Later one from me today on account with a plethora of work-related calls starting from 7am, but the burning need to splurge Arsenal-related thinking’s on to my usual daily vehicle remains as strong as ever. So as I head in to the office this mid morning, I’m still somewhat basking in the glow of the Derby day victory, although the fact we have a massive game tomorrow is a little bit of a kick in the knickers, mainly because the taste of Eric Dier’s tears could soon be replaced by the bitterness of the usual trip and subsequent defeat at Old Trafford.
It’s a weird one though, this is, because I can’t remember the last time things actually seemed more stacked in our favour as we travel up there to face United. They’ve had injuries in defence, question marks over the attack, Young is suspended, Mourinho is picking fights all over the place this season, their form hasn’t been great, plus only yesterday he said Top Four would be a ‘miracle’.
Conversely we look to be in pretty good shape – certainly form wise – and aside from the Xhaka suspension we have the same team as the one from the weekend. The atmosphere around the camp will be buzzing and you’d expect that swagger to translate on to the pitch tomorrow night.
But….BUT…it’s United. And no matter how good or rubbish they’ve been down the years, they usually beat us. Even Gary Neville said on his podcast that it wouldn’t surprise him to see United win and I agree. It doesn’t seem to matter, they can always find a way to beat us, and it’s maddening.
We’re 19 unbeaten though and the atmosphere around the club is amazing at the moment. What the result on Sunday also did was to give us a wee bit of a buffer. Not in terms of points because there’s no way The Tiny Totts won’t beat managerless Southampton tomorrow, but in terms of potential psychological damage that could have been dear had we lost on Sunday and then gone to Old Trafford to get beaten.
Arsenal have always been a confident team, a real Grand Old Duke of York side, so two defeats in big games could have had a detrimental effect on the rest of the month I reckon. But the fact we’ve picked up three points and done it in such a manner to make people actually sit up and take notice I think will hopefully help the team to continue the form; I think even if we lose tomorrow.
December is a tough time but we’ve started well and when Unai spoke to the assembled media he talked about the confidence levels and what he’s trying to do. It all sounds so positive and I’m glad that he’s managed to turn the club around in such a short time because I’ll be honest, I thought the ‘feel good factor’ would take a season or two to come back.
It may all still not turn out how we want, we may not get in to the top four or win anything, but that response from the crowd on Sunday and all season so far has been great to see and although no fan base is ever fully united it does feel like there are more people aligning as Arsenal fans these days.
The team news seems to be around Özil and Monreal and whilst I’m sure the press will try to make something of Özil training alone yesterday – as Emery admitted – I suspect this is for his own reasons more than anything else.
I doubt Monreal will make it back for tonight but if he can be at least available for Huddersfield at the weekend, then that’s a-ok for me, because his return can not be understated in my opinion. Kolasinac played well at the weekend but Monreal is – right now – a better full back than the Bosnian. As a wing back the jury is out and so one question tomorrow is whether Emery sticks with the three at the back model that he’s adopted for the last two league games. More on that tomorrow I reckon.
For now we can still bask, we can still be happy and we can certainly be pleased that the club did what was needed to get Torreira in to the club. He’s played well all season but I didn’t know he’d bagged three man-of-the-match performances in four games. It just goes to show you just how important he is fast becoming and so I’ll be interested to see how he gets on in Manchester tomorrow evening.
More on that tomorrow in a match preview. Catch you lovely people then.