Following a pretty decent start to the season for Arsenal, which sees them ahead of Manchester United in the league table, we caught up with Just Arsenal editor Patrick McLaughlin.
We typically do a Q&A with the opposition ahead of each mate, so it was time to reach into the Arsenal contacts page and find Patrick’s email address.
There’s a lot to talk about at Arsenal at the moment, so you may want to take a visit to Patrick’s blog – Just Arsenal – and follow the leading Arsenal publication on Twitter.
Let’s start with a big (small?) one – Mikael Arteta. Are you convinced he is the man to bring the glory days back to Arsenal?
Patrick: “I think that for most Arsenal fans the jury is still out on this. Arteta has certainly steadied the ship for now, but the fact remains that very few of us truly believe he can really get us to the top again. The fact that he has been here for two years, patience is running thin and nothing less than a top six place will be enough to stop the knives coming out again.”
I watched an interview with Josh Kroenke on Sky Sports last month and he talked more about getting Arsenal back into the top four rather than challenging for titles. Then I heard Jack Wilshere praise him immediately after. Have your expectations as a fan dropped that much?
Patrick: “The usual refrain is that Wenger was sacked for ‘only’ getting top four, so that is now the absolute minimum requirement, but Arsenal fans will never be happy unless we are challenging for the title. But no one believes that Kroenke has the ambition nor Arteta has the ability. But some of us live in hope.”
Do you think Arsenal will finish ahead of United this season?
Patrick: “Right now I think yes, but outside of the top three, it is anyone’s guess at the moment, and Rangnick may be your saviour, or not. It’s all up in the air as far as I’m concerned.”
Who has been your best player?
Patrick: “Most definitely Saka, although Ramsdale is running him close at the moment.”
Paul Merson has been writing off Ralf Rangnick already. How much weight does his opinion carry among Arsenal fans?
Patrick: “Merson is not much respected by Arsenal fans, he seems to just be a rentagob nowadays. Hopefully he will get over his problems and talk sense one day, but I’m not holding my breath.”
Patrick: “It’s always tough for Arsenal at Old Trafford, but I think we’ll get a draw… 1-1 for me. Good luck!”
Thanks to Patrick for taking the time to answer our questions.
I suspect Arsenal more sitting back from Arsenal than what we are used to.
United have more than enough quality to take three points from this encounter.