Wow, we’re full of exciting and wonderful Arsenal news today, aren’t we? Item one on the agenda is that any player caught smoking is apparently being given the punishment of having to train with the youth team by Arsene Wenger.

Woah….hold on there AW, are you sure you want to do that? After all, when I had to play with kids younger than me, I used to love it. My brother is four years younger than me and so when I was in the Under-13s and he was in the Under-9s (the team my uncle managed), I used to have a great time running around the smaller kids with the ball and leathering it into the top corner of the goal (which, incidentally, none of them could reach because they were too small enough).

Seriously though, does anybody really care about this other than the “we’re-holier-than-thou-and-we’ll-be-outraged-about-the-fact-that-somebody-with-influence-can-have-such-bad-behaviour. Oh, by the way, what’s your answerphone pin? I wouldn’t mind having a listen in later” media? People smoke in all walks of life and although I hate the stuff (it’s the smell you see. Makes me gag), it doesn’t really bother me that other people do it. I think the reason that this is a ‘thing’ is because of the personality involved, the position Arsenal are currently in and the fact that the media loves a pantomime villain. In this instance, Wojciech has to step forward because his form has been patchy at times this season (I’m not saying ‘bad’ because I think this storm-in-a-teacup has been created off the back of one game. He was very good against West Ham) and so it’s an opportunity for said media to get itself in on the ‘rile up already riled Arsenal fans’ bandwagon. They love that wagon. It’s their favourite mode of transportation don’t you know?

I would suggest that if we were four points clear at the top of the league and looking like we might finally recapture that Premier League crown after all these years, the noise would be less so from the media, or some selections of the Arsenal fanbase too actually.

Linked to item of silliness number 1 is item number 2, which is poor old Wojciech’s Papi, who, probably against his sons wishes, has decided to offload a couple of rounds in the direction of Big Per. The bit about him being like a rhinoceros is particularly humorous, but doesn’t really help anyone except Papi and his media career. Szczesny will probably be going into the training ground today mouthing “sorry” to the vice captain and when you’re trying to get yourself together as a defensive unit, it’s hardly great to know that one of your teammates’ dad is giving you a bit of a pasting. What if that’s how Per is talked about by Szczesny junior all of the time? I’m sure he probably doesn’t, especially given the propensity for his father to run to the nearest Polish media source, but it still might play on the big German’s mind. It’s hardly what we need before an important game at the club, but I guess it fits the old ‘broken cannons’ icon that the red tops love to trot out every once in a while.

Anyway, moving swiftly on to item 3 on our agenda, which is Lukas Podolski “SLAMMING” Arsene Wenger. Again, I’m not going to presume for a second that a red-top tabloid is indulging in a smidge of hyperbole, but it strikes me as odd that a player who has clearly shown that he’s pretty good with his PR and will probably set himself up with a nice little agency when he does retire, would try and burn bridges with the manager so easily. The red top in question will no doubt point to the fact that they have quoted directly from the German saying about respect from Arsene, etc, etc, but I do wonder if it has been a little bit massaged to fit a narrative. For all we know Lukas spent 20 minutes telling the journo in question that he loved the club, the fans (which to be fair they referenced) and that he had experienced a mostly good relationship with Arsene Wenger. But if they have received a minute or two of what they perceive as a ‘gem’ of a quote, they’ll be latching on to it, you just know.

Or perhaps I, for some reason to which I can’t really put my finger on – am I being a bit defensive of the German because he has ridden the tube and London buses, so is therefore more ‘in touch’ with the fans (a ridiculous notion I know)? Or am I just so disillusioned with the media and their click whoring that I am automatically very cynical about anything they say? Probably a little of both I suppose. But I just find it a little odd when you see the old ‘parting shot’. Football is so incestuous and quick to change that it wouldn’t surprise me to see Poldi back in training at Arsenal after his Inter Milan loan deal fell through and we get a bit of a Bendtner situation because we can’t offload him. Why burn your bridges when there’s still a chance you might need to cross back over the river?

Heck, this is all way too much thinking for me for one day. I think I’ll leave that to Arsene to do, so will wait patiently for his pre-match presser at some stage today.

Catch you tomorrow peeps.