like a breakout season for him. Unselfish, more head-up play.

    – Ode. Very good at the 10/prompt. I’ll convert Shard to liking him… just you watch 🙂

    – The entire D. Gelled well.

    – Xhaka. This game and Orlando? Noticeably joining the attack more, and to great effect

    – The football. Glorious. They couldnt live with our play, pressing, quick release and verticality.

    Potential issues:

    – Thomas. Was great yesterday, but we need a quality backup. One way or another, some absence is possible, and we could feel it.

    – Depth. Yes, Zinch, Vieira and Saliba bring some. None of quality for Thomas; and arguably for Saka and Ramsdale (now that Leno is all but gone).

    Watch:

    Eddie and Vieira. The latter is VERY direct, and can ferry, something we haven’t had much of since Jack and Santi. First time I looked at him, he looked like Rosicky. On 2nd examination, his game is little like Santi’s. No pressure, then.

    Pepe could also surprise, is my hope and wish. Or not. He’s got a professional point to prove. Now would be a great time.

  11. Congrats to the England women, and specifically to Leah and Beth, captain and MVP. Good to see the Arsenal stamp on that side. Long may it continue.

  12. Claude

    I did not follow this blog in 17/18 but on ACLF there was a strong consensus that Arsene was no longer able to motivate the players and they basically quit on him. You can argue that might have been overstatement and we don’t know what really happened although I agree with Jayke that the players were not giving Arsene their best efforts. On the other hand, I know with complete certainly there was basically 100% agreement including you and me that Emery needed to be sacked and the main reason was he had “lost the dressing room”. Now you have to tap dance around all of that because the players quitting on the manager does not fit well with your current argument.

    Management and ownership does not decide to sack an experienced manager and blow up a squad and start a rebuild from the ground up without a very good reason. That is always the last option but we can see now that is exactly what happened shortly after Edu took over in the summer of 2019. They were the ones with “boots on the ground” and they knew the players mindset and they clearly were convinced that squad as it was constructed in 19/20 was no longer salvageable

    I would hope most of us are now pretty happy that Arteta was given a long rope. Edu/Kronke fired Emery within a few months and made the decision to rebuild from scratch so they were not afraid to make big decisions. They would have sacked Arteta if they believed it was the right thing to do. They were watching up close and obviously they did not agree with the fans who thought Arteta was tactically inept or had a personality disorder and could not get along with players. I can’t prove it but the most reasonable explanation for their patience was everyone form owner down to manager accepted that ripping apart the squad and rebuilding was going to take time and money and they understood the need to have realistic expectations about the results the club could achieve while working thru the process.

    1. ACLF is a bloke (or two maybe) with opinions, time and a keyboard. Like you and me.

      The lowest Arsene ever finished was 6th. Are you then contending that the players quit on Arteta?

      We keep debunking this myth of a top to bottom rebuild when Mikel came in, and like Frankenstein’s monster you keep resurrecting it. So lemme bring out my stake again…. Arteta

      1. did a full court press on re-signing Aubameyang
      2. signed 32 year old Willian to a 3 year contract.
      3. played Ozil in every game, pre-pandamic lockdown (none after)
      4. offered Mustafi a new contract
      5. stopped Xhaka leaving for Roma
      6. pressed Lacazette to re-sign well into 2022
      7. turned down 25m from Wolves for Ainsley
      8. re-signed Elneny just shy of his 30th birthday

      But yeah, apart from that, they seemed pretty committed to a top to bottom rebuild.

      You know why you keep repeating that? To excuse incompetence and underachievement. The rebuild is meant to explain away failure. Take THW14’s advice, and glory in the promise ahead. Just stop trying to Kellyanne us.

      1. Dropped Saliba, didn’t even register him for the Europa league, refused him a loan, the loaned him out, and now he’s supposedly back. I personally can’t wait to see what happens next ion this saga.

        1. Im cautiously optimistic that it’ll work out fine between him and Arsenal. He played big pre-season minutes, and was the preferred option at RCB throughout. It helped that Tomi wasnt fit, of course. Arteta was spared making a big call.

          I’m puzzled that some folks think that his treatment was (a) fine (b) part of a clever development plan. We jerked the lad around big time. He’s at the Emirates because (1) he’s well advised, says all the right things, and is astonishingly mature for a 21 y/o (2) he’s been wearing Arsenal kit with #14 on the back since he was 8 or 9. It’s his dream. It’d have been personally embarrassing if he arrived with such great hoopla and left without ever kicking a ball competitively for us. He had to see, didn’t he? (3) He has spoken, cautiously but candidly, about all of this.

          Point 1 is what we can clearly deduce from the ton of available reporting. Points 2 and 3 are based on reported fact, that are in the public domain. We do not have to engage in conjecture on any of it.

          Im also cautiously optimistic that the young Manager has learned from his mistakes, and is better for it. He’s killed it this pre-season. He’s got the entire gooner nation in his hands right now… supporters and skeptics alike (Im working hard on Shard 😊). However, that does not mean that we suddenly come round to the view that his plain-as-day f*** ups were in fact 3D chess. We never said that was his whole persona, and even folks like me who have criticised him have said he’s smart and capable. One can in fact move forward without choosing willful blindness. One can yin and yang. We do not have to go all in. That’s the road to bad arguments.

          The owners and the board thought they were getting a coaching savant — the next big thing — and boldly projected WINNING the Champions League in 3 years. That is in the public record. All that talk about undergoing a patient, never-ending, years-long rebuild from Day 1 and projecting/expecting 8th place finishes? It’s bullshit. Their own words, in the public domain, say so.

          At some point the head coach’s shortcomings became apparent, and visions of Pep MkII were quietly put away. Edu moved the goalposts and changed the narrative around a youth-centered rebuild. We’re supposed to forget that THEY give Auba the bazillions, and Arteta praised him as a model player when he did so. And tried to re-sign old Laca mere months before he left.

          Someone please tell Edu that we have Google. And unlike Bill (love you, pal 😘), we know how to use it.

          ArtEdu have got a united gooner nation. Talk less, quit trying to bullshit and gaslight us, own your mistakes, tell us a plan with a timeline and stick to it. We want to buy in. Literally (in my case, merch) and figuratively.

          Onwards to Palace, and 3 points.

        2. Last season Saliba even told the press no one at the club had gotten in touch with him to explain why he wasn’t in the plans even before pre season. Just that he was going out on loan, and that wasn’t the manager who told him. This was after Arteta had publicly said Saliba would be getting a chance in pre season.

          It was him who put his foot down to go to Marseille instead of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle. Arteta’s supporters were saying he’s running away from a battle in the PL and shows weak mentality.

          Now they claim it was some genius plan. It’s all very strange. I would be so much happier if everyone associated with the club would just stop incessantly BSing us.

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