Despite Arsenal’s midweek success in the second rate Carabao Cup competition it remains that there have been no Premier League wins and no goals for Arsenal this season. However, Mikel Arteta still retains the backing of the board of directors at the Emirates.
Whereas the fans are rapidly turning against the coach, the directors partly blame COVID-19 for ruining their start to the season. It is true that Arteta has not been able to field his strongest team as yet. Arsenal have been without their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and striker Alexandre Lacazette because of COVID. £50 million signing Ben White is missing from the defence because of the virus and Willian also has COVID however he is likely to return to Brazil. Critics point out that Arsenal are their own worst enemy because they made the same mistake with Aubameyang as they made with Mesut Ozil, both being hugely overpaid at £350k a week. That makes any player difficult to sell although I am told the club would listen to serious offers. Arteta and Aubameyang have had a difficult relationship at times and the Arsenal dressing room is far from a happy place at the moment. Some of the players say Arteta is difficult to communicate with and he spends too much time with a small select group of his favourite players. Last weekend Arteta could be seen constantly shouting instructions to Emile Smith Rowe to play further up the pitch. This should have been sorted out in training and the pre-match briefing. Smith Rowe was confused and stood staring at Arteta, not sure what to do, which underlines that the manager and his players are not on the same wave length. It must always be remembered that Arteta came to prominence as No2 to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. A world class manager and a world class team. Perhaps the truth is that Arteta was shielded by the quality around him and he is not good enough for the Premier League. Arteta wants a new right back which will mean losing Hector Bellerin and Arsenal are lining up an approach for Kieran Trippier. Despite Arteta talking up his Arsenal team they were booed off the pitch at both half time and full time against Chelsea. He was confronted in the club car park and had to drive through a shouting group of fans who were clearly upset by their team’s poor display against Chelsea. Even the fans realised that playing with a flat back four against Chelsea was the wrong tactic. The Blues should have played with Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka as wing backs and Tierney was exposed in a back four. He played too close to his centre backs which allowed Chelsea’s Reece James a lot of freedom to work with Lukaku. Arteta is under considerable pressure and this weekend faces Manchester City and that could easily mean no more points and no goals again.
- Azeez Muhammed: I revived players’ confidence to save Katsina Utd from relegation
- NRC’s 90 year-old pioneer MD lauds FG’s standard gauge project
Moyes succeeding with West Ham
Before the season began West Ham manager David Moyes was irritated that many observers said his team benefitted more than most last season by playing at home in an empty stadium. Moyes set up his team to play in tight spaces and with a defensive edge and created their scoring chances from counter attacks. Usually fans encourage their teams to attack all the time but in an empty stadium they could not be heard. Against Leicester on Monday evening, in front of a full London Stadium, Moyes did send his players out to attack and they constantly overwhelmed Leicester in the 4-1 win. West Ham are the only PL club not to have spent money on new signings and Moyes is convinced that his most important priority was keeping Declan Rice. In Michail Antonio the Hammers have a tough, aggressive forward who scores goals and during the match he broke Paolo Di Canio’s West Ham record of 47 goals in the Premier League. Moyes still hopes to bring in Jesse Lingard from Man United and Kurt Zouma from Chelsea before Tuesday’s transfer deadline. Zouma wants first team football but has fallen down the Chelsea pecking order. A £26 million fee has been agreed however West Ham are stalling over Zouma’s demand of £125k a week which would make him the Hammers highest paid player and that is not going to happen.
Four reasons Kane is staying at Spurs
After all the hype and uncertainty Harry Kane is staying at Tottenham for the foreseeable future. There are several reasons why which I can explain to you. 1). Harry is a genuinely nice guy and he would not formally request a transfer from the club he has supported all his life. His hope was that a deal could be done without any bad feeling. 2). His advisors are his immediate family such as his brother Charlie. If he had an experienced agent such as Mino Raiola his negotiating tactics would have been much stronger in dealing with Chairman Daniel Levy. 3). Daniel Levy is a tough negotiator. Harry signed a lucrative contract three years ago but he didn’t include a release clause…that shows a lack of professional advice. Levy seized on that fact because Harry’s contract worked to the club’s advantage. Levy stuck to his position of demanding at least £150 million for the striker. 4). The Manchester City owners from Abu Dhabi want to be accepted by footballing authorities and did not want to become involved in legal battles over the financial fairplay rules. Having bought Jack Grealish for £98 million they were in a difficult position and that is one reason why they did not agree to pay £150 million. They certainly have the cash and very deep pockets. And so Harry will be staying for the time being and knowing the kind of man he is, he might be disappointed but that won’t stop him giving his all to Tottenham this season. What happens next year in the transfer window will be most interesting if Kane’s trophy cabinet remains empty because as new Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku said when he joined the Blues, “Scoring goals is beautiful but winning trophies is what sets you apart.”
Willock feels loved at Newcastle
Joe revealed why he has turned his back on Arsenal and signed a six-year deal with Newcastle. He missed the deadline last Sunday but lines up against Southampton this weekend. Steve Bruce was full of praise for his club for “going above and beyond” during the COVID epidemic which has caused a cash crisis. The Toon paid £25 million for Joe who said the possibility of playing in front of 52,000 fans excited him. He said, “When I left here in the summer I felt I had left a piece of me behind. I wanted to come back here and sign permanently. The main reason I came back is because the manager and fans showed me love and wanted me so badly. I felt that sense of homely feeling about this club. It was not easy to leave the Gunners who were my boyhood club since I was four and half.”
Solskjaer admits burning out Fernandes
Ole Gunner Solskjaer has admitted he might have played Bruno Fernandes too often last season. The energetic, aggressive midfielder suffered burn-out at the end of the season. The 26 year-old played more games than any other at Old Trafford with 51 games started and seven coming off the bench. The Portugal playmaker scored 28 goals and assisted with 18 more. Solskjaer says he has Anthony Martial back from injury, a reignited Jesse Lingard and new signing Jadon Sancho, all of whom will relieve Fernandes. “I have a lot more to work with now,” said Solskjaer. A fit and more muscled Donny van De Beek has impressed teammates and trainers with his pre-season work and Solskjaer added, “He had last season to learn about English football and he’s used the summer well.”