Good old Arsène and his early press conferences. It gives me something to talk about on a Friday, you see, so I’m always happy when it happens. Of course, Saturday may still be a quiet day, but that’s none of my concern first thing on a Friday morning, I can tell thee!
Concerns. Do we have any ahead of Sunday’s game away to Norwich? Apart from whether Flamini will be able to find his old self and resurrect the 2008 edition, it seems there are only minor question marks about Alexis’ calf, or Campbell’s fitness too. But with Alexis being made of a compound ten times stronger than a titanium/Teflon hybrid, I suspect that he’ll be available. The man will run through a brick wall to prove his fitness. He’ll have a leg hanging off and dismiss it as ‘just a scratch’, so I’d be surprised if he isn’t in from the start, which after his two-goal haul on Tuesday can only be a good thing.
As for Campbell, I wonder whether he would have started anyway, with the return of Rambo and possibly the Ox. The Welshman got some minutes in midweek and I guess the question will remain in Arsène’s head as to whether he’s risked on Sunday from the start. Otherwise, it’s probably not even a question, because although Campbell has shown flashes (like his assist for the third goal against Zagreb) it hasn’t been in enough quantity to force the manager to play him.
So all in all the news is looking more positive. And we might even see Theo next weekend too. Happy days.
Arsène also spoke about the title race, in which he mentioned that there are too many teams still in it to call it, even not ruling Chelski out. I don’t know if it was just the transcript on the official site, as I haven’t watched the video yet, but I loved his little quip about the Chavs after he said he didn’t rule them out or any of the team’s down the bottom. Boom! Take that you Portuguese specialist in failure.
He’s right though. The league is too tight and it does look like nobody is willing to take it by the scruff of the neck like Chelski did last season. I saw a stat yesterday which showed the number of points compared to this time last season for last season’s top four. Unsurprisingly, most are underperforming, although Arsenal are on the same points I believe. Which given that we were out of the title race by October, shows just how open this league is, meaning a good run of wins will put any team in a good position. That’s why the Norwich game is important. It’s the second in a string of ‘winnable’ fixtures, one of which we’ve already fluffed up, so if we don’t pick up three points this weekend you’d have to say we’re in a spot of bother. A draw against the Canaries would mean two points out of a possible nine and although we got fortunate that City got a hiding last weekend, I’d be surprised if that happened again, so we need to make sure we respond.
Still, at least we have ‘bargain’ players who are on song at the moment, like Özil. Arsène’s been singing his praises again and rightly so, because he’s banging in goals at the same time as making assists left, right and centre. If you read my ramblings regularly you’ll know that I’m somewhat of a fan of the German, but it appears that the rest of the non-Arsenal supporting world is becoming one too, I’d wager primarily because he’s scoring goals now. It’s a sad indictment of the ‘highlights-only’ watching world that it’s only when they see him on the end of moves that they think he’s been having an impact. Even when he was supposedly ‘nicking a living’ he was still an influential player; quietly controlling the play, retaining possession, keeping us moving and always being an outlet in those pockets between midfield and attack. Many of us Arsenal fans have seen this for some time, but only now that he’s scoring, are the media and other football fans paying attention.
There was some stuff about doping in football and having 11 leaders on the pitch, but the former is a subject which requires more time and interest from those in power, who have no interest in it at all. So it isn’t really something I can comment on if I’m honest. There will always be cheats. There will be always be ways of getting around the tests. The authorities don’t care because they don’t want to halt any gravy train that might be affected by some sort of whistle blowing campaign. So for fans like you and I, writing, talking and emploring people to do something about it is a bit like pissing in the wind.
Anyway, I’m out of time with my train soon to go in to the depths of the London Underground network of tunnels, so I shall bid you adieu.