Arsène’s pre FA Cup semi final chitter-chatter yesterday was as to be expected. There was the inevitable question asked about his contract and the inevitable response from the manager that he had no update. He also neither confirmed nor denied the Kolasinac rumours, whilst saying the same old same old about contracts for Özil and Alexis, this time chucking in Jack Wilshere after he was asked to talk about his future following injury.
Again Arsène didn’t really give us anything that was particularly interesting from my perspective other than to talk up Jack and speak about how much of a shame it’d been that he hadn’t been able to fulfill the massive potential he showed in his breakthrough season. The good news from yesterday though, was Arsène saying it’s not as bad as was feared and he’ll be back in training in the summer. At the same time the club will be talking about renewing the deal and I just wonder if having had some time away from Arsenal, Jack says he doesn’t want to sign and instead fancies a move in the summer to start afresh. As Wenger said yesterday he’s managed to get 30 games under his belt and that can only be a good thing. My hope is that he can start pre-season training and demonstrate that he’s ready and fit for a first team spot because let’s face it, our midfield options this season have hardly made breaking in to the first team an impossible chance, have they?
I believe Jack has the ability to forge a place in our midfield but he just needs a good pre season to convince the manager. Whoever that is.
As for the game tomorrow, we still have Ospina out, who probably wouldn’t have played anyway. Mustafi is also missing so if Arsène does go for a back three – something he didn’t rule out but didn’t really seem to get too excited about – then it will be Holding that is given the nod at the back. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing though. Players like Tony Adams were thrown in at a young age and it was very much a case of ‘sink or swim’ in terms of the first team. So far when Holding has played he’s shown he’s got a very able breaststroke so if he continues his footballing education on Sunday by playing then I think that would be good enough for us. He would also be in a back three which affords him a little more room for manoeuvre in terms of distributing the pressure at the back between three instead of two. He has said himself that it works for him and given how composed he’s looked so far when he has played, I’d almost feel more comfortable at having him at the back as another defender.
Welbeck is the other question mark and Arsène said he’s a doubt, but there were pictures emerging yesterday of him in training, so I’d suggest that it was an overly cautious manager that was protecting his player more than he needs it. Having said that, in the last few games that he’s played Welbeck had looked a little rusty and got barely any sniffs at goal at all. Mind you that’s more than Lucas Perez has had and although Arsène confirmed that he’s still out from injury, I have a suspicion that he’s just being frozen out which if true, is just another example of Arsène and his ‘hierarchies’. He spent £17million on a playing he had no intention on giving a chance but worse than that, he’s avoided playing him this season because he has other more unworthy players who are higher on his pecking list. It’s nothing short of a disgrace that Walcott has been getting more game time this side of Christmas. But Theo is one of Arsène’s boys and therefore his place is ringfenced. It really does annoy me to the point of ranting. Lucas could have made a very real impact this season but has been shunted to the edges of the first team squad for no real justifiable reason. It’s Arsène Wenger favouritism working against him to its worst levels.
Anyway, back to two players who do actually stand a chance of game time and In relation to playing the lone man both Welbeck and Giroud have cut a lonely figure in their respective last outings, but if Arsène goes for a 3-5-2 then you’d think Giroud is more suited to the loan front man than Welbeck. I just feel like when you’ve got two players playing off him like Özil and Alexis, you need somebody to hit with the ball who has the strength to hold up and the ability to bring others in to play. Giroud is slightly better at that than Welbeck, who is a channel runner, so unless Arsène is planning on playing Alexis up top and looking for more mobility in his attacking options, I can’t see Welbeck working as well as Giroud.
At least we might have Guardiola slightly scratching his bald barnet ahead of the game, as opposed to knowing exactly what we’ll do, so it gives an element of hope that Arsenal might be able to find a way to beat City somehow.
Anyway, I’m offski, so I’ll catch you tomorrow with another collective of gooner related rambling.