Arsène Wenger always has, and always will be, the master of his own way. I bet he wakes up at the beginning of each week and decides when his press conference will be, lifting his phone only to tell somebody at the club to ‘make the necxessafy arrangements’.
It’s the only explanation for the press conference taking place yesterday, because normally games at home always see the pressers happen on a Friday morning. The Management asked me yesterday when Arsène normally does his pressers. I literally couldn’t give her an answer!
Anyway, that’s all by-the-by, because the important thing is that he had his and so we have something juicy to talk about today.
Firstly, the team news, which whilst it sounds like it’s slightly ominous from the managers perspective, I don’t think there will be too many players who won’t make it, because we saw some of them in training on the official site. So whilst I understand the caution from the manager given Arsenal’s history with injuries, I’d fancy that we might certainly see Hector and Theo back in the starting XI. That would be music to our ears and a sight for sore eyes, because it was that combination that worked so well when we had our last big London derby against Chelski, so to see them link up again can only be a good thing for our chances.
Who will play is supposedly a mystery, if you believe what Arsène said, stayed he has no plan B. I think we all know what his plan A is, but he’s never going to admit it in a million years, so I can understand why he bristled somewhat when he was asked about plan B specifically in relation to Giroud. He’s always been a staunch defender of his players and specifically got behind them if they seem susceptible to confidence drain, so he was always going reject an accusation that a specific player was a plan B.
But to all intents and purposes, I think we all know that Giroud is likely to start from the bench on Sunday, with a mobile front three in place, hoping to pull around the Tottenham defenders. The good thing is that Giroud appears to be taking the decision to rotate him well, having scored two in three and I suspect that even if he doesn’t start on Sunday, he’ll get some game time at some stage.
Whether Xhaka also plays is yet to be clear. Arsène was asked about his discipline and whilst he did defend Granit’s mentality, he did admit that he needs to keep his cool sometimes, so I wonder if he’ll give him a start in a heated North London derby. All Premier League teams do so much research on their opponents, it will be impossible to think that they won’t have recognised that they might be able to ‘get to’ Xhaka, so if he plays i expect ‘orrible little scroats like Danny Rose to dive in, dive when touched, and generally try to cheat their way to gaining an advantage. So it will be important for the Swiss to keep his cool if he plays.
Arsène was also asked about Wilshere and whilst his words suggested that he wants to keep Jack beyond his current loan spell, I wasn’t exactly convinced by his conviction, so sadly I think that we’ve probably seen the end of Wilshere in an Arsenal shirt. I hope that’s not the case, but I just have a feeling, y’know?
Just finally, before I wrap up for the day, night I say that I was glad Arsène didn’t remotely rise to the bait of drumming down or doing up the Totts yesterday. The media are looking for any kind of comment that can be twisted in games like these, so the fact that he totally blanded-up his comments are a-ok with me. I think it was the 3-0 win at the Emirates (when Cesc scored the mega-quick goal after kick off) that Robbie Keane was quoted saying that their side was better than ours player for player, which was a glorious bit of ammo to give our team that day. Arsène’s too long in the tooth to return such a favour, but one does always worry about that sort of comment being used as a motivational aid, so it’s always good when the opposition gets nothing.
What we need to make sure now, is that they get nothing for their travels on Sunday, so here’s hoping for three points and plenty of goals.
Catch you tomorrow with more pre-game thoughts.