Quite a lot to get through, after an eventful day yesterday, eh? First and foremost, the AGM and I’ll make this relatively brief because a) I wasn’t there, and b) it has precious little to do with what is on the pitch and more about what is happening in the boardroom. Or not happening, apparently, as questions were once again raised about Stan taking £3million out of Arsenal for what is essentially a ‘dividend by any other name’. A couple of years ago I speculated that Stan would hold on to his Arsenal asset until the new TV deals come in, then sell at an increased profit for some easy money without investing. Obviously I was wrong, because we know now that his end game was to see the club make enough cash, for him to start psyphoning off cash without needing to put anything in. Easy money for him and for us we just have to deal with it, powerless and penniless to stop him. And there’s nothing that people like Sir Chips (who assumed Hill-Woodian arrogance by patronising the assembled shareholders/fans yesterday) could do even if they wanted to. It’s Stan’s asset and he’ll milk it if he wants to.
Still, at least there was a pre-match presser from Arsène yesterday to try to dilute some of the inevitable rage from fans, as we look towards a London derby with Watford and not spreadsheets for our Arsenal entertainment.
The good news appears to be that most have returned to the club in good health. Koscienly missed the international break through injury and faces a fitness test, whilst Arsène will sweat a bit on the fatigue levels of Alexis. He only arrived back in the UK on Wednesday afternoon I believe, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find out tomorrow that he’s on the bench. Arsène said that he plays tomorrow’s game without Bayern in mind, but surely he must be mindful of the miles that Alexis has completed – both on the pitch and off it – and at some point we need to recharge our Chilean Energiser Bunny.
But if he’s fit, he’ll start, if anything I’d rather that than the Bayern game. We’re likely to be facing exit from the competition by this time next weekend, so we need to fire all cannons in the direction of the Premier League because let’s all be honest, that’s the one we really want to win.
I think Arsène is mindful of that too. In yesterday’s press conference he was understandably coy about the teams chances of the league, not wanting to appear too brash maybe, but he must be looking at the league table and seeing an opportunity here. We’re two points off City and they have just lost two of their talismatic figures for an extended period of time in Silva and Aguero. We seem to have some players hitting a bit of form and in Alexis’ case, he’s going super nova with his goal tally right now, so surely Arsène smells an opportunity? He talked about there being a top eight realistically competing for the league and whilst I understand his comments given the fact so many teams have already dropped points, now is the time where the league starts to compartmentalise itself into mini leagues. There’s always two or three teams fighting for the title and if we want to be one of the two or three, we simply have to be winning the majority of our games over the next two months, so if that means we sacrifice the Champions League then personally I’m all for it.
I’m also all for Mourinho continuing to indirectly dig out Arsène, as he did yesterday when talking about his fine and suspended sentence handed out by the FA, referencing specifically about their spat last season. Jose is now going for Wenger on a consistent basis and it really is ironic that a man who accused Arsène of voyeurism is spending quite a bit of time looking in his direction himself. The cult of Mourinho is falling, the church from which he has built his legacy is slowly crumbling at the edges and he increasingly looks like a man desperately lashing out for attention. His paranoia is there for all to see and, as I tweeted yesterday evening, I do wonder if Arsène is (in his head at least) doing a bit of a Fergie/Rafa “yes! I’ve got him” moment right now, because Jose is looking very Keeganesque in his rants at the moment. Long may it continue because as Arsène said, whilst they have a big gap to close down, they do still have the quality to do it so we need to be mindful that Chelski will in all likelihood go on a run soon.
Let’s just hope that the misery can continue a little longer, because this is quite amusing at the moment, I must say.
Right, it’s Friday, I have work and you have whatever it is you’re doing. Go do it and be well, friend.