Just play the youth, Mikel. They cannot be any worse than the expensive bunch you sent out every week and who are all just losers! Get rid of the lot of them; we will be fine.
However romantic and attractive this thought may be, it is of course a naive nonsense. It is something we can say from our armchairs and keyboards but if we were responsible, really involved in the club we would know this would never wash. I have heard people suggest to play something like this from now on (and bench or sell the rest):
Really? I like every single player of this team and have high hopes for them all, but it is a fantasy to think that they would keep us from relegation this season, let alone get us into the top six.
The Premier League is unforgiving and the standards are very high. Most(!) of the best managers in the world earn their living in the most competitive league in Europe. Most clubs have a decent amount of money to play with and have become very shrewd in buying quality players, on or off the radar. The days of Arsene finding unknown, high quality gems are truly over. Our competitors are fully attuned to the wider football world now and have put in place great management structures to make the most of their resources. Many teams have also excellent youth academies; we are not alone.
Arsenal football club, and we the fans, cannot afford to be romantic, and of course the former will not do this. We are in a huge battle to stay in the top six, let alone getting CL football or win the league. Arsenal are miles away and it is no time for dreaming, however appealing such escapism is. The only option Mikel has is to keep working with the squad, experienced and youth players, and get back to winning ways.
Who knows, the team above could well be very good in 2023 or 2024, but they really would stand little chance with the current top-ten teams, and possibly other league teams too.
I know it looks like some of the experienced players are not pulling their weight and they carry a bigger burden than the youth players in turning it round. I can see how much there is on Auba’s shoulder at the moment. He is a natural introvert and so not everybody will see how he is struggling, but I have no doubt about his commitment to this club.
There is no excuse for Granit’s action on Sunday, but, as Arteta said, this may have been down to over-eagerness and frustration rather than flippancy. He was having a committed and good game until he saw black and then red.
Elneny, Laca, Willian, Hector did really put in a shift and I saw real commitment to win the game, but we are just down at the moment and in need of a bit of luck, renewed confidence and then momentum. Over the next 12-24 months all of these players will be challenged by our young players, and that is healthy and great!
The sensible thing to do is for Arteta to make some subtle changes and yet to keep everybody reasonably happy. Again, we can have all sorts of views on this but if you are responsible like Arteta then you know you have to look after all the players – who are not just fellow human beings but also very, very expensive assets to the club. A fine balance is what it is all about.
Like many on BK – thank you all for keeping this site sane and passionate in these turbulent times – I feel a few young(ish) players are now ready to get much more PL time. AMN is so ready to make the jump, Eddie needs to play five to ten games in a row, and Balogun should be getting 30 minutes stints as a sub. Same goes for Joe and ESR, in fact they could start a few games too, but possibly not together. Nelson and Chambers should also get more opportunities.
But we will continue to rely on the return to form of the senior players, who in my opinion are all intrinsically motivated rather than mercenaries, to really get us back on track.
Inevitably, everybody is putting enormous pressure on the manager and the senior players to make it happen. With so many games coming up there is no time to breathe or think, they just have to find a way to get back to winning ways again. I believe in them, experienced and young, to get us back where we belong. VCC.