Being the sneaky little devil that he his, Arsene and the club decided to curveball everyone by hosting his presser yesterday which, in actual fact, is great for fans, as we get more information about the impending trip to the fires of Mount Doom and which soldiers will be available.
In fact, I had a different theory yesterday on Twitter, as I believe Arsene had hired the A-Team to weaponise the Arsenal team bus in double-quick time. Of course, we all know about Arsene’s need to control everything at Arsenal, so I think that he needed the press conference early because he was rushing off to make sure Hannibal was instructing BA and Face to affix the turrets in the right position. I dread to think of the bickering that would have taken place between the leader of the Arsenal Team and the leader of the A-Team.
Anyway, what’s more important than the merging of two of my favourite things as a kid is the news on the team for this weekend and, as suspected it might be a little scary at left back if both Gibbs and Monreal are out. Only at Arsenal, eh? Only we can have adequate cover and still have our players injured! But having watched the press conference yesterday I suspect that Monreal is the most likely to return and he’ll face a late fitness test to see whether he’s available for tomorrow at 3pm. Let’s hope he’s bathing in horse placenta right now.
The good news is that we have Mesut Özil returning fresh from a 10 day break and I am hopeful that it has done him the power of good and we see the Özil that performed so well against United. I think we will because after that Liverpool game I saw a determination in him following some pretty unnecessary chastising from the press and some sections of the fanbase. Much like after the stinging Anfield defeat, I think Özil will be eager to put his penalty miss demons to bed with a stand out performance and what better way to do it than by weaving in and out of stripy goblins that only come up to your chest, like Charlie Adam.
Thomas Vermaelen will also come back into the squad for the weekend and his return gives us the defensive buffer that we need to ensure the squad can compete on multiple fronts. He’ll almost certainly be off in the summer I suspect, but whilst he’s still here he’s making all the right noises about being committed to the team and when he’s come in to the first eleven he’s always performed quite well. But when you have a Koscienly/Mertesacker axis like we have, he’s always going to play second fiddle and he knows it. He might start at left back tomorrow if we have no other options, but I’ll save my speculation for Saturday’s blog piece.
I thought Arsene’s reaction to the questioning about the time off he gave his players was interesting. He seemed incredulous that he was being quizzed as to why he should or shouldn’t be allowed to give some time off for his players, whilst hitting the journo in question with an icy stare, but as much as I like to give the gutter-press a barracking, I think he may have interpreted the tone slightly. From what I saw, I think the question was born out of interest as to whether the players were feeling fatigued after a run of some very tough matches. Yet I think Arsene took it as a questioning of him and his training/scheduling methods. I don’t think it was. Having said that, I actually think it was the perfect thing to do after a couple of tough weeks. We’ve had a full week without The Arsenal and the players had a week until the next game, so if that allows them to relax, unwind and be fully fresh and ready to take on The Orcs, then I’m all for it. I don’t want to see leggy performances like Southampton away in the first half, I want to see performances like the first half against Sunderland for the weekend just gone.
So hopefully the team is fully patched up, because no sour they’ll be some bruising after this weekend, before we play Everton at home in the cup.
That’s it from me today. Catch y’all with a match preview tomorrow.