In classic Arsène and Arsenal style, I predicted a press conference yesterday, which inevitably led to there being none whatsoever. I have a history of shoddy predictions when it comes to Arsenal, which is why I don’t bother making them on the blog usually, especially when it comes to games. I don’t need that kind of guilt, man.
So by the time you read today’s blog, Arsène might possibly have already spoken to the media, given his update and be on his way to the North East. I’ll be following him later – some of us have work to do first, Arsène – but I have to say I’m surprised he’s leaving it so late. He must be attending his presser, getting straight on to the bus, then heading straight up to Luton for a flight. Thing is, they know they’ll definitely be getting in to the stadium during the game, so they can take advantage of booking those easyJet flights in advance. That must be it. That must be why they’re leaving it so late to travel. No other reason at all. Can’t be. Unless Alexis doesn’t like leaving his dogs unattended for more than 48 hours. In that case, it makes sense that the team are travelling up today, obviously.
I’ll be making the commute tonight for the game, via car, so I’ll probably get to the North East around 11.30pm. It’ll mean a tired start to the game on Saturday, but hopefully not the same for the players selected tomorrow. I mentioned my thoughts on the attacking options and the possibility of The Ox, but we’ll get a better indication of the managers thinking when he addresses the hacks later. He won’t give anything away, but more than anything else, I’m looking for him talking up a specific player. It may just be that he’s been prompted by a journo, but if he’s willing to give a little extra sugar on top of the praise for someone like The Ox, for example, it could be a little sign that we might see a change or two from last weekend. Who knows.
A quick interlude of a tip of the cap to the club for putting some of the players in retro shirts. The ones worn by Ramsey and Alexis are of particular joy to me – the yellow jersey was the first one I ever wore and so it has a particular significance to me personally. Although having seen me as a full kit w*nker at seven years old, I’m glad they didn’t show the old style short shorts!
The other question marks that appear to be on the cards, are a diagnosis of Lucas’ injury picked up in the game against Reading. He was thudded in to by a guy who looked more at home in a Technogym than a football field, and if the rumours of him being out for six weeks are true, it’s a massive blow for us. Massive because we already have Welbeck (remember him) out and a six week stint on the sides for another striker, means we’re looking at just Giroud or Alexis (bearing in mind that Theo is seen as a wide forward these days) until at least mid December. With Welbeck unlikely to make any meaningful impression on the team until the new year, this puts quite a bit of pressure on Ollie and Alexis.
If I can try and put a positive slant on things though, the rest of the team are chipping in with goals. I think Kos has a couple, the Ox has a few, Santi’s bagged a few pens, Alexis is scoring, Theo too, not to mention Özil’s new found penchant for hitting the net, so if the goals are spread around it means less press for that central striker. That’s preferable for all of us, but with the games unlikely to slow down in volume, the full extent of the first team squad will be tested, so we’re going to need everyone.
That includes people like Jenko, who is making all the right moves about pushing Hector for a first team place. He’s saying all the right things, which is great, but barring injury to Hector it’s unlikely he’ll play much between now and January. But I think he’s the most natural deputy to Hector, so we all need to be happy about his return to the first team and hopefully he can get a few more games than just the League Cup one against Southampton in about a month’s time. Personally though, when we get to January, I hope the manager ignores any overtures of a possible exit and keeps him on, offloading the ghost of Debuchy out of the club. I suspect this’ll be one of those “you can leave on a free mate” jobs. I had sympathy for Debuchy, but the way he’s angled for an exit ever since he lost his place to Hector, hasn’t really left me with too much loyalty I’m afraid.
Other than that, there’s not much else going on until Arsène speaks, so I’ll take my leave and bid you ‘good day’.