Gooner Daily: Smells Like Team Spirit

Happy days at London Colney

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I was having a delve through the more recent offerings on the treasure vault that is club photographer Stuart MacFarlane’s excellent Flickr account and was struck by the sheer number of smiling faces in his photos of Arsenal players during training at London Colney. Not that there weren’t smiles in recent seasons, but the proliferation of them suggests there is a great deal of enjoyment between the players whilst they are training under Unai Emery. Maybe there is a bit more fun in the sessions the head coach and his team lay on, even though reputedly, the players train far more than they did under Arsene Wenger.

Of course, it may also be simply down to MacFarlane’s selection of which shots to use, but the sheer number of smiling faces seem to counter this. Winning certainly lifts the mood, no question about that. Equally, the squad appear more a unit this season, with no sulking faces. There were stories that Alexis Sanchez did not get on with too many of his colleagues in the latter period of his time at Arsenal, reputedly evidenced by some of them not celebrating his goals with him, nor indeed him celebrating those of others.

How much does this matter? Whether or not players will get along can be as random as meeting women on foreign dating sites, and how is a club to know ahead of bringing in a new arrival whether or not they will gel? I recall Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham did not get on at all at Manchester United, although they did not always play together, with Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being their regular strike partners – Cole and Yorke would start matches with the latter two replacing them from the bench. Yet even when they were paired they developed enough of a relationship on the pitch to bring success.

However, from my distant memories as a Sunday pub team player, I recall that when mates played in tandem, they tended to play better. There was a natural empathy between them and they were more willing to go the extra yard for each other. The undoubted bond that exists between Aubameyang and Lacazette, recently joined by Matteo Guendouzi is something of a contrast between, for example, that of Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Adebayor – strike partners who, on occasion, would not even pass to each other.

At the end of the day, players that get on are less likely to bring each other down when adversity does happen. The blame culture is not healthy for moving forward in a positive manner, although accountability is necessary and can exist without people falling out. It’s interesting to see Mesut Ozil smiling a lot in the training shots. This does not suggest a great deal of resentment about the reality that his deal pays him at least twice as much as his colleagues (a quirk whereby renewals of star players more or less include an amount akin to a percentage of a transfer fee, simply to save the cost of a replacement).

The other thing that will assist with the mood in the camp is that the manager does not seem to have real favourites, so everyone will feel like they are being treated fairly. If you are a second stringer, a good display in a cup game can lead to a Premier League start, as we evidenced against Fulham last Sunday. So no one feels marginalised as long as the manager is seen to be fair and reward good form. There develops an appreciation that the team is more important than the individual, perhaps something that wasn’t happening with Sanchez or previous wantaways. The celebrations during games when the team has scored confirm this.

It’s my belief that a group of players that enjoy being together and their work are generally going to produce better results. The midfield quartet in 2007-08 of Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini and Rosicky were very socially tight and produced great things until Rosicky, and then Flamini got injured. In the end, that lack of continued unity saw the team fall short at the business end of the season. So let’s hope the current squad stay fit, and happy.

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  1. mbg

    Oct 17, 2018, 20:49 #112431

    markymark, yes TOF proves us all right yet again, although his ego will have taken a beating he has lost none of his arrogance in doing so, we knew and were saying it for years he ran the show from top to bottom, me me me never a team player, and he failed miserably but it still doesn't stop the arrogant c**t spouting off, has he no shame ? Obviously not.

  2. mbg

    Oct 17, 2018, 19:57 #112430

    So the specialist in failure has made an appearance to tell those who will/want to listen anyway he's coming back in January, to take up one of these numerous offers, not saying who or where of course, but still with his usual sly smirk and grin as if it's some big secret only he knows, and he's still coming out with his tired old I believe crap (remember that ? everything was, I believe i believe, he was the only one who did lol) what's the betting when the 1st of January comes it'll be postponed (maybe until May) I just hope and pray it's a long way away and not in England so we'll not have to listen to his tired old droning again, and see that sickening smirk and grin. Why couldn't TOF just stay out of sight out of mind like he's been doing. But I suppose on the bright side depending on the club it will give us the chance to sing wenger we want you to stay, and the wenger moonies and other wengerites the chance to follow him and support another team.

  3. markymark

    Oct 17, 2018, 18:46 #112429

    Let this one sink in “No, I was very fortunate to lead the club and make the decisions myself. I’ve done over 300 transfers, dealing with all the contracts myself. No manager in England today makes a single transfer” So Wenger just admitted virtually every contract at Arsenal was down to him. Therefore the good news is that any new contract will actually be carried out by a professional not a delusional amateur

  4. markymark

    Oct 17, 2018, 18:28 #112428

    Gooner.ed - yep I see your point. Apologies from me and I will be careful moving forward

  5. GoonerRon

    Oct 17, 2018, 10:09 #112427

    It does seem to be a happy place which is great to see. Hopefully having a good number of players in training over the international break gives us a chance to work on some areas whilst getting some rest in ahead of a busy week next week.

  6. gooner.ed

    Oct 17, 2018, 07:24 #112426

    Markymark - TOOAW was banned due to the repercussions of a post made back in June that was missed at the time, but was bad enough to warrant a retrospective ban. Badarse fell foul of the zero tolerance policy on personal abuse. That policy still applies, so please be careful. You can be critical of the opinions and the stance of others, but just do not stray off their opinions about football in your comments.

  7. markymark

    Oct 16, 2018, 19:38 #112425

    Amusing to see Tony Attwood trying to post All goodness and light when underneath he is seething. Where is the Football is an ART Tony? Thought it was on permanent display. Anyway he’s provided a most entertaining read and amusing to see an AKB battle from afar as they throw their dummies out of a Pram. I wonder if Badarse will appear on their? I spotted a ToOaW post on their around the 9th of September . The loser hasn’t posted since.

  8. mbg

    Oct 16, 2018, 18:07 #112424

    I see the specialist in failure has popped up to give Henry advice on Monaco, he has lost everything else apart from his sense of humour anyway, i'd like to think Henry is bright enough and has more sense than to take advice from an old fraud like him, and anyway i'd have thought the manager who could have his pick of clubs in Europe would have been odds on for that job, or even a shoo in anyway, I wonder was he even approached or even considered, I suppose Monaco know what he's like and seen through him like everybody else.

  9. mbg

    Oct 16, 2018, 12:41 #112422

    jj, yes the wenger moonies would have loved it if Unai had flopped and we'd all turned against him they'd have been ecstatic, it's just what they wanted and were waiting for (the we told you so's would have been deafening)just what they slagged off and accused the WOB of doing, and kept telling them to f**k of down the lane for, what hypocrites every last one of them. Come on Arsenal come on Unai.

  10. mbg

    Oct 16, 2018, 12:13 #112421

    I'd say they even have a bounce in their step coming into training now without the same old same old tired regime and long out of date coaching (if any)etc,etc, with proper coaching now and new ideas etc from a new young manager/coach.

  11. jjetplane

    Oct 16, 2018, 11:38 #112420

    Over on Untold today yesterday's editor Atwood wonders if fans know what they mean by We got our Arsenal back! Still beating the drum for Mista Wenger (sic) and no real happiness at the present situation. They are still boring on with the media hates us bollocks but all I see is media talking Unai's Arsenal up. What's happened with the AKBs is their leader was shown the door and the new man has been wholly embraced by Arsenal supporters. They really have nothing to fall back on other than reams of referee reports and how ****ing sad is that. Fun to read their daily squirming and how transparently unhappy they are with Unai's Red Armeeeee .... Yep, evryone at Arsenal is happy except perhaps for hard done by Mesut and Aaron. That last Europa win saw Mesut do a Sanchez with the Guendouzi goal. Interesting monitoring ahead. Well done England boys for doing Spain away. Another freshening up project.


    Oct 15, 2018, 18:40 #112419

    Fitness improved, skills improved, tactics introduced (shock horror), proper pre-match preparation & a very obvious bond developing between the players & the support team - what's not to like?

  13. mbg

    Oct 15, 2018, 16:53 #112418

    Yes there were a lot smiling happy faces photographed before alright but the majority for show i'd bet, just like everything else that was false during wengers reign, now though i'd bet the majority are real, the players like the fans have been invigorated, given a new lease of life with the sacking of wenger and installation of a proper manager, in short actually given something to laugh and smile about again.