The brand new “All or Nothing: Arsenal” documentary makes for essential viewing for any Gooner.
Set to hit Amazon Prime Video on Thursday August 4, the fascinating programme is the latest in a series of releases that have also taken a peek behind the curtain at Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus seasons.
Now, the cameras have turned on Arsenal‘s 2021/22 campaign, which stands out as one of the most eventful in their recent history with dizzying highs going hand-in-hand with crushing lows.
All or Nothing: Arsenal
In the space of nine hectic months, the Gunners lifted themselves back up from three consecutive Premier League defeats to launch an unlikely challenge on the Champions League places that restored fans’ love for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Marry that to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being stripped of the captaincy and leaving the club, as well as the spectre of the ‘Arteta Out’ narrative always lingering in the background, to see exactly why 2021/22 made for such a rollercoaster.
And many of these key events and themes will be unpacked for the world to see as part of the ‘All or Nothing’ documentary, which we’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek of before the official release date.
What to expect
Your humble GIVEMESPORT writer was given access to the first three episodes, plus the chance to speak to Cedric Soares and Martin Odegaard at London Colney, so we just had to feedback to you with our findings.
As such, we’re going to give you a little teaser of what you can expect to see when you crack open the popcorn and sit back to watch ‘All or Nothing’ later this week, as well as some insight from the players along the way.
Losing the first three games
Understandably, episode one focuses on Arsenal’s tumultuous start to the season where losing 2-0 to Brentford, 2-0 to Chelsea and 5-0 to Manchester City planted the club firmly in the relegation zone and saw Arteta’s suitability called into question.
Amongst the interesting snippets from this period, you get to see Arteta giving tactical advice on how to deal with Romelu Lukaku at half-time of the Chelsea game where the Belgian had dominated their defence.
You also witness just how much of a toll the media pressure and external criticism took on Arteta on the back of the City defeat, with the man himself citing it as the toughest period of his Arsenal tenure.
However, by far the most gripping piece of dressing room footage documented Arteta’s speech for the ages ahead of the Norwich City win when Arsenal started to turn things around.
Discussing everything from high performance in the emergency services to touching personal anecdotes from his childhood, Arteta’s stirring monologue was posted by Amazon ahead of the August 4 release date:
EXCLUSIVE CLIP— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) July 27, 2022
After losing their first three league games of 2021/22, Mikel Arteta delivered this emotional and powerful pre-match speech to his players 🗣
All or Nothing: Arsenal, coming to Prime Video on 4 Aug 📺 #AONArsenal pic.twitter.com/Y6mj3RpHOI
When I asked Soares about the mood of the Arsenal dressing room after those three defeats and how Arteta helped to lift the squad’s morale, he explained: “Yeah, of course, we didn’t have the start to the season that we wanted.
“I think it is obvious that he we also had tough games. They weren’t easy at all, but in the end, it was not the start we wanted and the team was a bit down, which is normal and I think Mikel tried to bring the group together with the very good speech.
“He always tries every week to kind of change the speech and kind of interact a bit with us, try to get a bit more emotion sometimes, together with obviously with his plan tactically, but just before we go to the pitch he tries to touch at some points where he knows we’d become much more emotional.
“I think it was good, I think it was very important and it definitely helped to turn the season around.”
Arsenal photographer leads team talk
One thing that quickly becomes apparent about Arteta’s leadership is the creative ways in which he tries to motivate and inspire his players before games, which was very clear before the 3-1 North London Derby win.
Not only did Arteta draw a fascinating illustration about how the players should channel their hearts and minds as well as the energy from the crowd, but he also allowed the club photographer to lead the pre-match speech.
Lifelong Gooner Stuart MacFarlane can be seen hyping up the players for what would prove to be a pivotal result over Tottenham Hotspur by speaking from the heart like only a true Arsenal fan could.
Oh, and you also get to see him joining in with the post-match celebrations in what can only be described as pure dressing room limbs.
Preparations for trip to Anfield
Another interesting segment of the first three episodes followed Arteta’s preparations for the Premier League trip to Anfield which ultimately ended in a 4-0 defeat, but not due to a lacking of trying.
That’s because Arteta was once again at his inventive best as he wheeled out big speakers onto the training pitch to play ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ during the session in order to replicate the atmosphere whipped up by the Kop.
The Arsenal boss also gave a very personal pre-match speech in which he opened up about how he had allowed the Anfield atmosphere to get the better of him when he was a player during the Gunners’ 5-1 defeat in 2014.
I asked Odegaard how helpful it was to have a manager who can call upon first-hand experiences as an Arsenal player, to which he responded: “Yeah, I think it’s very helpful to have a manager who has played in the club.
“He’s done a lot of good things and experienced a lot, so I think it helps a lot. He knows a lot about the situations that we are in and he can understand it. And of course, I think he learned a lot from what he did in his career and I think he’s using that in a really good way to help us to improve.”
Other things that you can expect
- Josh Kroenke standing by Arteta through the club’s tough start to the season
- Aaron Ramsdale’s family’s emotional reaction to him starting vs Norwich
- Arteta preparing Arsenal for 2-1 Leicester City win with a manifestation exercise, which Alexandre Lacazette then teases him about at full-time
- Kieran Tierney bravely speaking about mental health
- Nuno Tavares and Emile Smith Rowe receiving one-on-one tuition about how to improve
- Carlos Cuesta working close with the players as their Individual Development Coach
- Ramsdale venting his frustration after the 2-1 defeat to Everton
- ‘Next time’ preview teasing the Aubameyang situation, including Arteta addressing the squad
Set for release on August 4
Feeling excited? Of course you are.
As was the case with the previous ‘All or Nothing’ documentaries, it’s always fascinating to get a fly-on-the-wall perspective of what it’s actually like to be a professional footballer competing at the highest level.
And that means we’re just as excited to get our mitts on episodes four, five, six, seven and eight as you are to start following Arsenal’s journey through the chaos of the 2021/22 season on Friday.
Above everything, though, my main takeaway from the start of the programme was just how brilliant it was to see these heroes, role models and mainstays on our televisions as, well, human beings.
Such is the glitz and glamour of the Premier League that each one of us is guilty of forgetting from time to time that these top-class athletes are, deep down, not so different to you and I.
And whether or not those stars turn out to be ‘All’ you expected or ‘Nothing’ like you thought, rest assured that peeping behind the Arsenal curtain gives an insight into the club that you’ve never seen before.
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