Not content with a lie in after Thursday night’s squad rotation game against Doncaster, Arsène was back in to London Colney yesterday to give his pre-match presser to those bleary-eyed hacks who had travelled in following their deadlines for copy the night before.
First and foremost came the team news and it’s a good job that the manager rotated, because some of the players just beyond the first XI went down and could possibly be not seen for a few weeks. Chambers did, as had been expected given he went off at halftime, have an injury and Arsène says he’s off until after the international break. As for Theo – who also limped off – it looks like he’ll be tested for availability today or tomorrow.
Eugh. Imagine having to go in to work on a Saturday to have tests run on you. No thanks.
Mind you, if someone offered me a seven figure salary, adulation of millions, as well as the ability to just play football and that’s about it, I reckon I could stomach it. For a decade and a half only tho. Then I’m spending my weekend’s somewhere warm sipping Mai Tai’s.
I don’t even like Mai Tai’s. Better than having to work though.
We do have Mesut Özil back in training and let’s all be honest, despite some of the comments over the last few days, wouldn’t you rather see him on the pitch? He’s graceful, his vision is second to none, plus he’s actually in half decent form if you count his two games for Germany and Bournemouth at home. A good response from him and a performance on Monday night against West Brom and it will do him the world of good. So I’m hopeful that we can start Mesut start his season like we seem to have – after August.
The other questions fired in the manager’s direction were about Alexis being benched and coming in for the so-called ‘lesser’ games as a statement of his intent to show Alexis that we can survive without him. Of course this was denied by the manager, but in the cold light of day it kind of feels obvious that he played him on Wednesday, although I didn’t think it at the time. If Alexis is still not 100% then he needs games to get 100%. Knowing that he’d get a full four or five games rest after the Doncaster game, Arsène will have had a pretty good idea that he didn’t need to worry too much about fitness. If Alexis doesn’t start the next couple of league games but is playing against BATE and Norwich over the coming weeks then yeah, you could probably say there’s something going down, but I suspect he’ll be in the team on Monday night. Especially now that Welbeck is injured and Theo is doubtful. I’d be stunned if it’s not an Alexis/Özil duo sitting behind Lacazette on Monday night.
The other chatter seems to have been around Jacky Wilshere and Arsène has said that as of now he’s ready. That’s good to hear but I doubt we’ll see him start on Monday. I think he’ll be used sparingly and perhaps the game on Thursday will give him a chance. Arsène said that the cup game wasn’t exactly the intensity of the Premier League and of course that’s true, but in BATE wenhave probably a game that will be a halfway house between a full on blood and thunder Premier League game and the League Cup. It would probably be ideal to see if Jack gets 70 minutes at least under his belt and then it’d be a case of seeing if he can react.
Let’s all be honest; how many of us believe that Xhaka and Ramsey are playing the next 25 league/FA Cup games together? Hands up. Anyone?
Didn’t think so. That’s simply because we know the players so well. Xhaka will pick up bookings and cards and Rambo will get injured. So having a well managed Jack Wilshere who is fit – even just match fit and available by virtue of the fact that he hasn’t played too much football to wear his body down – could prove invaluable at some stage this season. We just need to get him up and running fitness-wise as soon as possible.
And then who knows? If we get to January, or February, and he’s playing football with us, could there be a new deal in the offing? He’s an Arsenal lad and loves the club, but if he’s not had enough games we all know he’ll be gone. But if he feels he’s got a future as a regular, I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to sign, because he’d be getting exactly what he wants at a big club. It’s not as if he’s not from around here and has always been a City or United fan.
So like Arsène said yesterday, a lot depends on fitness and for Jack, a lot depends on his body not breaking down on him. Everyone affiliated with Arsenal in any way will be routing for him.
Catch you all tomorrow.