Friday, May 24, 2024

Press conference questions + new deal mooted for Tomiyasu

Good morning.

Mikel Arteta will meet the press this morning, and there will be some obvious questions for him. First, the state of play when it comes to players who were away on Interlull duty – and the main focus there might well be Gabriel Jesus. The best case scenario for us is that the 90 minutes he played for Brazil were beneficial to his recovery from injury, but if that’s true, how we then add to his load over the coming games will be important.

The good news in that regard is that Leandro Trossard has two in his last two starts up front, and Eddie Nketiah has had the entire break without any international duty, so there are good options for a game against Brentford. If we need Jesus from the bench, then hopefully that’s a role he can play. And hopefully we find out there’s a clean bill of health for him and everyone else.

The other question might be about responding to the FA charge. Yesterday, Roberto de Zerbi was given a warning over his future conduct after his comments about officials. He said:

“I am honest and clear. I don’t like 80 per cent of England’s referees. It’s not new. I don’t like them. I don’t like their behaviour on the pitch.”

I suppose the key difference is the fact that Arteta’s comments post-Newcastle could be interpreted as an attack on their competence, whereas the Italian has just said he doesn’t like them. I don’t particularly understand why grown men aren’t entitled to express their opinions freely, whether it’s about the standard of officiating, or the personalities of those taking charge of games, but here we are.

I have a suspicion that de Zerbi’s comments might well be more damaging to him than Arteta’s are, because if we know anything about the PGMOL and the way they operate, the Brighton manager will probably discover that 100% of the referees will take umbrage at that – the 20% he doesn’t dislike included. It could make life more difficult for him and for Brighton.

It’s funny though – remember that old saying about how a good referee is a referee you don’t notice? When was the last time we had a game of football where that happened? Even something as comfortable as our 5-0 win over Sheffield United a few weeks ago was littered with time-outs as VAR checked for ways to disallow completely good goals. I know the horse has bolted and the stable door is swinging wide open, but it used to be a case that in football the two teams were the protagonists for the 90 minutes. Now we have a third one, the block of officials around whom far too much of the game game revolves, both during and after.

It’s quite depressing just how much of the discourse around football these days is informed by referees and VAR, but I don’t really know what can be done about it. The one ‘solution’ is that improving standards means we diminish that aspect of things, which is why I think it’s quite unhelpful when talk of accountability, which can then lead to improvement, is shouted down by people who say we should just get on with things. As if this is always the way it was, because it really wasn’t. Then Howard Webb does his silly TV show, and rather than address the big issues, reminds his officials this week that his edict over yellow cards for dissent needs to be more stringently followed.

Finally for this morning, there’s talk of Arsenal being keen to give Takehiro Tomiyasu a new contract – and all I can to say that is ‘Yes please’. Do it as soon as possible. I think he’s a fantastic player, someone who gives us proper depth across the backline, and when you think about him in the side, he gives you a sense of security. I know he’s had some injury issues, but his performances this season have reminded people just how good he is, and it’d be great to get him tied down before he goes away with Japan in January.

Right, I’m gonna leave it there. We’ll have press conference updates on Arseblog News, and later this afternoon we’ll have our Premier League preview podcast for you over on Patreon – so please join us for that.

For now, mind yourselves.

Related articles

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast