- Football Finances
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By Sir Hardly Anyone
It was completely clear from start to end that the match against Nurnberg was very much the first tryout of the season. And clear that a lot of people would pay good money to go and see Arsenal no matter what. Indeed when Arsenal used to play warm-up games before the season started in England I would go – I particularly remember games against Barnet (there was a 10-1 I think) and most particularly that first match of the pre-season for the unbeaten campaign when Arsenal lost to Peterborough. I can still remember Wenger walking around on the pitch during the pre-match warm up as if just checking on who was there…
But going to Germany for a friendly this early on… no that’s not for me. And by and large I think my decision was right. It really wasn’t very good. Saka was on form, Sablia was back, Kiwior looked good… but I had arrangements made for the evening so I left the TV early.
Yet there were things within the game that were of importance, and as it turns out from an article in the Athletic, there are things behind the scenes which makes Arsenal like Nurnberg and suggests this venue could become as regular as the old trips to Barnet.
The point of course, as we have seen by the moves for transfer deals being made early on, is the huge emphasis on getting the team ready for the first match. I’ve often wondered about clubs that are still trying to do a deal on the deadline day; it’s fine if the guy is a squad player, brought in because of a worry about injury to someone else, but for someone who is a central part of the squad… no, surely those deals should be sorted out quickly so the squad can work together.
And that is what it felt like last campaign with those opening five wins with 13 goals scored and just four conceded. After those five games Arsenal were seven points clear of fifth placed Liverpool – which is relevant since the target a year ago, you may remember, was fourth, and all the media said we would fail.
But the point was Arsenal were not still fiddling with the squad in August; most things were settled by the time of the first game.
Of course for this game in Germany things did go wrong even before kick of with Odegaard being injured in the warm up, but we still had six regulars playing, and Kiwior looked good at what we are now having to learn to call an “inverted full-back” (which simply means that sometimes instead of just rushing up the wing he sometimes moves infield to cover for a central midfielder.
As a result Gabriel would go wide and Reiss Nelson move to left wing. Goodness knows how we are going to write this up in the normal match previews.
There is also the issue of Steve Round going, and it seemed an odd time to leave. Maybe the club and assistant coach had been trying to come to an arrangement but couldn’t. Or perhaps it was just that West Ham asked for him as part of the Rice deal – for it seems that is where he has gone. But Round has always been a mover in his days as an assistant coach with eight jobs lasting an average two years two months each.
The man who now has the role of being the link between the managerial crew and the players seems to be Carlos Cuesta who I believe is to be called “assistant manager,” although Albert Stuivenberg is definitely still the main assistant during a match.
But as for Nurnberg, the report in the Athletic is that the facilities are ideal for team members getting to know each other – which is why it is also also used by the German national team. Per Mertesacker (still in charge of the academy) would have mentioned that I’m sure.
The Athletic’s reporting on this is particularly interesting…
“Last season, under-21s left-back Lino Sousa told The Athletic about the trip, where seating plans were randomly assigned. Then 17, he ended up at a table with Arteta, Stuivenberg, Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny. Arsenal Women also visited the campus last summer and left inspired by the design of certain meeting rooms.”
Apparently, Arsenal have, as a result of their experiences in Germany made changes to London Colney. Indeed Jona Eidevall, head coach of the women’s team of course, spoke particularly highly about the way the ground has rooms with round tables which tend to develop more contributions from players when meeting there.
That is interesting because any psychologist worth her/his salt will tell you the benefit of round tables (as opposed to the lecture hall approach) if you want contributions from everyone and a sense of togetherness. It is an obvious and well-known psychological point, but as has often been apparent there are still many managers in football who prefer simply to shout “get him” rather than be influenced by what they still think of a psychobabble.
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