If results go the way that I’d expect today, by the time we’re all singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, we could have a distance of 12 points to make up on Chelski to win the league before we play Palace tomorrow at 4pm. Sadly, I’m not full enough of Christmas/New Year hope that Stoke will do us any favours, because they’re terrible away from home. When you add that to the fact that Chelski are grinding out win after win, I am fully expecting tomorrow to feel like a make-or-break game for us. A draw will leave us 11 away, a win just brings it back to nine, whilst defeat would be unthinkable and the obituary on our Premier League title aspirations can be written for another season.
He did, as should be expected, put on as much of a positive face as he could when facing the media yesterday. He delivered the news about the team with a nugget of excitement for us all by telling us that Danny Welbeck looks surprisingly sharp in training. He hasn’t ruled him out being in the squad tomorrow and whilst I’d love to see him back sooner rather than later, none of us wants to see the old Diaby effect, do we? So My hope is that we see a pragmatic Arsene choose his squad tomorrow.
Gibbs has been confirmed as out as we already knew, Mustafi is back, then some unnamed players have the frigging flu. So that turns tomorrow in to a bit of a lottery because Arsene never said who. We’ll just have to hope that whoever has it has recovered sufficiently enough to be considered for first team action.
Sadly, it’s the time in the season when managers get asked about transfers, so Arsene was asked about both incomings and outgoings. He was unsurprisingly muted when it comes to reacting to Debuchy’s comments. But I guess you’d expect that from Arsene. Her never digs out his players, no matter how much they might sometimes deserve it. Personally, I’d tell Debuchy he’s off to St Mirren and to go wait outside the ground like Odemwingie for a few days, but I’m a spiteful little SOB sometimes. I never really liked the phrase ‘be the bigger man’, which is probably why I couldn’t take a job in the public eye, because i’d get in front of the press for all the wrong reasons. Denbuchy is becoming a bit of a pain though. You do feel like saying “mate, what are you doing? If you get back fit you’ll get game time with Arsenal. But how the friar tuck can Wenger play you when you can’t even break in to a run? you’re injured you tool”. He’s been unlucky with injuries, but the way he’s reacted in the press is all very Lassana Diarra, so we’re probably best just shipping him out in January to see if we can either get any cash for him, but mainly get him off the wage book.
As for the other tittle-tattle, the Ox stuff was dismissed in a matter of seconds and given Klopp has also called it nonsense, it’s clearly a bit of the old ‘agent like to talk to press’ jibber-jabber. Best to ignore. Ox’s people want more money and now that he’s strung together some games and a few goals, are reaching out to Arsenal with outstretched palms. If Arsenal want that deal to happen it will, but it’s other deals we’re all more worried about, like Alexis, Ozil and I’d even say Jacky Wilshere. I’d love to see him back at Arsenal next season after a nine months of football under his belt at Bournemouth. Then a new deal sorted and an opportunity to stake a claim alongside Xhaka.
Can you imagine that? A midfield of Jack and Xhaka? I think it would work better than Ramsey and Xhaka, which seems to be the people’s favourite position. Jack just seems to have that ability to travel with the ball and so if he’s a deep-lying midfielder who can get us out of tight spaces with the ability to travel, then Xhaka would have a player who both sticks close to him for ball retention, but will also not always get caught so high u-p the pitch when we’re going forward. Anyway, that’s just a pipe dream right now, with more pressing matters to concern ourselves with.
Like how we beat Palace tomorrow. Arsene once again talked up Ozil in his presser, talking about how hard he’s worked and how a couple of games have gone against him this season like at City, and you do wonder if Mesut needs a little love right now after the pasting he’s had. If we’re going to turn over Palace tomorrow, Ozil needs to be back to his free-flowing best. We need him to be producing and to be linking with Alexis and the other forward-line players. He came up with the goods by way of an assist against West Brom and I’m hoping that we get more of the same tomorrow. But you do wonder how much his confidence gets affected, if Arsene is having to keep mentioning him in press conferences. I can imagine that if it was Alexis being called in to question, Arsene would simply bat away the comments with simple one-liners, but he does make a point of giving some players an extra few sentences on how great they are sometimes.
Hopefully it helps to push him in the right direction, in terms of form, because he’s going to be needed tomorrow.
And that’s pretty much all I feel like talking about today. I certainly don’t want to talk about the ol’ Walrus today – maybe tomorrow – and the last thing I want to do is what Arsene did when he was waxing lyrical about how awesome Chelski are. That would leave a nasty taste in my mouth. And I’m quite happy without that thank you very much.
So 2016 ends from today and whilst football-wise it will hardly be one that leaves us with happiness, the joys of having hope for 2017 can perhaps provide a bit more cheer for us gooners.
Catch you all tomorrow with a match preview. Maybe. I mean, I will be stupidly hung over, after all.