Monday’s do suck sometimes, don’t they? Usually when you don’t feel at your fighting best and after a lovely relaxing evening with The Management, complete with a bit of booze and Christmas turkey and crackers, I find myself a little achey and tired as I begin today’s travel to work. Gawd only knows how footballers in their mid to late 30s do it. Mind you, I suspect their general welfare is a little looked after than mine, and I suspect they don’t get to 9pm at night and fancy a glass of port. So that’s to be expected I suppose.
Don’t know how those players did it in the 80s and early 90s though. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that they would have taken the port and trained the next day.
Anyway, no time to be spinning off into more rambling nonsense, because we’ve arrived at the time of year when Premier League games are coming quick and fast and tomorrow evening we’re up against Everton at Goodison Park. Which means I suspect Arsène might have some kind of pre-match presser, or at least some kind of team news updates, the key one of which will be Mustafi. He limped off at the weekend holding his hammy and if that’s a strain, we might not see him until after the Christmas period, which is quite a blow given the number of games we play. Gabriel will therefore come in today and the fact that Hector got a good 65-odd minutes on Saturday was a bit of a godsend really. It means he can come in and we’re not too disrupted as a team. Hopefully.
The other question mark might be on Alexis, who I thought looked like he was walking a little gingerly towards the end of the match. That’s to be expected when you have a little scumbag like Charlie Adam stamping on you I guess. It has been quite remarkable that nobody seems to be talking about the sly bit of play from the midfielder, but then again what else would we expect from a player like him, because we all know he has form. Even with Alexis.
Personally I think a muzzle on that guy wouldn’t be seen as too cruel, but perhaps that’s just how they work in Stoke, letting their animals roam free across the town.
Anyway, we don’t have to worry about that lot until next year now, so we can get on with our season and hopefully the good form continues tomorrow night. In the pub before the game I got chatting to a few of the usual crowd and we started to play the game of totting up the points until the new year, trying to work out what is the bare minimum that we’d need to get to consider December a ‘good’ month. Everyone seemed to settle on 11 points from 15, with two draws possibly against Everton and City, which I’d probably go along with. Of course this was before the Stoke game had taken place, so now that those points are in the bag, I wonder if much has changed?
Probably not. Stoke at home was always one that you’d put down as ‘we should be winning that’. Likewise for West Brom, although they caused Chelski some frustrations yesterday it seems, as well as Crystal Palace. But the next two games are those that you could see us dropping some points. Regardless of how poor Everton’s run of form is, they’ve always been a tough opponent and tomorrow will be no different, especially given Koeman’s in charge. He’s got a decent record against Arsenal and I’m expecting that to come through tomorrow. There are just some managers who know how to play against Arsène’s teams. Koeman seems to be one of them.
Then next Sunday we play City away and yes, they’ve been poor in their last two league matches, but there’s no way they’ll be as shoddy as they were against Leicester on Saturday. So I’m expecting us to get a rough ride in Manchester.
Would I take two draws right now? Well, a win and a loss is better from a points perspective, but sometimes your h just wonder how much more valuable the psychological advantage of being on their unbeaten run is. So yes, I probably would take two points from the next two games, if you offered it to me.
Unless you want to offer me six. I’ll take that more.
Let’s hope Arsène can grab that. If he can, we’ll go in to the Christmas period in a fantastic position.
Keep ’em crossed.
Catch you tomorrow.