Hey friends, how are you doing this Friday, eh? Looking forward to the FA Cup this weekend.

Can I tell you something? I am. I really am. You know how commentators often mention that ‘this could be a welcome distraction from the league’ when talking about teams fighting relegation but still in the cup? Well that’s probably why I’m a little more excited for this weekend’s game,  because it represents a welcome distraction from our league woes and above all, it could be a chance for me to get myself to Wembley for a semi final. That would certainly be something to perk me up, I can tell you, so for this weekend, I’m hoping to have a good footballing one.

As for the team news, it seems there’s a bit of a bug going around, because Iwobi, Welbeck and Özil are still not quite right, according to the manager. I suspect that giving the opposition this weekend we might find those players missing from the starting XI on Saturday evening, but that might not be a bad thing given the form of a couple of them.

Arsène’s press conference chugged along as you’d expect it would yesterday. He was asked about his future and gave no response. He was asked about the Ox supposedly fed up and said he was surprised to hear that. It was interesting that the journo actually asked the question, given that there have been no actual quotes from the player. I get that sometimes these journos have to have a speculative punt, but they usually do it off the back of a proper bit of publicised intel, so I do wonder if the hyenas are starting to get bolder with their approach to the ageing boar. It feels as though they can sense that he’s a little fragile – he certainly looked a bit guarded to me yesterday – and so are now trying longer range efforts with more spurious stories that haven’t had any real public foundation to them. I mean I’m sure they’ve probably got decent enough noises from the agent of the player himself, but still, we’ve tended not to see Arsène asked a question unless a player has been public with his words. Kind of like the Koscielny comments a month or so back. Arsène was asked a question based on actual quotes from the player – misinterpreted or not – and he gave a response. 

Now it seems that journos can ask questions about players as if the players themselves are asking the questions. It’s an interesting turn of style.

Of course the manager dismissed it and said that he wanted the Ox to stay, but I didn’t really get any conviction in his voice, so that doesn’t exactly fill me with joy. It’s a shame really because he looks like he’s starting to find his place in the team and I would love for him to be given the chance in that central role between now and the end of the season to see if he can perform on a regular basis. That has been his biggest issue in his Arsenal career to date, so what we need to see is an Ox that gets his head down and performs every week, then we can all start worrying about his contract in the summer.

I’d like to talk about how Lincoln will approach the game in the manager’s eyes, but of the 12 or so minutes that Arsène was interviewed with the cameras on, the only question he was asked about tomorrow’s opponents was that he’s in a lose-lose situation with tomorrow’s game. Hard to disagree really, but despite my personal issues with the way he’s managing the team right now and him potentially staying beyond the end of the season, I still would have liked to have heard some words from him about the opposition tomorrow. 

I guess that’s just where we are at the moment. The football is just a sideshow to the drama and uncertainty surrounding Arsène and his future. It is odd though. Surely Arsène himself must see that this is all affecting the club in a way that it shouldn’t? For a man who always talks about stability, he’s doing the exact opposite of what he says, which is a bit baffling really. It’s having the same effect as the Pellegrini situation last season and that’s why I hope the club and he wakes up and smells the coffee soon, because this season may still get worse.

You can tell that the club is starting to realise that it’s in damage limitation mode at the moment and when they’re wheeling out the chairman to say things like this, at least I guess we can say that they are not so blinded that they can’t see fan sentiment at the moment. Arsène himself said he would take the considerations of the fans in to account. Let’s just see if that happens.

Righto, I’ve rabbited on long enough. I’m going to go now and have a happy Friday, so you make sure you do too. Adios amigos.