At some point later this year, Amazon’s All or Nothing documentary series will give us a glimpse behind the scenes of Arsenal’s ongoing 2021/22 campaign.
They won’t be short of material. There was a mini-exodus in the summer, the recruitment of a host of new faces, Covid outbreaks, terrible early season form, a bust-up between the manager and the captain leading to the latter’s exit, further sales in January, a postponed north London derby, cup exits, a few wins and more.
Given there are 15 games still to be played, it’s not yet clear which way the narrative arc will ultimately bend but supporters are all hopeful of a first top four finish since 2016, not to mention the return of St Totteringham’s Day.
If it goes the other way, the initial doubts about our participation and how the club is perceived will likely be justified.
While Mikel Arteta has experience with Amazon’s cameras and microphones from his time at Manchester City, he’s said previously that he had no say in the club’s deal and today admitted that it’s not always been easy ‘being himself’ as one of the documentary’s focal characters.
Ahead of Thursday’s clash with Wolves, he was asked by the press how he’s dealt with the extra attention.
“Well, it’s another experience,” he said. “I left it once, obviously when I had a different role, but at least I knew what it was.
“It’s a way of telling the people who follow us how we live, how this looks like internally, and it has to be natural. Nobody has to be acting, we have to be ourselves and just tell the story as it happens.
“This has sometimes been a bit of a rollercoaster for many situations that we all know, and coping with [Covid] restrictions. But hopefully it’s a good story to tell and [for] people to understand what happens behind the scenes.
“But sometimes it’s not easy because you feel observed, you feel indecent and sometimes that’s in the back of your mind. At some stage you have to let it go and become what can become.”
Asked if supporters will see a different side to him, Arteta wasn’t entirely sure how to answer.
“I don’t know, I am who I am you know,” he said. “When I’m angry, when I am happy, when I am disappointed. I don’t know, I don’t think I can hide – or I do hide – a lot about how I feel. For sure, if you follow me for 24hrs, I’m sure you will know more about me.”
Obviously, Arsenal will have a level of editorial control over the final product and much of the captured footage will end up on the cutting room floor, if only because the producers will have endless footage to squeeze into nine or so episodes.
The Guardian wrote of Spurs’ All or Nothing documentary that it was “boringly sanitised” and didn’t “get the real dirt or footage of proper meltdowns.”
To be honest, we’d be happy with that. We don’t want Arsenal airing (too much) dirty laundry in public.