So, it has been confirmed that we will be top of the league come New Year’s Day, after the two City’s – Leicester and Manchester – failed to score and ended with a 0-0 stalemate. It’s the best possible result that we could have hoped for, in truth, because a Moneychester win would have put them closer to us, where as a Leicester win would have been another scalp and a worrying trend that they might just go the whole season playing like this. I’m getting more and more convinced that they’re going to end up with no injuries and very little fatigue and will certainly be challenging for the Champions League spots come May, along with *sigh*, the Spuds. I know I know, they have historically always ballsed it up somewhere along the line, but their current position is enough for me to be looking at their situation and the fact they keep getting the rub of the green and worrying. Teams that go on winning streaks – or streaks in which they don’t lose – are always going to be dangerous. Look at Liverpool three seasons ago. That looked like a pretty average team to me, yet they managed to go on a run that saw them a slip away from winning the league, so imagine if the Spuds have a similar run. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
What does bear thinking about, however, is the fact that Arsenal appear to be on the verge of the first signing of the new year in that of Mohammed Eleny from Basel. I will not pretend to know anything about him, but like any of you guys with access to a PC, I’m sure you’ve been trawling the interweb in search of more information about him. By all accounts he seems a bit of a hybrid of a few players in our team. He’s a little more in the mould of Coquelin, but is also good on the ball and occasionally ventures forward. To me, with Arteta’s contract running out at the end of the season and his injury problems sure to put pay to his time as Arsenal captain, I suspect Eleny is a fast-tracked replacement for our Lego-headed Spaniard. If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s a good thing he’s coming in to the team now. Sure, we need the bodies with our creaking squad, but it also looks like Arsene is making a similar move to the one that saw Gabriel sign in January as a back up, but also to give him six months to acclimatise to the league and to avoid any unnecessary pressure on the Egyptian. So for me it makes sense.
It is also lovely to see Arsene and his team be so decisive. There will be plenty of people who will bemoan the fact that we’re not spending big on a big name, but when have we ever done that in January? When have those players been available? The only one you could say that has come close has been Arshavin and a) that never really worked out, and b) he was clearly very available from Zenit and had already explained via his mouthy agent that he wanted a move to a big European league. Arshavin had a big impact immediately, but quickly faded. If Eleny is the reverse of that – i.e. signs for little fuss with little expectation, but grows in to an important player – I’d much rather see it in the long-term than a short-term quick fix.
We also have to remember that quick fixes can also affect the overall team dynamic if they are big names. Just look at big name signings down the years that have come in with a big reputation elsewhere and done very little. Falcao is the current busted flush. Who wants a big name that just makes up the numbers and then in six months time is called the ‘deadwood’ because they’re on big wages and have a three year deal? Not me guv’nor.
So overall I’m quite happy with what the club are trying to do. Let’s just look at the signings from the last two January windows: Gabriel who is starting to show what a valuable player he’s going to be in the coming years, as well as Monreal who has been a mainstay of the team for over a year now. So if those two are the most recent examples, I think we can be pretty hopeful that Eleny will be a decent signing for us.
There’s loads of other positive stuff on the official site from Cech, The Ox and Chambers, but I won’t bore you by reciting what they’ve said, so have a look yourself and keep your Arsenal fix going until we get some more info from the boss at his presser today.
Catch you later peeps.