Opposition Talk: ‘Arteta has steadied the ship after a shaky start for Arsenal’

Declan Rice (WHU) at the EPL match Arsenal v West Ham United, at the Emirates Stadium, London, UK on 19th September, 2020. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

Ahead of our visit to the Emirates, we caught up with Arsenal supporter Dominic Mensah

How do you think your team will get on this season?

After a rocky start where we weren’t in a good way at all, we are now looking more stable and solid with a style of play. Starting to see a consistent first XI and the new signings settling.

What were your thoughts at the start of the season with fans and pundits saying Arteta out?

I understood where they were coming from. After the first three games, I’ll be honest, I was like maybe this isn’t working. I was still disappointed at last season overall and the way we went out of the Europa League last season personally. Things have settled more and unity behind the team and manager is important if we are going to move forward. We aren’t going to win every game but as long as we see fight and signs of progression every time we play, that’s something the fans can get behind.

So what is success this season for Arsenal: A trophy or qualifying for Europe?

Qualifying for Europe more so than a trophy for me this season. Trophies are always nice, but I think in order for us to attract a higher calibre of player and move forward as a club, Europe is more helpful.

What are your thoughts on AFTV: Are they good or bad for the club?

I think they are a good thing. They’ve given so many fans a platform to have their voices heard. People saying they want Arsenal to fail so they get more money is rubbish – they follow the team everywhere; win, lose or draw. Of course, there may be some that have reactionary or over-the-top views, but every fan base has fans like that. It’s an authentic platform overall built from the ground up and doing big things.

Has Ramsdale’s great start to the season surprised you?

He has surprised me massively. I can’t lie, I was one of the fans thinking: ‘ £26 million on Ramsdale? I’m not sure on this one’, but what a revelation he has been so far. Everything we need in a goalkeeper and still so young.

As it’s Mark Noble’s last season do you have any vivid memories of him playing against your team?

The only memory I have is that he could have been an Arsenal academy player when a scout took him over to Arsenal. Noble turned it down as travelling from Canning Town to North London would have been a nightmare of a journey.

Also Dominic, I can’t not ask you about Saka; What were your thoughts on him missing that penalty in the Euros final?

I am a massive England fan so I was properly gutted for him. As a fellow black man, I also knew what was coming for Saka on social media especially. Still so disgusting and unacceptable for fans to treat any black player like that. Respect to Saka, Sancho and Rashford for stepping up and taking on the pressure of the entire nation. Not an easy thing to do at all regardless of how much you are being paid.

Sticking with the England theme, Emile Smith Rowe was called up to the England squad recently after a few drop outs but do you think he should’ve been picked originally?

I think so but maybe I’m biased as an Arsenal fan. There are so many talented players that play in similar positions to Smith Rowe so he is not getting a call-up when everyone is fit. His rise has been incredible. Based on his current form though, he definitely should’ve been in there in the initial squad.

What are your score predictions for your game against West Ham?

I’ll go for 2-2

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