It’s Christmas Eve, I’ve already begun The Fattening, and yesterday we had Arsene give an update on the latest team news ahead of West Brom at home on Boxing Day. And after a pretty stinky time of late, it appears there was a bit of Christmas cheer to be had from the press conference, in the shape of Danny Welbeck returning to training, the Ox being out for days rather than weeks, and Aaron Ramsey nearly back as well.
Isn’t that a nice nugget of information for us to get before we start chowing down on all manner of Christmas delights?
The Ramsey news is good because it’s another option when others fail in the midfield. I’ve not been his biggest fan, but I recognise that he adds something to the squad and to be quite honest with you, we need as many options as possible when it’s not working like last week.
The Ox injury is not as serious and that’s good news because he was starting to look like he could contribute more towards the team in comparison with the start of the season. After his first couple of appearances for us at the beginning of this season, it looked as though his Arsenal career was about to hit the skids, but he’s shown enough about him in the last couple of games he’s played in, to suggest that he may yet be able to show us a return to the exciting kid that arrived at Arsenal all those years ago. I’m reckoning he will possibly start against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day. I suspect Arsene will give him a place on the bench at best against the Baggies, but he’ll have more of a role against what will probably be Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace.
As for Welbeck, well that’s the real cherry on the Christmas Cake, isn’t it? Back in full training early and hopefully he’ll start making the match day squad soon. I don’t think that will be during this Christmas period – the guy has effectively had two years out after all – but I wonder if Arsene is targeting the Preston game for his return. That seems like a sensible one. Perhaps a place in the squad against Bournemouth, followed by a start or at least more minutes against Preston.
Let’s not forget just what Welbeck brings to the team. He has pace, he can adopt the high press like Alexis does and he will run all day, although admittedly not as much as the Chilean. His finishing sometimes can be called in to question, but I think there’s no doubt that were he to get back and get enough time without being injured, we’d have a very good player who can be a vital part in the team. Particularly on that left hand side. With the news that Julian Draxler is almost certainly going ton sign for PSG, and Arsene saying yesterday that he doesn’t expect to make any January signings, I think we’ll need a fully fit Welbeck to inject something more in to this team. Hopefully his arrival can be the boost to the team at the right time.
Arsene also leapt to the defence of Mesut, who let’s face it was toilet for the last couple of games, again talking about his perceived ‘lazy’ style. I thought everyone had already got over that misconception? I thought even the media had read into the ground he covers, etc, etc, and this wasn’t a ‘thing’ any more? He was terrible in our last couple of games and sure, looked like he couldn’t give a sh*t, but every player has off days, so to label him with the ‘lazy’ tag, as if it’s a regular occurrence, is just…well…’lazy’ journalism.
What we do need to see from Mesut, as well as the rest of the team actually, is a response against West Brom on Monday. We need him and his teammates to ideally make a statement. Show the world that we’re angry and annoyed with ourselves, so the response will be to absolutely put West Brom to the sword. I’m not sure whether that will actually happen at all; we do have a habit of taking a while to recover from setbacks like the Everton and City games, but that’s what you’d want to see in an ideal world.
The alternative, of course, is scraping a win, but being so utterly dominant that at least you can say that the team is starting to show it can gel together again, so that’s what I’m hoping for as my Boxing Day gift from Arsenal.
As for anything else, well, there wasn’t really anything else, so I’m off to fry some pig. Then eat the pig. Then feel obese. But then not care and go down the pub for a couple of pints with my mate Harry.