With no game this weekend due to the acrimonious exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Nottingham Forest, this weekend represents a moment in time whereby Arsenal fans are forced to look on in bittnerness as the other top clubs in England waltz through to the fifth round, having been handed easy ties that will see them rotate players but having just got to a cup final, it feels a little weird.
Weird because actually the FA Cup exit – whilst still very annoying – has been softened by a visit to Wembley. Apologies for those of you who can’t get to the game through your location or not having a season ticket, etc, but honestly I’m not trying to rub it in, just trying to explain my thoughts, because I really enjoy going to Wembley.
I love the whole camaraderie of it. The banter of meeting in our usual pub JJ Moons in Kingsbury, meeting people who I only normally see at Wembley because of our different match day routines en route to the Emirates, it all adds to the fun and the fact that we’ve got another one to look forward to is pleasing.
I’m not even that stressed about the fact that we’ll probably get turned over by City. I’m just pleased that once again we get to experience a cup final and given Wenger’s comments about teams being praised for not getting to finals, which has irritated Pochettino, it feels like another reason to be pleased that we are who we are. And they are who they are.
I’m no Wenger apologist, but he has a point, because we didn’t win a trophy for nine years and were told that pretty football means nothing, so to see this Tottenham team being held up as some kind of golden generation does feel hollow to me, having seen my team be lambasted for being all frills and no end product.
So I think the blow of this weekend has been ok and hopefully we can see a cup upset or two.
So what will Arsenal be doing this weekend? Well, I hope the administration team are going to get the Aubameyang deal over the line, because this is starting to feel like a classic Arsenal transfer. It looks to all the world that the deal should be done, but whilst I understand that Dortmund are playing out some of this in the press to try to force Arsenal’s hand, there’s an element here where many of us are fearful of a classic ‘Arsenaling up’ of the situation.
You know what I’m talking about: Arsenal low-ball a team because they think they have everything sorted. That gets rejected so they wait a bit. Then a second deal comes in that’s slightly higher. That gets rejected and the selling club starts to get peeved. The selling club then goes into defensive mode and puts stuff in the press whilst also touring around the player elsewhere. The selling club then get a bite from Spain, Italy, etc, which then means that a second team is in the running and eventually the player goes there.
Think Higuain to Napoli or Mata to United or Mkhitaryan (the first time) to United. All examples where we’ve been at the table but haven’t quite finished our dinner, only for another kid to finish first and then get down before us to pick the nicest toy in the toy box to play with.
That’s the fear right now.
So the hope is that with no game this weekend we could still get Auba in, in time, for next week’s match against Swansea and given that it’s a day or so before the window closes you’d expect us to be able to get it done sooner rather than later. If we aren’t going to ‘Arsenal’ it up that is.
The good news that came out from last night was that Olivier Giroud is not going to be part of negotiations for Dortmund. So there is no loan deal on the table. As far as I’m concerned that is a great decision for the club. Giroud is a target man, a presence in the box, a proven goal scorer and somebody who we’ve been able to rely on for some time. Offloading him would leave us with two similar strikers in Auba and Lacazette and so when the chips are down and ‘Plan A’ isn’t working, why would you want ‘Plan B’ to be identical?
You wouldn’t, which is why I can understand how Giroud apparently hasn’t even been part of discussions, because it doesn’t benefit Arsenal in the slightest.
Personally one does wonder what the future then holds for Lacazette. I personally think we should just say ‘screw it’ and play two up top, but I think Aubameyang’s arrival may signal a slow walk to the exit door for Laca. That would be a wrong move for me. I’ve seen more good than bad from his game at Arsenal and he has been victim of a team that doesn’t play to his strengths. We haven’t put balls in behind all season and he’s still bagged a few goals. So I think we should be finding a way to have two up top. Somehow.
But I have no power or say at Arsenal and so I, like you, just watch on and scratch my head as to how all of this will work.
Right, time for me to be off, because it’ll be a long day planning and managing my companies annual sales meeting. At least there’s beer at the end.
Catch you lot tomorrow.