With a host of players currently on international duty, it’s a pretty quiet time, if truth be told, so we’re left with some comments from the players whilst on international duty, usually about their national team. Like Nacho, for example, who has spoken of the physicality of the English Premier League and how that has helped him to develop as an all-round player.
He really has come so far over the last year. I seem to recall plenty of people saying that he was £8million not well spent and was a bit of a liability after performances like the one against Moneychester City when we lost 6-3 away from home, but as with a lot of things in life, it was more down to the fact that he hadn’t been able to build any momentum rather than his actual ability that had hampered his own development. He’s now well and truly established as the first choice left back and Kieran Gibbs is left biding his time and hoping for an injury to take his chance. And let’s not forget that Gibbs is a top quality left back. But if something does happen to Nacho, it will be interesting to see the fan response if Gibbs makes a mistake or two after a game or two. It is inevitable as he finds his rhythm, so as fans we always need to be a little bit more patient.
Nacho is in the Spain squad and so is his compatriot Hector Bellerin, who also seems to have taken the right back position as his own, much to the annoyance of Debuchy. Matthieu has been chin-wagging to the French press and as usual when a footballer comes out on international duty, he invariably says something that doesn’t sound too positive. Debuchy is absolutely right to be unhappy about not playing regularly since returning from injury, but to say that he’d contemplated leaving after one game in the season seems a bit rich to me. Especially as he has spent so many weeks and months out injured last season. He surely knows what life is like at a big club, that competition is strong and you need to bide your time. Arsene will not freeze Debuchy out, but you shouldn’t expect to just return to the first team, especially if you can see that the guy in your position is playing so well.
Hopefully when he comes back from international duty he just applies himself and doesn’t go all Lassana Diarra on us. In a team in which we’ve all heard about harmony, we could do without somebody kicking up a stink, so hopefully he’ll just dispel any potential unrest when he’s back in England and doesn’t have the French press in his ear.
So we’re in the midst of this transfer break and having to deal with talk about England in Blighty, so Rooney is dominating the headlines, which makes it all rather unpalatable if I’m honest, because none of it is interesting. England play San Marino in a pointless qualifier that they just have to turn up to win and we Arsenal fans have to switch on to get any dose of football if we’re feeling parched for our obsession. Not for me. I doubt they’ll be many Arsenal players on show – perhaps The Ox and that’s it – and all I’m really interested in is that they don’t come back in pieces. Ozil seems to have got through his international game unscathed, as well as Cech, Rambo and Koscienly, so hopefully they’ll be fine for the next round of matches and we can look forward to Stoke.
So what else is there going on? Well there’s plenty of people starting to predict their Premier League tables, including our former star-turned-pundit Paul Merson, who has predicted his Premier League table. Merson was particularly scathing about Arsenal when the window slammed shut and with some of his choice words coming out about how the fans have been cheated. Yet despite this, he’s still predicted us to finish third. This train of thought seems to be the same amongst a lot of pundits I see. They’re quick to lay in to Arsenal, but they still say we’re one of the best teams in the division, something you wouldn’t have thought of if you’d have listen to what they say about the club.
Merse also has Crystal Palace in at fifth, so I suppose his comments should be taken with a pinch of salt. He’s a guy who seems to be very dependent on the here and now rather than look at the bigger picture. Palace have had a good start to the season and who knows, they might become this season’s Southampton, but even Southampton fell away to seventh, so if Palace have a good season I’d still be surprised to see them near the top four. The league will have a familiar shape to it as it usually does and that’s because the teams are all generally in the position that is relevant for how good their squad is. Ours is better than last season because players have played together for longer and we have improved in-goal. So perhaps we can surprise a few people and do a few places better? Is it really outside the realm of possibility?
Anyway, I’m rambling, so I’ll say my goodbyes and hope you survive this intolerable weekend of football boredom.