Morning folks, hope y’all are alreet?
This Thursday football, delayed kick off malarky is havoc on the ability to write content you know. Yesterday I was cream-crackered and today as I chow down on my honey and peanut crunch cereal, I have no press conference words from Wenger to have a look at and work out how the bloody hell we are going to do the impossible and actually win a game at Stamford Bridge.
What’s weird about Stamford Bridge is that I don’t even feel nervous before we play them every season. I do for the Totts, Liverpool, United and City, but for Stamford Bridge there isn’t really much in the tank by way of butterflies. I suspect it’s because I now see it as “The Annual Defeat to Chelsea” game that we have to go through every season. Both teams turn up, Chelski win the midfield battle, we look toothless in attack, then give away the most brain-farty of goals to give them the win. It’s almost preordained.
And when the manager talks about how its no difference away from home to home, that’s why I want to watch the press conference, because you can look him in the eyes and see if he actually sounds like he believes it, or whether he’s just saying that so the assembled hacks don’t get a good soundbite from him. He surely can’t believe that it’s the same as playing at home. The number simply don’t tell that story and he’s a man who will be well aware of the atrocious numbers we get from Chelski. We just don’t win there. End of. So let’s all just embrace it.
Anyway, despite there being no press conference, at least we were treated to a little bit of an update by the ay of team news. I say ‘little bit’ because it was literally a couple of paragraphs on the official site telling us that the only major question marks are over Ozil and Ramsey. Conspiracy theory alert: I wonder if Ozil doesn’t make the starting XI tomorrow. He’s never really been able to impact a game at Stamford Bridge and usually comes out of it each season with the press on his back. Conversely, Welbeck is known for his running and has three goals to his name this season, so I have a weird feeling that what I’ve read about and heard in podcasts from a few gooners might come true this weekend and we see a forward line of Welbeck, Lacazette and Alexis. That would give Chelski defenders more to think about and we all know that Arsene loves a “he’s injured” fabrication to protect the fact that a player has been dropped.
I love Ozil and I’d by no means want to see him out of the team long term, but Arsene always talks about how he can shift his team around, change formations, change players, etc, but never really does that from game-to-game based on the opponents. Chelski away feels to me like the kind of game that Ozil needs to sit out. So why not just do it? It’s only one game and he can be brought back in on the following Monday night game against West Brom at home. It wouldn’t exactly destroy his confidence and maybe by trying something different at a ground where we’ve always approached the game in the same way and invariably ended up with the same result, we’d actually have a shot at something different in terms of the result.
A quick word on the Cologne result and the crowd trouble. Cologne have released a statement effectively saying that they should have received more tickets which, if i’m honest, is one of the most bizarre statements I’ve read from a football club in a while. Just because you bring lots of people to a City, why on earth should you get some kind of automatic increase in allocation? Perhaps there’s a debate to be had around the number of tickets given to away fans in terms of the allocation, but you can’t isolate that to one football club, it has to be everywhere. The FA Cup has a quarter of all tickets allocated to away fans and if UEFA did the same perhaps that would answer some of the issues. But conversely when you see FC Carrier Bag going away, if you gave them 25% of Stamford Bridge then you might end up with even more blue seats empty. So what’s the answer? No idea. But I know it isn’t buying tickets from touts or kicking people out of the seats that they have already purchased as home fans. That is out of order and Cologne should be condemning their fans for that more than anything else.
That’s pretty much it for today. There’s a few games going on today and I might pay a little bit of attention, but really i’ll probably not do it too much, as I have a list of household chores longer than a really tall person’s long arm.
Catch you all tomorrow.