Thursday 11 August 2022

All or Nothing: Arsenal episode 5

I found this a little disappointing compared to episode 4. I'm not sure why, as it was still riveting viewing.

In this one, Auba is finally out of the door, breaking club rules again as he arrives in Barcelona ahead of a deal that only goes through at literally the eleventh hour.

Arteta comes out of it as a dignified leader, and Edu is a realist, telling Barca that they're living in 'Disneyland' if they're trying to tell him that Auba is simply in the city to see his family. Apparently, Auba should have been training alone at Arsenal, at the time.

Another thing that's come out of this for me is Lacazette, an unsung hero. During the January goal drought, it was the Frenchman who set up Gabriel for the only goal at Wolves.

In the previous episode, I felt Laca's contribution was underplayed. I'm not sure why. It was like he was being airbrushed out of history to some extent, a bit like Sead Kolacinac, who is on screen for the briefest of moments: blink and you miss it. Then, he's gone, leaving the club during the winter transfer window.

Granit Xhaka made me laugh, though, when he was trying to get Saka to say 'thank you' to him. It was about another silly red card that the Switzerland international picked up. It was a reckless challenge and he had to walk for it. In the end, Xhaka accepted the blame, but it was a lighthearted moment and made me realize why Granit is loved by his teammates: the guy is real character.

I do worry that Granit never learns, especially after the silly opening day yellow card against Palace. A lot of fans are trying to say he didn't deserve to be booked, but we all know fake diving always get carded, so where's the controversy?

One thing Arsenal fans will be more sure of, after watching this episode, is how much Granit cares about the club. The viewers can see what a lovely family he has too and surely appreciate him more, especially if he can stop getting sent off.

On that note, I felt sorry for Martinelli, who picked up two soft yellows in this episode. The truth is: justice is often harsh on Arsenal, but maybe that develops a siege mentality that makes the club stronger. Like George Graham before him, Arteta seems to thrive on that.

Therefore, despite the setbacks, only a fool would back against Arsenal reaching the heights of yesteryear again, even though this episode saw a massive clear-out of players.

It appears the club policy now is to do a lot of business in the summer and leave the winter window alone in regard to new signings. They see winter signings as an admission of summer failure. I never thought of it like that before, but I can understand their reasoning.

I think the next episode is going to painful, but entertaining, no doubt.

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