- The ten reasons why Arsenal will make more progress in 2023/4. Part 1 (the young team maturing, scoring from everywhere, transfers that work, referees dealt with)
- The ten reasons why Arsenal will continue to grow: Part 2: Players will stay
6. Merit payments and Champions League money will both help
There has been no talk of Arsenal being near the edge when it comes to financial fair play regulations, nor indeed any talk of Arsenal being short of money, and given the media’s propensity for picking such stories out of nothing, if such ideas had even one ounce of reality in them, they would surely be up and running exaggerated already.
This means that the new money from the Champions League next season will be available for transfers if Arsenal want to buy new players in. But also that will mean the desire for a larger squad can be met; it is not the money that has held that back this season, but the wish to find the right players, and give the youngsters a chance.
In this regard the undoubted brilliance of Arteta, with his clearly thought-out plans and his ability to deliver, is key. As is the presence of Edu whose contacts in Brazil, or at least in one part of Brazil is paying such dividends. Now Marquinhos looks like being added to the list (although he might need one more year out on loan), to add to Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Magalhães and Gabriel Martinelli… it is a rare collection of Brazilian talent, and there is almost certain to be more to come. After all, the team working under Edu’s guidance in Brazil is hardly likely to pack up now given that any youngster in Brazil who dreams of the Premier League is going to look at what Edu has done so far, and see who is now at Arsenal, and say “yes please”. There’s more on the player here.
7. Arsenal now has the fourth longest-serving manager in the league.
Everyone has heard stories of players who have been recruited by one manager, only to find that just as they arrive that manager is booted out and in comes a replacement who plays the game differently.
But Edu and Arteta are fixtures, even though Arteta only joined in December 2019 – just three and a half years ago. But the fact that he is the fourth longest-serving manager tells us something about the way the league is going.
Long-term, serious development is out, now it is a case of managers coming and going, at the drop of a hat, and the concept of planning is very much last decade.
What this means in practical terms for Arsenal is that the tactical plans for Arteta have been given time to be put in place, explored and matured. Compared with clubs like Tottenham and Chelsea thinking three managers a season is fine, Arsenal are running a totally different model.
And it is interesting (and to Arsenal’s advantage) that the media still don’t get it. When we look at the media’s choice for manager of the season Arteta did make the short list of six along with Guardiola, Roberto De Zerbi, Unai Emery, Eddie Howe and Marco Silva. And the commentaries around that still suggest the media really don’t understand the process, only the final achievement.
8. Regression in the media
What we have in the media is the acceptance that certain things are news (managerial changes and fantasies about transfers), while the process within clubs is not news.
Given that obsession and blindness it was not surprising that the media almost as one tipped, in the summer of 2022 tipped the top four in the league at the end of 2022/23 would be Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. One might argue that one out of four is good, but really, is it?
The fact that none of the media then apologised for such an appalling misjudgement shows how out of line with the world of football they really are which helps reduce the spotlight on Arsenal. The journalists tipped the clubs that came 5th, 12th, and 8th to come second, third and fourth – and then didn’t apologise!
That is not to say that Untold could do any better, although we did tip Arsenal to come third, based on the results of the last 35 games of last season. It really wasn’t that hard.
The point is that football reporting is based on fixations, not on any sort of analysis of what is happening now. Of course we can’t do that properly because it is more than enough for us to analyse what is happening at Arsenal, but the media is supposed to be covering the whole Premier League and yet can’t make even semi-decent predictions.
And this is to Arsenal’s benefit because it can very easily take the focus away from the club and put the pressure on others. Meanwhile, I predict that their top four predictions for 2023/4 will be Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle on the basis that… that is how it was in 2022/23. Those guys are just so unimaginative.
The series continues
- Why the media’s new statistical analyses of football is just a trick to stop you noticing what’s going on
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds