My fiancé Susan and Elvis, our dog, have nearly become immune to the Farmer Phil YouTube channel being streamed from my phone at night to the television in the bedroom. Now read on…
As a trade off, this Manchester United fan didn’t mind watching the Arsenal: All Or Nothing documentary series on Prime. Having said that, it didn’t take much bargaining from her indoors as I hardly need much persuasion to peruse something of a sporting nature.
Especially, as it happens, if the content on offer happens to be as this excellent offering is – a fly on the wall view of Arsenal’s season as Mikel Arteta begins the formative stages of his career in management. The Spaniard was, of course, a top class and highly influential midfielder with Arsenal and Everton.
Thereafter, he served the best managerial apprenticeship a perspective manager could, working in tandem with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Yet it was hardly a shock when those in the corridors of power at The Emirates Stadium would come calling their former player when the services of Unai Emery were dispensed with.
Viewed through a certain lense, Arteta has re-invigorated The Gunners. Mostly through the perfornances of younger players like Kieren Tierney, Emille Smith-Rowe, Martin Odergaard, Bukayo Saka and custodian Aaron Ramsdale.
Yet, even from the viewpoint of an outside observer, in a ferociously results driven business, the fact remains that the manager is now in his third season and a club with the expectations of those in North London, trophies will be a necessity fairly rapidly.
To that end, in my view Arteta hasn’t helped himself, some of the time anyway. Banishing your Captain, best and most important player just for being late to training is pure lunacy. Particularly at a time when they had no intention or means of replacing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
Don’t tell me the Gabon forward’s goals wouldn’t have made a difference, especially given the flimsy margin by which Arteta’s team missed out on European football this season.
Mind you, he does deserve considerable credit by the same token. Those who Arsene Wenger once made invincible were languishing eons away from where a club of their status should be domiciled in the Premier League table.
Furthermore, though the manager caused the problem with Aubameyang himself, he had the gumption to realise exiling the striker had been counterproductive when placed against the finite margins by which his team missed out on Europe.
Thus, unlike other entities who remain in a sad, pitiful, embarrassing state, he identified his main target – Gabriel Jesus – and completing the pursuit. So far, the Gunners boss has been vindicated in his acquisition of the Brazilian forward and he can thank Jesus as the goals have started to flow again following the counterproductive decision to defenestrate with the services of the now-Barcelona striker.
Just how far Arteta’s army can go only time will tell, but, knowing the fluid, attractive brand of football Arsenal tend to play, it should be very entertaining finding out.