What a glorious day I have awoken to in my London suburb. The sun is shining, The Arsenal are riding the crest of a form-inspiring run, Arsène has the pick of the sweet shop with his selection choices ahead of our trip to Burnley.
Even Koscienly might be back for the game. Laurent Koscienly who limped off against Liverpool. In the last game. This is not a drill people, we actually have players limping off and potentially returning within a week! I don’t really know what to say. Is Shad somewhere near London Colney smoking a big fat stogie and smiling to himself like Hannibel from the A-Team? Or is it just coincidence? Anyway, it doesn’t matter because the real winners are you and I, because we get to see a full strength squad and not worry about the empty spaces on that big black luxury bus the team go to games in.
Arsène was in front of the press yesterday and revealed all about who’s available, Wilshere, Debuchy, Arteta and even the original Lost Boy himself Abou Diaby. Forget about empty spaces on the bus, if Arsène took the whole squad to Lancashire, it would probably resemble a train bound for Dehli with players on top and hanging out the side!
All this is to say that we’re in a pretty good club at the moment. Arsène is a happy man and he spoke about the confidence exuding from the team right now. Under his stewardship we’ve always been a team that when its tails are up play the best, most attractive football, but it’s always been when we’re down that we seem to spiral like a plane hit by an anti-air gun. But let us not worry about that just yet. Let us simply breathe in the air of confidence running through the team.
Right now it’s hard to argue a first XI player who isn’t in form, with Hector Bellerin the subject of Arsène’s affection this week, talking up his difficult start against Dortmund and how he now looks every bit the first team regular. It’s lovely to see how far he’s come, it’s also great to be in a position where Debuchy will have to wait his turn to play. We have depth and we have confidence. Long may it continue.
Tomorrow we face Burnley and I’m sure I’ll speculate on who will start, but as a brief overview before my pre-match musings, I did find it interesting that Arsène specifically mentioned matching Burnley for their physicality. The Premier League is a tough league and all of the teams have a degree of physicality about themselves, so it’s intriguing to note Arsène highlighting that element of the game. Admittedly I haven’t watched too many of their games this season, but they have never been positioned as an overly physical side.
So I had a chat with a Spud. Believe it or not, there are a very small minority of them who can converse in our mother tongue, so I asked the Spud what type of game Burnley played last weekend. His response to me was that we should expect a team that will press every single ball, will try to catch us out by leveraging the vocal home support in the opening exchanges, but from a technical side are very limited in their approach.
Hold on a second. I thought Arsène Wenger didn’t look at the opposition? I thought he focused on his team, not doing tactics and not caring about anything other than his own team’s preparation? I’m a little later to the party on where I’m getting at here – that it is a misconception that Arsène doesn’t do tactics – as Tim Stillment wrote something along those lines (far more eloquently than I could) last week, but more and more we’re being treated to examples of Arsène taking note in who his side faces. And as Tim pointed out in his article (sorry, I would link but it’s a bit of an arse pain on the iPhone to set up a link, I think it was on Goonersphere though), Arsène does do tactics, we just don’t hear about it as much as attention cravers like Rodgers. By association too, he also does analysing the opposition, perhaps only allowing the press (and us as a result of) a small insight into his thinking.
Anyway, we shall wait and see what he has in mind for Burnley, with more tomorrow filtering through. In the meantime, Bobby Pires has essentially put the whole ‘Özil is sh*t’ rubbish to bed, by declaring that he’s one of the best players he’s seen. Bob has had first hand training with the player and is also Bobby Pires, so I think we can all consider that rumour that Özil isn’t brilliant now quashed. Case closed.
And on that rather lovely note, I’ll take my leave. I’ve just arrived at Wembley Park tube station and I want to take a few minutes to look, smile and say, “see you next week”.
See you tomorrow.