Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Different, more cynical, better …

Morning all.

There’s barely any time to process the weekend’s football before we face our next game. Luton at home on Wednesday night is the focus now, although the dust has barely settled on the draw with Man City on Sunday.

I found the scenes at the end of the game quite interesting, along with the comments from Bernardo Silva who spoke to Sky afterwards. He said of Arsenal:

This is a different team because they’re more experienced. Top side. Young players with one more year experience, and today they felt what it was like to play here last season and today I think they were much better.

Man City have had it easy too often against Arsenal, but this season is different. We beat them in the Community Shield (on penalties), beat them at home in the Premier League, and stopped them scoring at the Etihad which few teams ever do. I think you could see in some of those post-game interactions that it has dawned on a few Man City players that this is a different Arsenal, as Bernardo Silva said. You don’t win trophies for mutual respect, but it does demonstrate the perception of Arsenal is changing/has changed, and that can affect the dynamics in these head to head games, and beyond.

Then again, I found it very funny that Manuel Akajni complained about our ‘rotational fouling’ (not an April Fool gag), saying:

When we got through sometimes they stopped us with the fouls. If there’s no action to it from the referee, it’s hard. There were also some decisions against them that I didn’t understand why he gave a foul. There are some rules and I think there are clear yellow cards where it should be.

Hello Mr Pot, it’s me, Mr Kettle. Tactical fouling, rotational fouling, whatever you want to call it, has been part of the City playbook ever since Pep Guardiola took over. In their Amazon documentary, there’s literally a clip of Mikel Arteta – then an assistant there – telling players to make fouls if there’s a chance of the opposition winning possession and exploiting space.

To be fair, I think there were moments where if I’d been a Man City fan on Sunday, Anthony Taylor’s reluctance to issue yellow cards would have frustrated me, but it’s still a bit rich for a City player to complain about something they are taught to do themselves. Especially because they wouldn’t hesitate to do exactly the same thing in those moments. Otherwise, at the end of the game, they’d have Pep’s hot breath in their ear at quarters so, so, so close it would be even more uncomfortable than the fact it was playing out on live TV with an eager Sky cameraman just inches away. I’d take ten yellow cards to avoid that.

Anyway, Mikel Arteta will assess his squad today and tomorrow, and decide on how best to pick a team to beat Luton while potentially giving a couple of players a rest. With all due respect to tomorrow’s opposition, one we cannot take lightly as our first game against them this season showed, there is more possibility of effective rotation against them than some of the fixtures that follow this one. The manager meets the press this morning, and we’ll have to wait and see how much he might be willing to do that, or talk about it in the build-up. My guess is some, and not very much, respectively.

It’s a game we’ll preview over on Patreon later this afternoon. And as we have done for the last couple of years, we’re going to give a bit back in April by donating 100% of our Patreon revenue to UNICEF to help kids all over the world affected by war, famine, conflict disease, and things we are all lucky to live without.

More details here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/april-patreon-101220589

It means that if you sign up (for $6 a month + local taxes etc), you get instant access to everything we do on Patreon, and your subscription this month will go to a fantastic cause. As well as the preview pods, we do a Premier League round-up podcast every week, all Arsecasts and Arsecasts Extra are ad-free, there’s our Poorly Animated Month feature, Discord access, priority access to live event tickets (watch out soon for details of this year’s end of season show), and lots more.

Arseblog is now an entirely ad-free website, so we are supported completely by our listeners and readers. If you want to get on board, it’s patreon.com/arseblog

The preview pod will be available late afternoon, and we’ll bring you all the press conference stories over on Arseblog News. There’s also a bonus Arsenal Women Arsecast available now, looking back at the Conti Cup Final win on Sunday, as well as the Arsecast Extra below if you haven’t had a chance to listen already.

Right, that’s it for now. Have a good Tuesday folks.

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