I hope you’ve got your yellow ribbons ready, Gooners?
Two wins and two defeats from four games since the restart… not bad, but not great either, right?
I was so down after the Brighton defeat that I just wanted the season to end and to never see Maupay’s face ever again.
Back-to-back wins have since perked me up (somewhat) and with an FA Cup semi final against *checks notes* Man City on the horizon, there’s reasons to be hopeful yet!
MIXED BAG OF RESULTS
It seems like an age since that Luiz ‘disasterclass’ against Man City, doesn’t it?
Our thumping at the Etihad was a very sobering experience and a stark reminder of the size of the job Arteta has on his hands.
Still, at least we had an easy one against Brighton up next, right? Wrong…
The less said about that day, the better. In fact, the only saving grace that we can take from the defeat is that Leno’s injury isn’t as bad as we all first feared.
With our confidence on the floor, Southampton were actually the bookies favourites to beat us last Thursday. But, me being the blind optimist that I am, I still had hope that we would win… that’s right, I believed that Arsenal could beat the mighty Southampton.
Full credit to Eddie and to Willock for putting in a real shift against the Saints and getting us that much-needed win.
Oh, and also a big thank you to their keeper for his moment of madness before Eddie’s goal.
I thought the Sheffield United FA Cup win was our best performance of the restart so far.
With the exception of their hilarious equaliser, I’d say that we defended really well and there were some brilliant individual displays.
Tierney and Pepe were both magnificent on the day, and I even thought that Xhaka was a real force in our midfield too!
While it hasn’t exactly been the flawless restart that I was expecting from us, there’s been enough positives to fill me with confidence that better days are on the horizon.
If we somehow manage to get one over on City at Wembley, then FA Cup glory is a real possibility and what an achievement that would be for Arteta in his first season!
QUESTIONABLE NEW CONTRACTS
While we all wait with bated breath for news on deals for Aubameyang and Saka, the club clearly have more pressing issues to sort out.
Issues like just how much Luiz’s agent should receive as a fee in his client’s new deal.
That’s right, folks, Luiz is sticking around for one more year after the club agreed to keep him on the books not only until the end of this season, but for the new season too.
I think we’re all in agreement about what a terrible decision that is, right?
Elsewhere, there was confirmation of the permanent signing of Mari, who I don’t think that we can really have an opinion on either way yet.
He’s been so unlucky with injuries since joining us, but has looked OK whenever he’s played and so I’m not too fussed about that one.
By far the most surprising new deal of the bunch was for Cedric, who, despite not playing a single minute since joining us on loan in January, has earned himself a bumper four-year-deal. Answers on a postcard, please!
It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if whatever is going on behind the scenes with Raul, Edu and Kia Joorabchian appears on Crimewatch in a couple of years time.
Crimes against football have clearly been committed if Cedric is getting four years for doing literally nothing.
GUENDOUZI HEADED FOR THE EXIT?
Guendouzi has always been Mr Marmite – you either love him, or you hate him.
While the comparison to a divisive (and tasty) spread only ever used to be the case for rival fans, it seems as though Guendouzi is starting to divide opinion among Arsenal supporters too.
The ‘handbags’ at full-time against Brighton appears to have been the final straw for a number of you lot and also for Arteta.
Ever since his bust up(?) with Maupay, rumours have been rife that the club held an emergency meeting with Guendouzi in which both parties agreed that it might be best if there’s a separation this summer.
There’s rumours of interest from just about every top club in Europe, not least Man United and even Barcelona. Arsenal have apparently set their asking price at £40million, is that too low? I’m not quite sure.
If I’m being honest, and sorry for sitting on the fence here, I haven’t got a clue what I would do if a bid like that came in for Guendouzi.
While I would be so, so tempted to accept it, he might well end up being worth even more than that in just a couple of years, as is his undoubted potential.
What do you think we should do with Guendouzi?
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
You’ll remember in the last newsletter that I went on the sort of rant about player contracts that ArsenalFanTV would be proud of.
Well, it seems as though my words didn’t quite reach our contract gurus(?), who have let yet another one of our brightest young prospects reach the end of their deal.
You might not be too familiar with Folarin Balogun yet, but by all accounts he’s been one of our best players at U18 and U23 level for the past couple of seasons.
The 18-year-old has scored an outrageous number of goals for us and I’ve even heard whispers that the coaching staff thought Balogun would be the striker to make the step up to the first team, not Eddie.
Sadly, it looks as though Balogun will leave without ever making a first team appearance after he couldn’t agree terms on a new deal to stay.
David ‘Orny’ Ornstein has revealed that Balogun is set to be sold this summer, to save us from losing him on a free in a year’s time. The news is a real kick in the teeth, especially when you consider the lucrative new deals that we questionably dished out last week.
Best of luck to Balogun and let’s hope that this isn’t another deal that makes us look silly in a few years time… could he become ‘the new Gnabry’?