So what news from the front line, aka the official site, ahead of this weekend’s round of football?
We’ll certainly find out today at some stage as Arsène – clearly wanting the pain of a press conference out of the way as quickly as possible by doing it today – takes to the microphones to give us an update on player fitness, as well as facing a barrage of questions as to why his team as always, has completed another bottle job. And perpetuated the narrative that Arsenal don’t know how to set up away from home.
I suspect this’ll be a tetchy affair, with the manager giving short shrift to most questions and playing that familiar card of looking a bit bemused whilst saying “no, I don’t think that at all”. I just hope he keeps the excuse making to a minimum. Let’s just get to Saturday as quickly as possible please and focus on trying to beat Hull. A Hull side, I might add, who are rejuvenated under Marcos Silva and who will be a much more difficult opponent to play than six weeks ago.
The only question mark we know about is whether Hector is legally allowed to play. By the sounds of it he seems physically fine, but as you’d expect with a head injury, the players welfare is more important than anything else and so should he not be risked for any technical reason regarding the FA rules around head injuries, I don’t think that anybody will be too annoyed. The guys a human being and was clattered by a flying elbow, so we need to be absolutely sure there are no side effects from that, so let’s all just keep our fingers crossed.
If he is out then you’d normally expect to see somebody like Jenkinson or Debuchy, but both have their reasons for not being picked by the manager, so I think we’ll see Gabriel. Both fullbacks will know that essentially we need to be decimated before either gets a chance, which I think is a real shame, because if Arsène just swallowed his pride a little bit with players like Debuchy, he probably would have a decent back up full back ready and available to step in on Saturday. But as it is we’ll see the awkward sight of Gabriel the full back if our rapid Spaniard doesn’t get back in time.
Aside from that, there’s not a lot going on, other than ex-professional footballers continually crawling out from whatever dark and dank places they came from, to see who can come up with a more ridiculous soundbite about Arsenal players and how they “don’t like it up ’em”. I thought we’d all got over this as a footballing community: nobody likes “it up ’em”. Repeated and persistent fouling is called fouling because it’s an infringement on a game and just because the best team in the league – by a mile – did to Arsenal what they’ve done to lots of teams this season, it doesn’t mean we don’t “like it up us”. We are just not tactically astute, or brimming with confidence at the moment, which is a symptom of the manager’s failure to prepare his team adequately. It’s got nothing to do with whether we like a physical battle or not. I’m sure if I was sad enough I could trawl through Arsenal footage of this season and find more than a dozen or so examples of Arsenal players getting ‘stuck in’. But I won’t because a) I can’t be arsed, and b) it gives some kind of credence to the tired narrative perpetuated by some ‘pundits’ on Arsenal. Watching Match of the Day once a week and forming an opinion on football teams is just dumb. Yet I wonder how many ex-pros do just that and then find the nearest microphone to blurt nonsense in to. A few i reckon.
So much like the level of noise we’ve had on the official site this week, I’m going to keep today’s blog nice and short and sweet.
Then pour over everything Arsène says today in tomorrow’s daily ramblings.