That’s the Christmas Spirit

Morning everyone and I trust you all had a Merry Pre-Boxing Day Sales Day with friends and family. The NHS is getting ready for a surge in September births after Boots website crashed due to the volume of users. Education authorities must act ahead of an increase in intake numbers five years from now.

On the Arsenal front, nada today. I was going to turn over a new leaf and be more positive about everything surrounding the club; kind of a ‘new year, new you’ way of thinking. Then I read the only writer of fortune cookies in the country suffered writer’s block. Such was his despair, he chucked his ticket in. If he can’t find any hope, what is left for the rest of us? The new way of thinking was short-lived.

The players are on a four-day rest before the trips to Palace and West Brom. I am sure Arsène despairs at facing two matches in three days and he has my sympathy. It’s this new-fangled fixture list which is taking some getting used to. Since they introduced it over 100 years ago, nobody has got to grips with it yet.

These were nightmare fixtures last season, underlining just how broken the club was and remains. Selhurst Park was the nadir, but West Brom wasn’t far behind it. Losing to either this time around isn’t unthinkable and that is a disturbing prospect.

Arsène is in tinker mode. Palace are the form team of the two with Roy Hodgson masterminding a nine-match unbeaten run, in spite of being Roy Hodgson. Our away form is worse than Watford’s; no surprise I am a little edgy about Thursday night’s game. I hope Arsène remembers it’s a Premier League match, not the Europa League.

Playing Away

We must improve on our travels otherwise the next six games will be harsh lessons. Five are away, including Forest and Chelsea in the cups. Indeed, an unfavourable draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup will make it seven in the next ten away from home. Learn the lessons quickly, mes Amis.

Elsewhere, the club must face up to questions over Alexis’ future in the next four weeks. Until the drubbings by Bayern Munich last season, he’d agreed to a new deal. Then he changed his mind, unsurprisingly.

Now, the board waits for Manchester City’s offer to come in. Every time Ivan’s email notifications ping, he glances down quickly to see if this is the moment when the decision must be made.

We’re repeatedly told of a war chest, to the point where Ornstein from the BBC staked his reputation on it. And then lost it when the club exposed the flanker it pulled. The war chest is never as big as we’re told it is which begs the question, can Arsenal afford to turn down £20m, if that is City’s offer? Any higher and I don’t think Arsène has a say in the matter.

If we had £30m to sign Lemar last summer without selling Alexis, we’re in no position to turn it down. Even less so if Mesut Özil leaves – I think he will – so we don’t have the cash to invest in replacements for both at current market prices. However, Julian Draxler has a price tag of £40m, but I’m sure PSG’s desperation to sell is such that he could cheaper. Reports claim Arsène thinks Leon Bailey is a good investment at £15m although Leverkusen are asking for double.

January has the makings of a long month, on and off the pitch.

’til Tomorrow.

33 thoughts on “That’s the Christmas Spirit

  1. No sign of V v D in Southampton’s squad today and they could really do with him, Spurs are walking through a non existent defence. Kane with two goals for both of which he was left totally unmarked in the box.

  2. Since I imagine you don’t get double time for producing a blog for us over Christmas, Yogi, may I at least offer my double gratitude? To find you stimulating my Arse-brain even at this low point of the year is a welcome sign that not every light has been switched off.

    It is night. The New Year is nearly upon us. Arsene sleeps. He dreams he is at London Colney addressing the squad. He is delivering a speech of uncommon passion and searing insight, suggesting they play their own game, release the ‘andbrake and dig into their mental strength. The boys seem to him to be riveted, drinking in his every word.

    Suddenly, away to his left, he notices the January window has swung open and an icy blast of harsh market realities rushes into the room. He sees Mesut turn and catch the eye of Alexis, who gets up and heads for the window, gesturing to Mesut to follow. Arsene feels a deep and complex panic starting to fill his veins. As his star pupils reach the window he realises two shadowy figures have come the window from the other side – they beckon to Alexis and Mesut. Could that be Stan? And is that Ivan’s blue, un-beanied head behind him?

    Arsene leaps from his chair and starts running across the room shouting “Close ze window!!” But the room seems to have grown larger and Alexis has already started to clamber through, Mesut helping him over the windowsill. While Ivan steadies himself to receive Alexis,
    Stan hops from foot to foot, translating pounds into dollars in his head. He seems happy, jolly, almost to the point of wanting to say something spontaneous.

    Arsene finally reaches the window, lays hold of Alexis by the shoulder and attempts to pull him back. But Mesut turns and looks him straight in the eye as he calmly releases Arsene’s fevered grip. “Be at peace, Boss. It’s been good to be a Gunner but we are called to higher things. You of all people must know this. We wish you well in your next life.”

    “Next life?? What next life??!” Arsene feels the energy draining out of him. He sees that while Mesut held his gaze Alexis has slipped out and is now playing keepy-uppy with Stan in the snow. They are laughing. Ivan has begun to ease Mesut over the windowsill, though Mesut still holds Arsene ‘s gaze. Arsene, feeling as though he is sinking fast in quicksand, notices Ivan looking beyond him into the room and smiling broadly. Arsene turns around. He sees almost the entire squad now standing and making its way toward the window. Only Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka remain in their seats, looking deeply uncertain…ah, and of course Theo. Ivan huffs and puffs as he hauls the players through at an impressive rate. Arsene pleads with the players to sit down again but he realises they cannot hear him.

    Bringing up the rear, Maitland-Miles turns and waves a cheerful good bye to his three remaining mates and, as he vaults neatly through the window, winks knowingly at Arsene…who wakes in a cold sweat and sits bolt upright. He glances – as he always does – at the Arsenal Manager’s Calendar of Big Dates to Frown About on his bedroom wall and does a silent calculation. “Just six more sleeps to the window”. And he shudders an involuntary shudder.

    It is 4am. He reaches for his Season Highlights 2003/04 VHS and jams it in the player…

  3. Hope all is well and everybody enjoyed their Christmas / Holiday with family and friends.

    Well unlike most, I’m back at work (fucking government) but luckily I have access to futbol so I’ll be watching that all day.

    The strangest thing about this window is that unlike most windows, teams don’t have a transfer guru hired waiting in the wings to start the day after the window closes. Anyways, if we sell Sanchez he will need to be replaced as will Ozil but so to Jack (I’m not convinced he completely wants to stay and is only talking respectably because he loves the club) then we as really in for it.

  4. I hope everyone had a fantastic day yesterday. We are on catch up again this week as we don’t get to play until Thursday. Hopefully we will turn up with some determination against Palace.
    I don’t think the gamble over Alexis has really worked out so far and we will be doubling down if we stick with him for the rest of the season. I’d hope that we cut our losses now and get some money in the coffers. It means that we also need to bring in a player who can make a difference for the rest of the season, but we probably should have been aspiring to that any way. I think I’d stick with Ozil for now unless someone offers decent money, but that means bringing in another player and I just don’t see us bringing in the players we need in January.

  5. It will be interesting to see what line-ups Arsene goes with as I could see him playing a strong team against Palace and then rotating heavily against West Brom.

  6. C,

    So it’s a fucking government that pays you whilst you watch football?…..pretty good deal you’re on mate😉
    I couldn’t do that.

  7. Another year almost at a close-a massive thank you to you YW for providing us all with something sensible to read each day about our beloved club…..you need a fucking medal.
    I’ve treated myself to a nice little prezzy that allows me to access all our games….ALL our games…even 3 o’clock starters…it works brilliantly.
    I swore after the Caraboa cup game against West Ham…after Arsenal player kept stopping ,that I didn’t want to miss anymore games…even though it’s a form of self harm.
    Jingle bollocks to each and every one of you 👍⚽️👍

  8. This team has no prospects of future. Half the team is going away………..
    Alexis and Ozil are as good as gone.
    Mertsaker retiring not that he’s playing.
    Koscileny and Monreal are over 31 or 32.
    Walcott is useless and Wilshere may go as well.
    Giroud if not in January then he’s most likely gone at the end of the season.
    Cazorla not even a possibility to play, if he ever does it will be for a game or two to say Goodbye.
    And of course we will have the usual Barcelona suspect in the summer (Bellerin).

    So guess what we will be doing next year? REBUILDING A TEAM

    For the Zillion times and now with no money except the fictitious War Chest that we hear about every year and usually it turns out it’s a chest full of bologna.

    Rebuilding again with Mr. Wenger and we all know how that goes. A bargin bought, after market players that he will not know how to get any good use of and there we go again….

    I’m coining the new phrase:

    “Stability Brings Contempt” …………That one is for you Wenger, Merry Christmas and happy new year buddy.

  9. Evening all,

    Hope you’ve had a nice Christmas. Been watching some of the games today like C and more than ever I feel that we’re stuck in a rut.

    Its rinse and repeat ad nauseam. Very tedious but a new year gives new hope. I think we’re about to see change🙂.

  10. C,

    Hi C, thank my friend….I hope you did the same 🙂

    Sorry if my look on the Arsenal Future seems bleak a little 🙂

  11. C,

    It is hard to believe how far we are falling down the table and playing crappy football while at it.

    Even in our worst times we still played better football than this. After this Liverpool first half, I totally dislike anyone associated with the running or managing of this club.

  12. Swansea is really a dreadful team now. Sanches doesn’t play anymore because there was a managerial change.

    I think unlike Southampton, Swansea haven’t been able to deal with the bigger clubs constantly buying their players and the high turn-over. The owners sacking managers didn’t help either.

  13. Wow 4 – 0 down

    At least Liverpool knows they have one problem, the defense…..We have one problem too, it’s called the Manager.

  14. G4E,

    Yea it is strange that the futbol and how much joy we played with has changed. The sad thing is that when the boys do decide to really turn it on and almost seem to ignore the manager (i.e. shots from long range, quicker tempo, etc.) we play our best futbol capable of going from slow passing to quicker tempo and chances with the snap of a finger.

    The thing with Liverpool is that we have the players to play like that and at tempo but I think the lack of identity is really killing things.

  15. C,

    If I’m not mistaken, the identity comes from the Manager…..We already know Arsenal Football Club identity.

    I think his departure from keeping the starting XI playing all the time as a unit to please all players, is what actually pisses off players and makes them not want to give for this manager.

    Like playing The OX at Liverpool when everyone knew he was leaving. Like playing Alexis despite being shit recently. Taking off Lacazette to give Giroud play time.

    If a player is not committed to the Club, they don’t get to play till the commit or fuck off…..There’s no in-between.

  16. G4E,

    True, the identity does come from the manager but with no defined style or playing identity we have suffered.

    I agree, the departure from keeping his starting XI regardless of form doesn’t make any sense nor does his substitutions but its where he has decinded into, sort of a trying to re-invite the wheel.

    I mean you could even point to anytime we are behind bringing Lacazette off, the fact that Iwobi continues to play. Or how about the whole midfield situation.

    There isn’t an in-between which is strange given Arsene himself only has 1 year left.

  17. C,

    All I know my friend is that he lost it, in fact he lost it a long time ago. We still think Arsene will “Make Arsenal Great Again”.

    He’s not, if judging by what’s going around in the World right now, he’s taking us back to the stone ages.

    And who suffers? You and I, not him with his Millions in the bank.

  18. What will be interesting to watch is this whole Giroud transfer situation. He wants to start but shouldn’t and won’t and apparently Big Sam has been talking about it as reports fly around with Giroud and his agent wanting crunch talks with Arsene and then having “continued” conversations with Everton.

    “I wouldn’t have thought [Giroud would move] as he refused to come last time,” he said, referring to Everton’s ultimately unsuccessful courtship of the France international in the summer.

    “As far as I know he doesn’t want to move north of Watford, well his wife doesn’t want to anyway. It’s very important to the wives, believe you me. Normally they are the bosses.”

  19. G4E,

    Funny thing is, most people don’t think he can make Arsenal great again, I actually think that most people think and know he is past it but Arsene and the BoD thinks he is capable of it.

    Its crazy because we literally don’t lack talent we lack identity and leadership. World futbol is passing us by but the thing is, end of the day we support the club and we hope that the club becomes great again.

    Yup, we will suffer but we will also enjoy the wins and the times we see Arsenal playing like we know they can.

  20. The grass is not always greener on the other side: Ancelloti sacked for driving Bayern down, Klopp who is considered by many then as one of the best has not taken Liverpool anywhere. No trophy either for Liverpool or Tottenham. Mourhinho is struggling, so also Conte. I think we are being sucked in by the belief that without Wenger we will win the league at first attempt. We have won three FA Cup in four years, yet we are considered not good at all. May be you are right. As right as the promoters of brexit. We enter the fifth gear with our brain in reverse. If we can buy a good defensive midfielder that can break the opponents play, refuse them to play and initiate attack we should be OK.

  21. > I think we are being sucked in by the belief that without Wenger we will win the league at first attempt.

    No, Steve. No, we’re not. We know it’s going to take at least four transfer windows for a new manager to put together a balanced squad given the state Wenger is likely to leave the club in.

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