Howdy gooners. What’s cooking?

How about a big bowl of ‘shut the hell up’ for Cristiano, eh? I must admit I didn’t bother watching too much of the game last night, but hearing that Real were ahead through a dubious penalty was pretty much all I needed to hear as motivation to do a bit of catching up on Game of Thrones, so to then flick back on and find that Alvaro Morata – who wasn’t good enough for Real – had chipped in with his second goal of the two-legged tie, felt absolutely delicious. I have no love for the Old Lady, nor any of Italian football for that matter, but the idea that they have sucker-punched the arrogance of Real Madrid and their free spending ways is enough to make any man chuckle.

I then read an article this morning that said that Barcelona were due to pay us 4million Euros as part of the deal for Thomas Vermaelen agreement that was signed last summer if they win the Champions League and I actually did L O L, because he hasn’t even played in the competition this year. I suspect they’ll be a few pig-sick Catalan’s at the club who will be wondering why they agreed to that part of the contract. So even with no involvement in the Champions League, Arsenal are still making a pretty penny from it if Barcelona win. It’s enough to make you want to cheer on even the most irksome of football clubs, isn’t it?

They will probably win as well.

As for all that’s happening in the Arsenal world, I suspect we’ll either get a bit of an Arsene overview of who’s fit at some stage today, or he might just go the whole hog and do his press conference early, given that the team are heading up to Manchester to play United on Sunday. I suspect we’ll be told about Welbeck and it is my hope that he was given a precautionary game off for Swansea because Arsene wants him to repeat his heroics again come 4pm on Sunday afternoon. Giroud didn’t exactly sparkle for us against the South Wales side, so the door could be left slightly ajar for another return for him.

There’ll be more on who plays over the weekend I’m sure, but before then we’ve heard from Hector Bellerin, talking about how fast he is. Surely that should have been the world’s quickest article to write up for the official site, no? After all, isn’t the answer “because I was born like that. Fast-twitch muscles, you see”. Apparently not. Apparently you have to work on your speed, so says Hector, which I guess would be true, but I’m pretty sure my GCSE PE teacher Mr Polkinghorne (yep, real name) said something about people being born with either slow-twitch muscles for sprinting or fast-twitch muscles for long distance. Mind you, he also said that rugby was by far an infinitely better tactically, physically and all-round entertainment-wise better sport, so his comments are clearly not without flaw.

It’s interesting how Bellerin has kept his place in the side. Much like Monreal, I did think that when Gibbs and Debuchy were both fully fit, that we’d see them both returned to the starting line up with relative ease. In a way it’s pleasing that they haven’t, because it shows the whole squad that the manager is prepared to give more players a chance and rely less on the experience of the player and the number of international caps that they’ve won, than how their form is at present. That is how every successful squad should operate, so the longer Bellerin plays well, the more chance he’s got of becoming the first choice. I have previously said that Arsene loves his hierarchies in the team and it has felt like that with Arsenal squads of days gone by, but I can’t help but look at some of the players that have forced their way in to the managers thinking and be pleased that he has either changed his mind on having hierarchies of players within the squad, or he’s comfortable enough with the squad that he has that he feels happy to keep players in the team for prolonged periods of time knowing that they are in form and won’t let him down. Perhaps that has been the difference between this current team and Arsenal teams of seasons past.

All of which is to say that I – like many of you – feel relatively comfortable with the squad as it is. Even with no new additions in the summer, I’d still go in to next season expecting us to be competitive and do well, which is a mark on how far I think the team has come in unearthing players who are capable of nailing down a more regular first team slot.

Anyway, that’s enough from me, I shall catch the in the morgen.