I don’t know whether it’s acceptable or not to be happy that Liverpool saw a couple more players go down with hamstring injuries yesterday evening against Stoke. I don’t wish injury on anybody really, even those who are the morally bottom-of-the-barrel footballers who might deserve it through their on or off field antics, but the idea that Liverpool might be a depleted team when we come to town is appealing to me.
This is a crucial stage in the season for us and one in which there are many journalists sharpening their proverbial ‘told you Arsenal couldn’t hack it’ pencils in anticipation of an Arsenalesque collapse. So the idea that we’re being handed little advantages with upcoming games is appealing to me. Coutinho was a real handful at The Emirates and if by chance he isn’t playing at Anfield next Wednesday, then I’m fine with that, because it increases the probability of an Arsenal victory.
I’m also trying to find positives in the whole ‘Pep’ saga, hoping that it has an element of destabilisation to Moneychester City and their bid for the title. If there are some players who don’t deal with uncertainty well, then I’m all for that, although I seem to recall Pellegrini had a similar situation at Real Madrid in terms of speculation. He won the league for them before being shunted out of the door, so hopefully that doesn’t mean he’s well versed in delivering success, knowing he’s out the door because he isn’t the current flavour of the month.
As for Arsenal, it appears the Elneny transfer is all but done, given the official Twitter feed announced that he was not at training to finalise a deal. This is a transfer which started gathering momentum just before Christmas and hopefully will have a resolution within the next 24 hours, so that he is available to play a part in the game on Saturday. Even if it’s to be presented to the crowd to wave at everyone and give everyone hope he’s the next Patrick Vieira, i.e. signed for relatively little but becomes an integral part of the team, that would be nice to see on Saturday. I know that those signings hardly ever happen these days, but it would be nice to see, no?
It’d also be nice if it was a completely random signing too, in terms of nobody knowing about it, I mean. But in these days where clicks mean cash and everybody can pretend to have an insider source, there’s so much of the brown stuff being chucked around everywhere, that some of it sticks and the result is that by the time the transfer is announced everyone’s already looking at the next one. Whenever that may be.
Still, we appear to have our cover in midfield, to which I wonder if Elneny will be a bit more of a Coquelin/Rambo hybrid, than a completely defensive midfielder. Perhaps he’ll be what Arteta morphed in to during his time at Arsenal. I’d be more than happy with that, that’s for sure, so we’ll just have to wait with anticipation. But not surprise. That was taken away from us weeks ago.
A quick tip of the cap too, to the Borussia Dortmund official Twitter feed, who completely shot down a certain fraud who goes by a name similar to Harrison Ford’s Dr Jones. Having speculated his way through an Aubemeyang potential move on Twitter, the BVB PR team shot down this notorious ITK by proclaiming that his reasons for missing training were well documented and not related to any kind of transfer shenanigans. Have a look at their Twitter feed and see for yourself. The only down side of it is that this particular ITK individual will most probably use it as some sort of validation of his ‘sources’, that the big clubs pay attention to him, but just for the lasting he’ll get on Twitter it’s worth it.
The only other bit of Arsenal gossip, which I think might be somewhat interesting, is the future of Joel Campbell. Interesting because if the rumours are true and his contract expires at the end of the season, it’s hard for both parties to work out what the best possible outcome for the player is, I think. At present he’s doing a good job and is in the team on merit. He’s keeping The Ox on the bench or at least as a rotational player, but for me he’s not 100% ripping up trees, not like Coquelin did anyway. This time last year it was obvious that Le Coq had found his place in the team and the club moved quickly to secure his future. He carved out a niche that wasn’t filled and the result was him placed as number one choice in that holding midfield role. But Campbell still has plenty of people to fight with in that position. I suspect he will want to bide his time in deciding whether to sign for somebody like Galatasaray, who are said to be holding talks with him, given he (maybe) has only six months to run on his current deal. As the players returning from injury start to come back in to contention, he may find himself further down the pecking order, but if he manages to retain his place despite the other senior players in the squad being available, he’ll surely sign an extensions with the Arsenal. Let’s keep an eye on how that one progresses.