Injuries abating, history fears not

So, Le Boss hath spoken, decreeing that we have no new injury concerns ahead of this weekend’s massive game against United. In fact, the injury situation doesn’t seem as terrifying as it has been over the past month, as players are beginning to return. As usual with The Arsenal, players are returning in all of the positions that we are currently well stocked in but hey, beggars, choosers, etc.

It might have only been a brief update to the official site, but it was still welcome to get Arsène’s ‘all clear’ on some players. Arteta, for example, will be needed in the base of that midfield if Flamini’s recent performances are anything to go by. The tenacity and cardiness of our Gallic enforcer still seems to be there in his system, but Flamini seems to have lost positional sense and his ability to find another red (or yellow) shirt of late, so the metronomic movements of Tricky Micky will be welcome for our back four.

We may still see a duet of the Flamster and Arteta just in front of the back four, to provide extra cover against the obvious attacking threat United possess, but at least if a scenario like the one that led to the first Swansea goal two weeks ago happens, we know that Mikel is taking down an oncoming player closer to the centre spot.

The other good news is that Giroud will be back, which will certainly please Aaron Ramsey of all people, who thrived from his hold up play last season. It would be remiss of me to suggest that Rambo is not versatile enough to perform without the big Frenchman, but there’s no doubt he profits from Olivier’s place at the top of the field. It will probably be a few weeks before he’s ready to effectively challenge Welbeck for a starting spot, but just seeing him in the squad will be a welcome boost, not least because it will push poor old Sanogo further down the pecking list. I feel for the fella, but he’s not at Arsenal level yet and without games he never will be, so Arsène needs to January loan his ass to another club. Preferably in the Premier League. After all, he only needs to watch Match of the Day to do his scouting. Plus, we’ll save a few pounds on travel expenses if he stays in this country. No need for booking flights for any of Steve Rowley’s crew then, you see.

Anyway, back to the team and thankfully both Kos and Debuchy are out and about running. Arsène still thinks it’s three weeks but the fact that Kos is actually alive is pleasing to hear. We’ve had both Vermaelen and Rosicky in recent past disappear for injuries expected to be a couple of weeks, only to see them gone for an entire season, so I’m sure you’ll join me in breathing a huge sigh of relief there. The sooner we can get the first choice back four together, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

What was interesting about yesterday’s update, I thought, was that there was no mention of Welbeck. Perhaps that’s because there was no need to. After all, Woy said he was fine and if Arsène doesn’t even feel the need to mention it, surely it’s a non-story, right? RIGHT?? I hope so. But the trouble with supporting this club is that usually ‘surprises’ don’t fall into the ‘nice’ category. They usually fall into the ‘dropped your car keys into a poo-encrusted toilet so now you have to since when you dip your hand in there’ category. I’m trying to stay positive. Welbeck will be fit. If I have to avoid three-drained manhole covers all day between now and the game tomorrow evening I will. I’ll do it I tells ya!

So, finally, before I wrap up for the day I thought I’d give you a little ‘heads up’. I am terrified about tomorrow. I’m terrified because at home, against the poorest United side in my living memory, with the injuries they have, we’ve never had a better chance of picking up three points. Yet I’m terrified because we never seem to get the run of the green against that lot. I think back to 99, when we’ve dicked on United and gone down to a wonder goal after Bergkamp missed a penalty, or two when Owen Hargreaves (of all people! He could barely walk for most of his United career) scored that free kick after we’d outplayed them in their own back garden. Or when Almunia and Diaby’s 50p head caused a 2-1 defeat that I witnessed live in the flesh. Or when Sagna went for a meaningless challenge two seasons ago that cost us three points. Or even last season’s 0-0 bore draw. Every time we come up against United we rarely have the beating of them. We’ve had one win in 14 since 2009. I’ve been a season ticket holder for six years and I’ve never seen us beat United (I was away for the Ramsey goal that got us our only win in that time). That’s why I’m terrified. I’m terrified because of history. Because history is rarely kind to The Arsenal. History against United is the person that unscrews the salt pot so you spill all of your salt on your dinner and can’t enjoy it. That history is one in which I am haunted.

I fear another haunting. I fear us totally dominating and losing. Or drawing. Another draw. Don’t let it happen Arsenal. Please.

Anyway, more of my terror tomorrow. Adios for now.

Feeling overly sensitive, worrying about Saturday

Yesterday I had a wee bit of a Twitter monologue as I commented on the Walcott ‘I’m a fan’ story that appeared on the official site yesterday. It wasn’t so much a rant as it was a musing, that the club hasn’t helped him out with the headline which specifically referenced the term ‘fan’ as if he himself had said it.

Before I elaborate, let me just say I have no issue with Walcott, his contract situation a couple of years back, or him as a person. He seems a perfectly amiable chap.

Instead, my thinking was more along the lines in of ‘the club don’t help the players our – PR wise – sometimes, do they?’, because in the subsequent article that I clicked on, not once did Walcott say ‘I’m a fan now’. He did talk about seeing the game differently, trying to remember the buzz fans get when a player does something special, etc, etc. all positive stuff and I have no issue with it. I just think the club could have chosen their article title a bit better.

Because he’s not a fan, is he? Not in the sense that you and I are a fan. Not in the same way, anyway, I don’t think. I don’t think there are many actual ‘fans’ that are professional footballers these days. I just don’t see it. They are not like us. They earn more money, they do it as a job and they see the changing of clubs like we see the changing of companies in our own working careers.

And hey, I don’t begrudge that, because I had had a number of ‘clubs’ in my working life. But much like I would say I hold an affection for each of the ‘clubs’ I’ve worked for, I have not been loyal enough to stay there since I left university.

Which is why I don’t think the use of the term ‘fan’ did Theo any favours, because my immediate response to seeing the headline was to dismiss the sentiment before I’d even read the article, which is wrong because what was said in the article didn’t reflect the title.

Are the official site looking for some extra clicks for advertising? Who knows. Maybe. After all, the Marketing Team might be tasked with bringing in £x,xxx before the end of the year and maybe a few extra clicks will help drive up the advertising revenues. But it’s not something we’re used to seeing on the official site (click whoring, I would call it), so it’s taken me by surprise somewhat.

Or maybe I’m just being a little too sensitive and should just learn to chill, Winston.

Perhaps I’m just a bit more tightly wound than usual because it feels like there’s more riding on this weekend’s game than there would have been a month ago. After all, we’ve played pretty average so far this season, never really getting into our full flowing rhythm and looking like we could end the season with 25 draws on the board come May. But this game on Saturday represents an opportunity. It’s a chance for us to drink in some much needed confidence if we can overcome United, who are still a very good side, one in which we have an appalling record with over the last five or so years.

It feels like a game like this weekend – should we win it – could be a catalyst for us to final break through the malaise that has been the opening third of the season. We need something. Some kind of NOS fuel injection or whatever similar metaphor you can think up in your head. Which is why I’m so tightly wound, because I fear the spiral of the team if we once again succumb to what is fast looking like a United team with more injuries than Ryan Shawcross could count to. Although admittedly that’s just double figures.

We need a win this weekend. And on home soil too, to give the fans a lift, so I’m naturally exceedingly nervous.

Anyway, enough of my own insecurities, because it’s not proving too therapeutic to re-read them on the blog. Just getting me more nervous. Shall we talk about Danny Welbeck? Hopefully he is fully fit, because he’ll be a very important player on Saturday. One suspects that of all the players looking to prove a point, he’d be front and centre when it comes to wanting to get one over on his former employers. Tricky Micky Arteta’s been kicking his heels at the training ground this week, and having very little to do, he thought he’d tell the official site how Welbeck is tailor made for The Arsenal.

Micky tells us that it is the technical element of Welbeck’s game that has surprised him and, whilst I have noticed the effervescent running and ‘chase-em down’ attitude of Welbeck as a positive, the technical ability of the lad must be something that is also important for a player to quickly adapt to life at The Arsenal. After all, the pace in which the game is played, the importance of quick interchange of possession, is all-important in Arsène’s world. So you can see why he’s found it easier to settle in.

He also looks stronger than I remember seeing him beind at United. He holds up the ball better and is better in the air than I thought. The fact he’s only 24, plus that he is still getting to know his teammates, all bodes well from my perspective. Let’s just hope he’s fit for Saturday. Otherwise it’s Sanogo time. We all saw how that worked out against Leicester, so let’s keep those fingers crossed for ‘Welbz’. We’ll find out soon enough, as Arsène is sure to give an update to the dotcom later this afternoon.

Anyway, enough of my jibber-jabber, I’ll leave you in peace. Have a good’un.

Ox in the box and Jack the quarterback

If you go down to the Ems today,
You’re sure for a big surprise,
‘Cos Arsène’s worried and running out of his footballer guys,
They’re injured, battered, bruised and sick,
They can’t play very much so this is it,
If you go down to the Ems you’ll be an Arsenal player!

Little ditty there I thought up about ten minutes after I saw Welbeck hobbling off against Scotland last night, having spent the entire game steaming into challenges and scaring the bejeebus out of this here gooner. Honestly, I thought Jack would be the one that we’d have to close our eyes every time he went near a Scottish player, but it was our rampaging Manc-Gooner (‘Mancgoonian?’) up top that turned out to be the most worrisome for you and I, didn’t it?

Despite what Roy said afterwards about him being fine for the weekend, I think I’ll wait until Arsène has his day tomorrow with the ‘who’s fit?’ webpage on the official site. I fully expect Wenger to tell us all that Welbeck came back in a plastic bag and is currently trying to be reassembled by the Top Gear team using sellotape, string and ‘little bit elbow grease’.

With Giroud not fully fit, Walcott still not being afforded too much game time (we should probably be pleased with the sensible approach being adopted), Alexis only probably touching down from his trip to Mars to play a select Martian XI against Chile, we find ourselves unsurprisingly reliant on young mister Welbeck. So it would be good if Roy is right, but how he can make an effective diagnosis about ten minutes after a game is a little beyond me. If he’s going on what Welbeck has told him…well, we all know where that has got us with players like Jack in the past. Young guys just want to play football. They think about the here and now and not the potential to knock a year or two off the tail end of their career by playing through the pain.

Cross everything, will you? I certainly am.

The plus points of the evening have to be the performance of The Ox, who with more displays like that and a few more goals to his game, will probably run Theo very close when it comes to retaining his place in the side. He was one of the stand out performers yesterday and I’m sure it wouldn’t have escaped your attention that the first England goal was born straight out of London Colney. A wee knock from Welbeck to Wilshere, then a sumptuous diagonal pass from Wilshere to the ‘Ox in the box’, resulting in first blood to The Arsenal. Ahem, I mean, England.

When you watch it again you see just how good that goal is from the pass, to the run, to the flicked header in. Replicate that in the Premier League lads, and you’ll have us all purring, because that’s the sort of movement and vision that we’ve been painfully lacking at times this season.

It does make you think about Jack’s future role at The Arsenal though, doesn’t it? I mean, in the last four England games that I’ve seen, he’s been deployed in this sort of quarterback role for England, and he’s flourished. We all know he can travel with the ball and is good over five to 10 metres – Arsène has said so himself – but what I’ve seen whilst he’s been on international duty is a player who also has a fantastic ability to spot a pass. I don’t want to draw comparisons with a guy who now plays for the oil whores, but it was Fabregas who was the last player in an Arsenal shirt that I saw with the ability to spot a run like Jack did yesterday. The thing is, it wasn’t an isolated incident either, as he has found Rooney time and time again over the last four games. In Estonia he put the ball on a plate for the England captain more times than I can count. It’s just a shame Rooney couldn’t finish his dinner on that night.

I said it on Twitter last night and I’m more than happy to reiterate; surely Arsène now has to look at him as a deep lying midfielder? Surely we should be playing Wilshere and Arteta at the base of our midfield, with an all-action number 10 running the length of the pitch to get forward and back? How about we have Alexis as that guy, with Walcott and The Ox either side of Welbeck? Isn’t that just a little bit sexual as a prospect? I think so.

I will wait with eager anticipation on the starting line up on Saturday. We just need to find out who is actually available to play.

As for other factors in Saturday’s game, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that Mike Dean will be refereeing our weekend game against the red Mancs. Nothing, and I mean literally nothing, is good about having that guy referee. He is a blister on the game as far as I’m concerned. As much as I’d love the idea of him being the pantomime villain in that ‘celebration’ that he made when the Spuds scored against us at The Emirates a couple of seasons ago, in my heart of hearts I know that it’s probably unlikely he was actually celebrating. That doesn’t stop him giving United absolutely everything on Saturday, to which I’ll probably cry foul come the end of the game, but for now I just have to contend with a disliking for a guy who probably isn’t a complete hater of Arsenal. Hopefully he can prove us all wrong by giving us 55-60% of decisions as the home team. That’s what you normally accept as a fan, whether your team is at home, or away.

Anyway, enough conspiracy theories for one day, let’s just sit quietly and wait patiently for Arsène to give us the good news. He’s holding open trials for spots in the team on Friday and everyone’s welcome.

Arteta’s importance; attack more important than defence

I know there is a round of pointless friendlies today and tomorrow, but short of wanting our players just to come back in one piece, I’m back to caring little about what happens. Especially this evening. If there’s nothing else on I’ll more than likely flick the TV across to the home of the interminable Andy Townsend, but only for the Arsenal players on show, because he really is one of the worst commentators out there. When you add Adrian Chiles to the punditry team, you know times are hard and desperate.

So, with the lack of interest in international football thankfully returning to my mood, I’m already looking at Saturday’s game in which I think it has more significance than ever given our recent form. After five or six games in the season I looked at this match up as a bit of a ‘meh’ in comparison to other rival teams at the top of the division. But as our form has deteriorated and our injuries have exacerbated, I find myself becoming more and more concerned with the granular details of the match up.

For example: Mikel Arteta. Is he fit or isn’t he fit. I see to recall Arsène saying something about coming back after the international break. If he is available, we can only see his return as a welcome one. With him screening the back four we look a better outfit. I don’t want to put two and two together to make 968, but we cruised against Anderlecht until his withdrawal and, with Flamini venturing forward against Swansea, there was no Spanish Captain to top Barrow in his tracks further up the field.

As couple of years ago I wrote a blog about appreciating Arteta more, as after six months of him at the club, I begun to question his contribution. The blog was one in which I appreciated how he kept us ticking over. I’m not a very good stat man, but it feels like we have more control when in possession when he is in the team. That’s not to say we’re not prone to lapses with him in the side, but merely that I believe our probabilities greatly increase in favour of being more secure defensively when he plays.

So finding out that he is fit on Thursday when Arsène announces the squad situation will be a small win and confidence boost that I’m looking for on the eve of this big game.

The other thought that has been swirling around in my mind over the last 24 hours is the old ‘attack vs defence’ debate that will inevitably gather momentum as the week wears on. Namely, who’s is worse off defensively, or better off offensively. It’s a tough one, but with Arsenal tinted specs on your have to say we should be better in both departments, because our injury woes defensively don’t seem as bad (plenty of time for us to find out from Arsène that our players have burst into balls of flame whilst on international duty) as theirs and in attack, we have the in-form player of the moment in Alexis.

A question I posed on Twitter yesterday was whether it was more important for our attack to have a good game against United, or our defence. There’s no doubt that this makeshift defence is facing world class players for the first time since they came together, but I still can’t quite manoeuvre my thinking away from the attack, and how it is more important that our front line performs than our defence.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see a playground five-a-side score against Man United, but I think if our front line is firing on all cylinders, we should be able to cope defensively. Believe it or not, I don’t think Monreal has been that bad at the heart of the back four. Chambers has been exposed for pace, but he’s had a good season, and the other three are first team regulars for us anyway. So defensively – assuming United have to field Valencia, Carrick, Smalling and Shaw, we should be seen to have a better back four than theirs. Which means it’s down to our attack and their attack and who will perform better. We have the ace in our pack in Alexis, but is the rest of our hand stronger than United’s? That is something I’m really not sure about. Which is why I think this game on Saturday is won off the strength of the attack rather than defence.

One final thing before I depart for the day: Yaya Sanogo. When are we going to get the guy who seems to tear apart teams for his under-21 side? The guy has a phenomenal record (when fit) at that level, yet looks so out of his depth at Arsenal sometimes that it’s painful to see. Please Arsène, get him out on loan for the rest of the season and let’s see if he can bang in goals in the Premier League. It’s helping nobody having him coming on for five minutes and having the Arsenal fans frustrated at his lack of quality, which could be just due to a lack of experience, if I’m trying to be kind.

See thee tomorrow. When the countdown to United can really begin.

Injury title gone?

Not a lot going on today, unless you count the incessant English rain causing everything to drench, as breaking news. I don’t. I hate it. I’m wearing some tan shoes that change to dark brown when it’s wet. Which doesn’t really work with the suit I’m wearing. Hard times indeed.

There’s a smattering of ‘Arsenal players on Tour’ info that seems to have come through from yesterday, including a full 90 for Rambo and an almost full 90 from Rosicky. Whilst the latter could probably do with more minutes under his belt, I’d imagine the former (despite his form) could probably do without extra games right now, as he’s still recovering from injury. Mind you, if Rambo is ever to play himself back into form, he needs game to do it so perhaps getting a few performances under his belt would be a good thing. I’d be tempted to give Wilshere and Arteta a start on Saturday, but more worrying about that at the end of the week, so plenty of time for furrowing of brows.

The real news that seems to be unfolding from this weekend is that the is apparently a team who are even worse-off with injuries than we are. Not content with re-moulding the club in his image in nearly every single way, it appears that Van Gaal also now wants to take the ‘we have the most injuries’ title from Arsène too! So despite the phrase ‘Injury Crisis’ being secured for The Arsenal for about six years, it appears we’ll soon be losing that particular trophy too. We’re all grateful to King Louis, of that I’m sure you will join me in agreement.

So it looks like it might just end up being ‘battle of the makeshifts’ on Saturday, as both Daley Blind and David De Gea have joined Rojo, Jones and I believe Evans too, not to mention Michael Carrick. Unless of course, Carrick still has a dose of the Fergie era still coarsing through his veins, to which the result is that he’s pulled out of international duty with one of those ‘injuries’. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Of course, we all know that even if all of those players are injured, United will find a random Manc passing by Carrington on Thursday and have him signed up by Friday, only to have the game of his life on Saturday against us. I’m almost certain of it. It only seems to be our defensive woes that seem to get punished.

Anyone got a sad violin song they could play for me?

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got today. I’m skating on thin ice in terms of Arsenal stuff to talk about anyway, so I’ll jump off the lake and head for the après skis. See you by the fire. I’ll be the one trying to turn my shoes back into a tan colour.

Pummice stone the international break away

I must admit I watched last night’s En-ger-land game and had mixed reactions comes the final whistle yesterday. The positives were undoubtedly a brace of goals from Welbeck – one scuffed and one the epitome of perfect composure – whilst Jack Wilshere had a fine performance in the quarter back role that must have all gooners wondering whether we need to see Arteta and him at the base of the midfield on Saturday against United. But the disappointment comes in the lack of game time given to Walcott that won’t exactly help his recovery back to full fitness. Can you believe this? I’m actually wanting an Arsenal player to get on to the pitch for England. It’s an outrageous circumstance that makes me feel all dirty inside. In fact, post today’s blog, I’m showering, with an all over the body pumice stone rub.

Thankfully this desire to see Arsenal players trot out in white doesn’t extend any further than a fitness gathering exercise for Walcott, so I was pleased to see Chambers remain on the bench, as well as just five minutes afforded for The Ox. We now all just have to cross our fingers that Woy doesn’t through in as many Arsenal players as possible for the Scotland friendly on Tuesday night, because there’ll probably be a few of those north of Hadrian’s Wall that will be steaming in to tackles, so we could do without any more of our players being crocked. I think we’ve suffered enough this season for a lifetime.

One good piece of news was the confirmation from Debuchy that he is fit again now and is hoping to return in December. I am hoping that he is talking about the beginning of December, because if so it means we’ll start to bring together more of a first-choice back four in as little as two to three weeks. But the only downside is that Debuchy was, understandably, non-specific about when he’d return in December. A substitute appearance against QPR on Boxing Day, for example, would mean quite a lot of games needs to be played between now and then. Hopefully he’s being deliberately vague so as to surprise us all when Arsene names him in the squad for the Southampton game on Wednesday 3rd December. That would be sweeter than chocolate fudge cake sprinkled with Pop Tarts and drizzled with maple syrup.

Anyway, back to last night’s events and I have to say, I thought Welbeck had an impressive game with his two goals bagged. It will only do him the world of good in prep for a massive game against his former club and coupled with another good performance from Gibbs, I hope the confidence of the Arsenal players in that England team will help us when coming up against an old enemy in the shape of Man United. We need all the plus points we can grab on to at the moment, so my hope that we can see an Arsenal team that has players returning from international duty with confidence, as well as ready to strike back after another woeful display this season against Swansea, will work in our favour because we really do need a big win against a big team to stop our season from looking like it’s unravelling before November has even finished.

Perhaps, in some weird way, this International Break has actually worked in our favour, for a change? Only time will tell.

There’s not really a lot going on today, as you’d expect from an Arsenal point of view, so I’ll take my leave. I have to put up some of The Management’s thimble collection into wooden displays and hang them on the wall in thee downstairs loo. It is probably only a case of taking a few nails and smashing them into the plaster, but I’m no handyman, so it will most likely take the best part of Sunday.

Peace out.

Internationals helping the fringe players; the reality of online opinions

I know it was ‘only’ Gibraltar, but I thought it was really interesting that Poldi played – and well by the sounds of it – for Germany last night. He’s only started one league game for us this season and that was in the uninspiring defeat at home to Southampton. From what I hear he was deployed on the left and clocked up a couple of assists (one from an own goal), so although it’s painfully obvious that Arsene doesn’t fancy him as a first teamer any more, he has shown once again at international level that he can do it.

I don’t know if you’ve been the same as me, but I’ve been looking so much at Theo getting some game time and that being beneficial for the team, that I haven’t really paid much attention to the fact that there are a number of other fringe players at the club, for whom this international break is a much welcome opportunity to get some minutes under their belt. Just take Rosicky and Campbell for example. I believe Rosicky will most probably start this weekend, whilst the dotcom site confirmed that Joel got 86 minutes under his belt. I hope Le Boss has ordered some tapes or some kind of modern equivalent (series of 30 second Vine’s to patch together?) to watch the performances of the players, because I really think that e should be looking at mixing it up a bit after what we’ve seen so far this season. After all, it can’t get much worse, can it?

Actually, it probably could, because half of the draws we’ve had this season could have turned into defeats.

Anyway, the games that these players will get will at least give them a chance to regain a bit of competitiveness and hopefully when they return back to the manager (fingers cross not broken) he will see that he has options and that he doesn’t need to run the same players into the ground week-in, week-out.

Of course, Alexis scored last night, but that’s becoming as frequent as minor delays on the Circle Line, so I’m becoming quite blasé about it now. It’s a nice feeling.

One other thing I wanted to touch on – having flicked through the official site this morning – is the poll that the club ran on who should be our first choice striker when Giroud is fully fit and fighting again. To my surprise, our handsome Frenchman got the largest proportion of the votes with 32%. Hold on a second, isn’t this the Giroud that we all lambast for his lack kof chance conversion? Isn’t this the Giroud who looks like he’s running through treacle and has an annoying habit which involves an Ali-G-esque flicky hand? Huh, turns out that he’s not as hated amongst the fan base as some corners of the world would suggest.

Shows you, Twitter, shows you real good. Or, perhaps it shows, as I have experienced over the last couple of years of being on social media sites and speaking to gooners pre-game, that most people actually have a more moderate view of players, and probably that those that are so extreme on Twitter are in fact a minority. That’s probably why when you see protests seemingly gathering pace about the manager online, rarely do they translate to anything substantial on matchday’s. People are happy to be vocal from behind a keyboard – hey, I’m just as guilty sometimes – but when all is said and done when they’re at the ground they just want to support the team and see us get a result. The last protest I saw at the ground involved a bedsheet and about 25 people. Hardly a vocal majority. Which is probably why the Giroud online poll shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it has. After all, Giroud may not be as quality as Sanchez or Suarez, but having seen how Sanchez can operate just as effectively alongside Welbeck, there are probably a lot of people thinking ‘hmm, I wonder how successful Sanchez will be if he had someone strong like Giroud to win flick-on’s, hold up the ball and release him into space?’.

For what it’s worth, I still think our best front three contains Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott, mainly because with that pace you can always frighten teams, but I can certainly see that Giroud will provide us a different option. And not just from the bench either. There will come a time when the opponents that we have will sit deep and we might have to play the ugly side of the game, with balls up to a burly centre forward in a crowded box and, as much as Welbeck has a good go at that, you have to think that Olivier would be better, so Arsene can shuffle his pack accordingly with his attacking options over the coming months it seems.

If only he could do the same with our defensive options, eh?