Friday is press conference day today and we’ll get an Arsène Wenger masterclass in deflection today I suspect. After all, his team have been pretty blunted way from home all season and as a result we’ve never really broken into any form of any real meaning.
But tomorrow provides an opportunity to pick up points at home and I’m sure we’ll get some talk of the volume of fixtures, of the injuries mounting up, as well as the total points tally which doesn’t keep us too far away from those above us.
Of course that belies the reality and that reality is that we really aren’t a properly unit and our home form has been helped by some favourable fixtures, one good performance in the North London Derby and a shoot-yourself-in-the-foot episode at home to United.
If there’s anybody who can argue the positives about this – apart from some of his most ardent social media fans, who wouldn’t sway their option on his capabilities even if it meant him fielding a first XI compiled of slightly irritate llamas, it’s Arsène Wenger though.
I am just hoping that the press conference gives us news that both Ramsey and Mustafi are back for the Liverpool game at home. That’s going to be really tough against their attack as it is, so doing it with our best players on the pitch (and Alexis), is really what we need.
No doubt we’ll also get a ‘no update’ status from the manager on Özil and Wilshere. At this point in time I think we’ve all given up on Alexis so I don’t think I’ll bother mentioning the word ‘contract’ when talking about him any more. We all know what lies ahead and all most of us seem to be hoping for now is that he gets less and less game time. I find it ironic that we’re all still talking about Alexis as ‘one of our best players’ when in truth he hasn’t been close to the top three in the team each week all season.
But I digress.
So yes, press conference, in which the best bit of news we can get from the manager isn’t the spin but the fitness updates. Let’s cross everything for some returnees and no major doubts for tomorrow. I’d like to also see Kolasinac back too. Whether or not that happens though I’m not sure. I don’t. Think Arsène would put too much pressure on Maitland-Niles at the moment but I do think midweek was a recognising that the Bosnian has been off the boil in recent weeks. Bellerin probably should have joined him out of the team on that basis too, but we’ve not really got a viable option on that right hand side, which is why he’ll be run down into the ground over the Christmas period.
So to Newcastle, who are on a wretched run of form, but this is Arsenal and I’m sure we’ll give them a chance to help them out. We’re a very giving kind of team and it is the festive period you see. A time of hope. We’re good at giving other teams hope.
I’m sounding a little drab and dour now, aren’t I? Sorry about that. Combination of late nights, watching two bore draws and then to cap it all off, being left a little deflated by the averageness of the new Star Wars movie. As a bit of a Star Wars geek perhaps I’m hyper critical, but it wasn’t really that great, so my weekly entertainment has hardly been the most enjoyable since last Sunday.
Hopefully this weekend can provide some relief. More on the game tomorrow.