A week of goodwill… and now for the finale

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On and off the pitch, Arsenal are barely putting a foot wrong at the moment. Top of the table, a smooth passage to the 4th round of the FA Cup and talk of an imminent (and expensive) reinforcement to whet the appetite. (Strong whiff of a saga about this, with breathless updates emerging even during the writing of this post, so who the hell knows).

UPDATE: looks like that ship has now sailed. €100m is nuts.

That’s a wrap

There’s been a lot of hard work off the pitch too – some of it thanks to Arteta and the players, some of it thanks to the the club’s execs and some thanks to fan input – that has been well documented, resulting in a sea change in the matchday atmosphere. There’s a good, warm buzz at the moment, something that got another shot in the arm this week with the unveiling of the new stadium wraps. 

How good are they? The collaborative nature of the project has paid huge dividends. Arsenal’s history runs through them, but they’ve also managed to bring all the different strands together that make up modern Arsenal. Really, really impressive and I can’t wait to see them up and running. Bravo to all involved.

All or something 

The feelgood factor is such that I’ve even started watching All or Nothing. Just the six months late then – you can always count on me being ahead of the zeitgeist.

As everyone hoovered it in record time, I steadfastly and perhaps a little inexplicably couldn’t bring myself to watch it. I had a couple of doubts, I suppose. The first was that I worried I would find the reality of their existence a bit mundane, that it would smash the mystique and I might end up not warming to them especially. I was wrong about that, or at least I was if the three episodes I’ve seen are any guide. Everyone is for the most part quite engaging, some are quite quirky, and seeing their strengths and weaknesses is a nice window into the reality of being human.

The second thing holding me back was my innate dislike of cheesy management and motivational techniques. And I have to say, I do find Arteta’s methods in this show a bit awks. 

Strong memories of going to pre-natal classes with Mrs Lower (many years ago now) and worrying about being asked to sit in a circle and take my shoes off. Yes, I am that bloke.

Well anyway, it is cheesy but who’s having the last laugh? Six months on and you can see how together they are and how much everyone (except the FA) loves Arteta. Perhaps I should rub my hands together and stand in a circle with my friends a bit more. 

The elephant in the room 

Hand-rubbing vibes all round, basically, but tomorrow looms large and has the capacity for the week to be seen through a slightly different prism. A bad result wouldn’t dent the general mood for long, but it is a huge game with an awful lot at stake.

Given City’s loss today, with Utd scuttling up the rungs, a win tomorrow would be giant. But history tells us that will be a big ask – we’ve drawn twice in eight seasons there and lost the rest. We need to hit the ground running and it would be nice not to be on the wrong end of soft decisions. 

Looking forward to it? Yes and no. Not much if I’m honest, just because. Ask me again at 6.15pm tomorrow. I might love it, I might hate it.

Come on you reds!


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.