Arsenal and Chelsea are discussed in the Mailbox. Send your own thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Arsenal optimism is confusing
In case you didn’t know, it is an incredibly exciting time to be an Arsenal fan right now. Will we win the league? Ha, ha, ha, no. Will we qualify for the Champions League? Probably not. Will we win anything this season (the community shield is a posh preseason friendly)? Nah. However I can’t remember being more excited at the start of a season.
Arsenal have a plan! It might not sound like much but after the late Wenger years decline and the Emery fling which was like meeting someone while drunk in a nightclub who seems amazing but then turns out to be the spitting image of your mum on the first date, urgh. Get me out of here and I don’t have a thing for my mum, honest. It was just a drunken mistake!
Now we have Arteta, who has shown us that we can have a decent defence and beat the teams we are supposed to beat without a nail biting injury time scramble because we have a shed load more money than they do and therefore better players, right? Cough, last five seasons. Plus he won our FA Cup! (It’s ours cos if you win it 14 times you get to keep it.)
If that wasn’t good enough Arteta convinced Aubameyang to resign. Yes! I don’t care if he found the dirtiest dirt on Aubameyang and is blackmailing him or if he has made him believe we can win all the trophies (lol), he signed. Which instantly made him an Arsenal legend and our second best ever striker (sorry everyone I just insulted).
I mean what can possibly go wrong? Arsenal never convince senior world-class players to sign one last big contract.
Oh s*** Aubameyang is going to do his ACL, discover he loves chocolate orange as much as me then get fat (Like me) or start spending all of his new cash on fast cars and easy women… No, why did we get him to sign a new contract? It was a terrible idea. Arteta out! This always happen to Arsenal. 🙁
Balham Gooner (very, very happy but still slightly worried)
With recent talk of Gareth Bale it made me wonder how many players who were arguably quite successful at a particular club yet were either heavily disliked by their own fans, now a few did come to my own mind and to kick off the list I have chosen Gareth Bale because why not?
Gareth Bale at Real Madrid – You cannot say he has not been a success at Real Madrid, multiple trophies, multiple Champions League titles as well as playing a key role in the finals of these trophies, scoring incredible goals or just important goals, yet it would be very difficult to find a Madrid fan who would say they like Gareth.
Willian at Chelsea – Hardly in the same ball park as Bale, but he is a player that certainly divides the fan base, to the point many were happy he left to join Arsenal and was not offered that long term deal he seeked, he is a two time Premier League title winner and also played an important role in our Europa League triumph.
Mauro Icardi at Inter Milan – Well he may not have lifted any silverware during his time in Milan but he was a prolific forward in an average Inter side over recent years, you cannot argue with his goal output at all during his time at the club, but how it ended, well we all know the stories and for a player who scored 111 goals in 188 matches he would not be welcomed back at the San Siro……or would he? Probably not.
Carlos Tevez at Manchester United – Part of one of the most frightening forward lines in recent years, Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo, they were incredible together, but no one on the red side of Manchester will forgive him for joining City and that infamous poster.
Would love to hear from fellow mailboxers on player they would include.
Not all debuts go seamlessly; we’ve had world class players who failed to impress on their debuts but who later not only improved their games but dominated their leagues. Anyone who has any pang of regret after watching Kai’s debut is completely missing the point.
The whole thing was a case of a lack of team chemistry. People point at James Rodriguez, Allan, Bruno F and others who slotted in seamlessly on their debuts. What these people fail to consider is the fact that the players who surrounded or complemented these players counted a lot. People who say such things only need to go watch how the partnership of Pobga and Fernandes proved magical and why? Pogba was a buzz of energy and a bag of true quality going forward. J5 admittedly didn’t have a brilliant game but he honestly had one of his very impressive outings. James Rodriguez, Allan and Duocoure combined effectively in wreaking havoc in Spur’s midfield, with James pulling the strings in midfield, finding Richarlison on multiple occasions with crisp and pinpoint passes/crosses.
What did Kai have? He had one Cheek who was all over the place and hugely conspicuous by his lacklustre efforts, fluffing his lines and running to dead ends, sth that even had an effect on Mount’s movements. Cheek was not only laboured but also very very clueless. The best thing I remember him doing all night was trotting in endless circles and giving the ball away in inexplicable fashions. Can he be called anything less than dreadful? Can this once true gem, once dubbed the best academy product we’ve had (post JT of course) have any renaissance? Time is running out for him.
One could argue and for good reason that Kai was struggling with the pace or intensity of the game but isn’t it understandable, given he had hardly had any time to savour his long mooted and much coveted move to Stamford Bridge before having a couple of training with his new teammates.
And anyone who will outrightly refute the fact Kai’s game was quite stymied by the pressure of his transfer saga ain’t being realistic enough. Yes, I was one of a few, if not many who said he would brush aside the lofty weight of pressure that comes with such hefty transfer fees and replicate his RBL exploits but a debut is a different kettle of fish as the emotions that come with it are simply enigmatic.
Yes, there were no fans at the stadium and one would have imagined that that could mitigate the pressure on Kai but human psych doesn’t necessarily work that way. Who knows, maybe the presence of fans would have lifted his mood(although we were playing away) as we know what a lil cheer or encore can do to the moral of players.
Kai may not start firing on all cylinders even five games into the season and in all fairness, he’s not a player who wows with finesse but what he’s sure to bring to our game are his quality and trickery on the ball which will open up spaces and privide endless passing channels and once we have Ziyech and/or Pulisic fully fit, he’s sure to get his mojo back. The excitement this season is an inevitability.
And let me end with a word of admonishment: keep a tight lid on your expectations (how many times must we tell you this?), strap on your seatbelt and relish the rollercoaster that’s about to begin. Or like I often say, rather monotonously, get off the sodding rollercoaster.
Above all, let’s let relentless hope “string out” throughout the season.
Kovacic is essential
I have to disagree with Aravind about Kovacic. When he is in possession he is one of the most useful midfielders we have, to gloss over his incredible dribbling abilities as dribbling in neutral zones is very unfair. His ability to collect the ball under pressure, turn dribble past an opponent and play the ball forwards into space at the last possible moment before being closed down by another opposition player opens up space for the players further up the field. He may not be what you call a creator but he does an important job of creating space for the more creative players further forward to operate in which this season will be Mount, Havertz and Ziyech all of whom can be deadly when given time and a little bit of space on the ball.
This season we could see a lot more of his long passes which he is well capable of, as he will have the pacey trio of CHO, Pulisic and Werner to aim at with balls in behind. Besides when we are struggling in games like we were against Brighton when we seem to constantly give the ball away, Kovacic brings a calm to Chelsea’s possession he slows things down when needed and can dictate the pace of play in our midfield. Kovacic is a unbelievably talented footballer and alongside Kante easily one of our best midfielders especially in that deep lying role when considering the other options are the likes of Jorginho and RLC who are almost painful to watch despite how hard they are clearly trying.
Aaron CFC Ireland
Dele is doing just fine….
I knew this situation was going to eventually happen to Dele to be honest. He hits heights very early in his career and people were comparing his numbers to people like Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes etc. He was being linked with Madrid too and he was performing for both England and Spurs. He’s had impressive Champions League moments in there too and he’s still only 24 (the same age as Maddison and Grealish). He outscored Maddison last season and had equal numbers to Grealish and this is despite the fact that he was injured for a lot of the season.
I think a lot of players have this patch in their careers where they turn 23/24 and they have a bit of a slump. The expectations were very high on him after that year he got 18 league goals and he seemed to be on an upward trajectory. I think there’s more issues here than Dele. Firstly, Spurs have gotten much worse and as a team have been in decline. It’s not just him. You look at Dier, Trippier, Rose, Alderweireld, Kane, Lloris etc and they’ve all been quite inconsistent or have had injury issues. They’re not the same side they were a few seasons ago. He would have easily got double figures last season if he was fit. I think he just needs a run of games and to get his mojo back.
I’m an Arsenal fan but I like his mentality. I think he’s snide and has a good attitude. Spurs in general haven’t been as good as expected in the last few seasons so I don’t think it’s correct in saying Dele isn’t at the level anymore. The guy has had a rough patch with form and injuries and is still matching his England teammates on the field. People write players off way too easily in modern football.
Dion, Arsenal (Donegal)
He will be remembered
Chris in Cardiff may be right that Dele Alli may not hit the heights of his breakthrough season and he may not be remembered like Jordan or Ronaldo, but I for one will probably remember him every time I put toothpaste on my brush and ask the important philosophical questions of why we do what we do the way we do it.