Ahh Friday. Full of promise of a weekend of enjoyment, full of Arsenal and everything a home 3pm Saturday afternoon kick off and full of fallout from an Arsène Wenger press conference.
For it is he, the man with which so much irritation appears to be directed, who has caused much consternation amongst some Arsenal fans who wanted to see fresh faces. Instead they are greeted with announcements of surgeries and ‘little setbacks’ to players with whom some of them didn’t believe we’re good enough to fulfil their potential in an Arsenal shirt.
Yes folks, Arsène The Deceiver didn’t tell us about the injury to Welbeck and yesterday he uttered words that may just be etched on to his tombstone – ‘little setback’ – to the assembled media.
Except he says he didn’t know. Did he? Didn’t he? We’ll probably never find out. But of all of the press conferences I’ve seen of the manager, I’ve yet to see signs of a man who tells porkies in pressers. Before the transfer window ‘slammed shut’, to coin a yellow-tied shouty Scotsman’s phrase, he had said he thought Welbeck would be back after the international break. Why say that if he didn’t believe it was true? Arsène is an eloquent man. He could easily give a vague response that neither answers the question nor gives any hints, so if he really is this treachrous pariah he’s being made out to be, why would he make a rod for his own back?
I think the reality is that he probably didn’t know. Perhaps that’s no excuse for spending the GDP of a small Island off the coast of Asian to bring in any player available (ahem, United), but I’d like to look at the glass being full and see that Arsène is having faith in his squad, so it’s up to them to repay him.
He’s certainly giving Giroud and Walcott plenty of confidence boosters by not signing any players and by referencing their comparative ages of 26 and 28, he’s laid down the gauntlet to those two players to show everyone what they’re capable enough. He’s saying that they’re old enough and experienced enough to assert their dominance and they’ve got until January to prove that he was right to put his faith in them.
Rather than gnash my teeth, I think I’ll chose admiration for that belief he has in the players, certainly at this point in the season where any initial stuttering starts can be rectified with a sequence of wins. A victory against Stoke tomorrow and some goals from those that are currently maligned will go some way to satisfying the quiet masses. Those that are neither staunch and blindingly loyal to Arsène, or mutinous to their core over the Frenchman, are the real people he needs to win over. They’re the ones that if the team is winning football matches and scoring goals, will help to sway the general opinion to that of positivity, but they need help. Help in the shape of winning, coherent style and structure of play and plenty of onion bag rustling.
I’m one of those people you see. If Arsenal are winning, Arsène could call up the entire cast of Strictly 2014 for all I care, because the names come and go all the time.
Still, if you are in to the type of players that are playing, you’ll have been no doubt pleased to hear of the return of both Per and Laurent from illness and injury, respectively. I don’t know what kind of plague Big Per had, but I thought illness was only supposed to last a few days, so I hope his bout of leprosy has cured. We could do with his arm not falling off before the game. Even if it does, we have the angriest man in the squad to replace him, so that’s ok. If he gets a sniffly, Gabriel would probably just stare himself down in the mirror until the pain went away. “Lost my arm? I’ll just see it back on”.
Love that guy.
I love goals more though. It’s something Arsène says that we’ll get eventually and do you know what? I believe him. Not because I worship the cult of Wenger, but because we’re creating chances, and we have players who haven’t turned pants overnight. They’ve proved they can score and they’ve individually already done it for either club or country. Guess what? We will score again this season. We’re not nil-nilling our way to May. I promise you. Call that a gamble if you will, but I just have a hunch.
So let’s go with that hunch, eh, and let’s hope I’m on to something. Starting tomorrow against the Orcs.