So we finally got a bit of news to chew on yesterday, with Arsène assuming the usual position in front of the furry mics and talking ahead of the game on Saturday. And unsurprisingly, most of the chitter-chatter centred around his contract, to which he also (unsurprisingly) batted away and gave no real indication on what he was going to do.
I did note that although he dismissed the idea of becoming the next Barca manager after Luis Enrique said he would leave in the sunmer, he did say it wasn’t really a problem for people announcing their future before the end of the season, which does make me think we might actually get some kind of closure on this within the next month. I hope we do. We’re all sick of it and quite frankly most of us want to know what the deal is one way or another. At least that way we can all mentally prepare for something new, or another two years of the recurring dream that we all have collectively that is Arsenal under Wenger. I need to prepare mightself mentally for ‘same sh*t, different season’ and I think I’d rather just know now to be honest with you.
But the focus of the press conference, much like this blog, should be ahead of the game tomorrow and at least we have good news on the playing front. We have bodies returning in the shape of Koscielny and Ramsey and whilst I haven’t been Ramsey’s biggest fan especially this season, he is a decent first team player who adds depth to the squad. So I’ll be pleased if he starts from the bench. Likewise I’ll be pleased to see Welbeck back and I hope that Arsène has a serious think about Lucas Perez starting. More on how I’d like us to line up tomorrow, but Arsène has acknowledged that we really do need to win one of these big games away from home, because our record is atrocious. Liverpool have taken delight on blitzkreiging us in some games in recent history at Anfield and there’s no doubt that they’ll look to hit us hard and fast like that tomorrow, but Arsenal and Arsène have had two weeks to sort out a game plan, so I really hope we don’t do our usual bottle job against a decent team tomorrow. I’m sick of going in to these types of games with expectation so low because of our own psychological inferiority complexes away from home, so I’d like for once to see Arsenal come out of the traps early. Again, more on the set up tomorrow.
What I must say is that I wish we weren’t playing Liverpool now. I feel like after a couple of weeks away from The Arsenal, we could do with an away trip to Middlesbrough, or Palace. I’m kind of at the stage where I’m pining to see Arsenal play, but these types of games just bring nerves and a general feeling of discomfort, so I’m sort of mixing my emotions right up at this point in time. Of course, a win changes everything, but we’ve hardly been good at those of late, have we?
The team need to give us something soon in a big game. We’ve seen them fail to provide a satisfactory answer away from home for far too long. It’s about time they stepped up.
Arsène also had some words to say about Santi and sadly, it wasn’t really any confirmation about whether he’d play again this season. There’s something wrong with the world when a player like Santi Cazorla – with his smile and generally the beautiful way he plays the game – is cursed with injury, whilst the likes of Diego Costa and Joey Barton never seem to fall foul of the injury curse. Picturing Santi at home, sad, on his own, is a horrible mental image. I hope he can avoid long-term injury problems when he gets back for next season. He’s such a delight to watch. The way he wriggles past people, his ability to find a pass and generally how he makes us ‘tick’ better as a team all contribute towards the general feeling of depression when it comes to talking about his situation.
Still, at least we will see him again in an Arsenal shirt, with the club having taken option on another year for him. That we can all be happy about.
There’s probably not really a lot else to be talking about that’s worth mentioning, so I guess I’ll take my leave for another day.
Catch you tomorrow.