West Ham and the Captain Debacle: Waffling by Jahid
By Jahid Islam
Bonjour, readers of We Love you Arsenal! It’s Jahid (@JahidFullStop) back with another piece, this time looking at the significance of the win against West Ham for our season in the context of all that captaincy bs, plus the race for top four.
Where do we start? If you want an in-depth tactical breakdown, check out Alfie’s excellent piece on it. I’m gonna try to avoid repeating what he’s talked about by instead waffling on about the stuff off the pitch.
Starting roughly 2-or-so-yards off it with the manager’s technical area. Now I know you all saw Teta and his coaching staff losing their shit at every possible opportunity. They were animated, to say the least. Like one of them clickbait-ey and cartoony YouTube videos you put on to distract a younger cousin.
I don’t think they ever sat down. They must’ve been trying to get their daily steps in or something. That or they’ve had too many sweets.
This abundance of energy seemed to have translated to the pitch. All of the players you’d expect to press from the front did so exceedingly effectively. It was a truly disciplined and effective press that suffocated that West Ham style of play down the middle, with Antonio’s threat neutralised by cutting off most of the supply to him. He had to move out to the wings at one point. That’s when you know you’re doing something well. I could sense this was going to happen, so I benched him in my FPL!
Anyways, two fantastic goals by two prodigious players in Martinelli and The Smith signify not just a promising long-term future built off of promising young talent, but also potential success this season, right now, through possibly achieving a top four finish for the first time in what feels like forever.
I know what you’re going to say, and loads of other rival fans have said it. “You’re only in the top 4 because you’ve faced weak sides” or “You’ve only got a + 1 goal difference so you don’t deserve to be up there”.
I’ll tell you one thing; that West Ham victory has shown that we deserve our position in the table. In the past, we’ve always slipped and lost points to weaker sides, through silly defensive errors and underestimating the opposition. A bit like Anthony Joshua when he lost to Andy Ruiz a while back.
Maximising the points gained from facing weaker sides is a pre-requisite for any good domestic campaign, and whilst there have been some really god-awful games against the top 3 sides, the only result that I was completely baffled with was the 2-1 loss to Everton. Maybe also that Utd game, but this season’s been full of good results against other sides that are also vying for those European spots, including against West Ham on Wednesday.
I wholeheartedly believe we can get top 4 this season, especially if we address the centre forward situation in January. Speaking of which, let’s divert our attention to Auba….
Look, I'm not going to give you reasons for or against Teta’s decision. Rob’s written a fantastic article on it which I implore you to check out. But it’s happened. Auba’s no longer our captain, and Arteta’s been vaguer than a University course specification list when talking about who he wants as his next el Capitán. Instead, he talks about a ‘leadership team’, which of course he would! This dude is as unconventional as a Medical student who studied Philosophy at A levels for fun.
But just like that student, it could turn out to be a fantastic move. By involving multiple players in the decisions of the team, they’re all culpable for the success or failures, and thus have extra incentive to perform better. As if the salary or adoration wasn’t enough, eh!
There can only be one dude with the armband of course. Otherwise I’d feel sorry for the kit-man having to print all those rainbow-coloured armbands for several members of the team, and even more so for the opposition captain when he goes for the coin toss and gets confronted by 6 lads decked out in the Arsenal Red and White.
But there’s so many leaders in that Arsenal squad who each pose a genuine claim to Auba’s forced abdication from the throne. I have been binge-watching ‘The Crown’ since I’ve come back from Uni recently so I'm sorry for the dramatisation.
Ramsdale’s become a fan favourite almost instantly, Benjamin Blanco too. His centre-back partner Gabriel as well. Fuck it. Anyone in that entire defence could wear the armband and I’d be happy.
I probably say this nearly every week, but I don’t envy the position Arteta’s been put in. It’s entirely one of his own creation, but still a difficult decision to say the least. Like King Edward VIII when he left the monarchy for Wallis Simpson, again, if you know you know!
I’ve been Jahid (@JahidFullStop) for We Love You Arsenal! Thanks for reading, and i'll catch you in the next one! Ba-bye!