Morning Arsenalites, hopefully you’re doing well after a good weekend of fantastic flowing football from our Frenchman’s team. It may be Monday, but the post-match glow of satisfaction that I felt radiating from within me still burns brightly enough for me to ignore the fact I was kept awake all night from Diwali fireworks cracking off, as well as the fact I have an additional layer of blubber across my midriff as a result of more than a flagon or two of ale plus a birthday party and then late night Thai yesterday evening.
Yesterday we recorded our latest Podcast, which you can find on the site in the well-labeled ‘Podcast’ section, in which the lads and I posed a question to each other on whether we would swap around the Chelski and Liverpool results. Of course the answer was a resounding ‘no’, but it did get me to thinking about these upcoming two games against Dortmund and United. Nobody can see into the future, but sometimes it’s fun to pretend that you can, so this morning I am using my imagination and asking myself if I’d take two of the most boring James Milner style draws against both teams. I’d have to sit through both matches safe in the knowledge that we’d come away with a point in both games. It would feel like three hours of my life wasted, but would it be worth ‘taking one for the team’ to ensure that we navigated these tricky fixtures without loss?
I’ve never been one to gamble so I think the obvious answer is ‘yes’. Actually, the obvious answer would be ‘I’d bite your hand off for that. And your other hand. And probably have a nibble at your leg too. But only if you could promise me the same love an affection the Liverpool fans give Suarez after I’d maimed you’, but that’s a tale probably left best said by Stephen King. We’d all love to come away with three points in both games, but do we have enough in the tank to do so? I had a bit of a chat about fitness with Goonerdave66 about why every team doesn’t press more often as it’s the easiest thing in football, and I know he’s of the same opinion as I when it comes to fitness and pressing and playing three times in a week. Of course we should have enough energy to win both games with the same set of players! Let’s not forget that these players’ bodies are treated so well that their recovery time is a hell of a lot quicker than the average human. I think back to when I played football twice a week in my early twenties and I had to drive home for 45 minutes straight after a game, sometimes play some golf, or if it was a midweek match, I’d have done a full day of work beforehand. I’m pretty sure that if I was told I could have a day off after a game, plus I got a massage of muscles, ice-bath, and was treated very carefully after each match, my muscles would be able to recover pretty darn quickly. I can kind of understand towards the end of the season if the teams been playing twice a week for nine months, but not in October/December. So my thoughts are that we should be able to cope with the next few matches and there is no way that there should be any kind of psychological ‘get out’ for any player from the manager about looking ‘tired’.
Right, now I’ve stepped down from my soap box, how about the idea that we could get Pato on loan from Milan in January to replace Bendtner? Personally, I’m not sure that we need another injury-prone player to add to our impressive list, but based on the few times I’ve seen him (granted, it was a few years back, mind) he’d most definitely be a step up from Bendtner. Mind you, a wet sponge with a picture of Ian Wright smiling would be a better option right now than the ‘Not-so-Great’ Dane. The question I’d raise, having not seen much Italian football or much of Pato/Milan, would be: can he lead the line as a target man like Giroud? Also, can a lad that has spent his life in Serie A make the transition to English football and hit the ground running? I don’t really have any evidence to back this up, but off the top of my head this morning, I can’t remember the last time and Italian-based player made the leap to the Premier League and was a roaring success – I’m discounting Bergkamp because he never really settled in Italy and as far as I’m concerned they were just incubating his awesomeness until he could become one of us.
So with that in mind, do we really want a player named after the Portuguese word for duck, or should we look towards a league not too dissimilar in attributes than ours, i.e. The Bundesliga? I don’t have the answer, I just like to pose the question, so let me know your thoughts.
I should probably talk about our mounting injury list, given both Gibbs and Jack are currently expected to miss Dortmund, but right now I’m in a good mood and I don’t really want to spoil that as I prepare for a full day and a full working week in front of me. Maybe I’ll pen some thoughts on it tomorrow, but for now, I’ll just keep smiling because we’re top of the league with a bit of fresh air between us and the rest of the division and if you can’t smile when sitting at the summit looking down, when can you smile? Yes, I know, ‘May’ is the clever answer, but that’s a long way away, so I think I’ll just smile now.