As far as I can tell there should be a press conference this morning or today at some stage, ahead of the game tomorrow night against REd Star Belgrade, so it’ll be interesting to see who Arsène brings along with him to sit in on the presser and which squad player gets the ‘bigging up’ by the manager.
He’d already had some very nice words to say about his fellow countryman, specifically in reference to the switch to playing at centre half at the ripe old age of 32, which depressingly is still three years younger than me.
He’s an interesting case, is old Mathieu, because there have certainly been plenty of people (many Arsenal fans) who have dismissed him as a busted flush. But to me that’s never really been the case. He’s a player who ousted Sagna at right back for the French national team. He’s a guy who established himself as a tough tackling full back at Lille and then Newcastle. He’s always had pedigreee. But he’s also had bad luck and injuries, coupled with the emergence of Bellerin, curtailed his Arsenal career and by the very fact Arsène is now starting to use him (admittedly because he had no other choice) it shows that he’s a player with enough quality to at least be of some use.
I’ve never been one too intent on binning him off. Far be it for me to get all ‘holier-than-thou’ with a player, but I’ve always felt that he’s somebody who if given the chance to pick up some match fitness, would probably be of use to us. That’s especially the case when we think that our squad depth in the wing back positions is hardly brimming with experienced players ready to step in if we have an emergency on our hands.
So I’m glad we’ve got a player like him who can step in if needed this season and if Bellerin gets injured for any length of time wouldn’t it be nice to see a match-fit Debuchy slotting in?
Of course for now he’ll have to get that match fitness in the middle of our defence I think. But I’m ok with that. He looks to have equipped himself ok in that position and certainly with the injuries we have at the moment it looks like we could do with him. Hopefully if Chambers is fit tomorrow we can actually see three defenders playing at the heart of our team rather than Elneny. I think we can all agree that experiment as one that has failed on pretty much every occasion that it’s been tried. Nobody wants an Elneny at the heart of their defensive three.
So let’s just see what Arsène says with regards to available players today.
I suspect two that won’t play will be Alexis and Kolasinac, with the latter coming off at the weekend against Swansea. Alexis has been saying nice words with his teammate on the left a primary beneficiary and it’s a shame that the Chilean won’t be around much after May next year because you feel like there could be quite a partnership that could blossom with him in future if he was minded to stick around and sign a new deal. But I suppose we should be grateful that we snapped up such a player and maybe whoever replaces Alexis can be the beneficiary for years to come.
What will be handy though is if those two players can click more regularly because this season is already looking like a slog and so any partnerships that can be forged across the pitch will most certainly be welcome. Let’s just see how they get on with their biggest test of the season this weekend.
Right, that’s me off for the day folks, so I’ll see you tomorrow for a match preview.