I don’t know exactly what’s changed since COVID 19, but it appears that the new trend without crowds is to host games in complete secrecy. Information regarding Arsenal’s pre-season friendly games against QPR and Aston Villa were treated like some form of a covert military operation. With no streaming allowed and with reports scarce, information was strictly on a need to know basis, which I acknowledge is ludicrous.
After the 3-2 loss to Aston Villa, social media was full of negative comments from supporters livid at the result, but these fixtures are throw-away games that are designed to gauge the fitness and desire of the players available to Arteta.
Incidentally, Arsenal were minus several players due to international commitments, which should provide some comfort to those who have decided to react like hormonal teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather win every game but the level of unrest in a meaningless pre-season friendly was completely unnecessary.
We live in a world of instant gratification and it appears, that even with Arsenal collecting two trophies against the odds, with some sublime performances, it still isn’t enough. GROW UP FOR GOD’S SAKE!
Arteta hasn’t finished with the changes, he knows what he needs and for those poor, deluded souls that think Arsenal are the finished article, perhaps, they should reach for the smelling salts and drink more coffee. Progress is being made but as I’ve said before, Klopp and Guardiola took around three years to assemble their current sides and invested millions in the process. Neither manager received the level of criticism and scrutiny that Arteta has.
Is Arsenal in better shape under this Spaniard than the last? Hell yes! But, he’s looking for the heart of the squad with at least two players that can turn losses into draws or wins, and in a highly competitive league and transfer market, that’s not going to be easy.
Ceballos has returned to North London and I suspect that this time, there is an option to buy which has not been confirmed but Arteta still needs to find additional support. All this secrecy is a poke in the eye for supporters who are desperate for news of incoming players and the long-awaited signature of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which I’m assured, will be announced soon.
Arsenal’s head honcho Vinai Venkatesham spoke of greater transparency, but it appears that we are exactly where we were before. At best, there’s even less information forthcoming which may explain the gigantic overreaction to the pre-season friendly against Aston Villa.
According to RMC Sport via Metro, Arsenal are chasing down Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and I’m told that another bid has been tabled, but it’s a complex combination of add-ons to get to the price that the French club expect. Arsenal are still linked with Thomas Partey but the deal is drifting because of the amount of upfront cash required to tip the transfer.
If anything, at this point, an agreement for Houssem Aouar seems more likely with more meetings planned next week, which could see the attacking midfielder in Arsenal colours within the next week or so. Expect more outgoings in the days ahead as Arsenal attempt to balance the books and free up the wages to tie down Aubameyang and bring in fresh faces.
In short, Arsenal’s current cat and mouse game with supporters is a PR disaster and for those that didn’t get any information, such as it was on either pre-season friendly game, I’ll try to give you something.
Against QPR, Arsenal edged the game 4-3 with goals from Lacazette, Smith-Rowe, John-Jules, and Aubameyang, but it’s also said that the excellent Miguel Azeez was in the squad but was only given a brief run out. After the game, Arsenal went into information lockdown and QPR produced a report on the game that excludes any details regarding Arsenal’s players. The proverbial ‘Blood out of Stone!’
Against Aston Villa, Aubameyang scored twice including a penalty and the long-forgotten Mesut Ozil got a surprising run out. You probably remember Mesut Ozil for his earnings rather than his performances and assists. Football is a strange old game, is it not.