Eugh, so now we have to deal with the very real probability that Liverpool will be playing either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League, after they smashed Roma at Anfield.
And this is my problem with those people who were delighted to see Barca get knocked out to Roma, because I knew that Barca would have the beating of Liverpool, but Roma pretty much had their ‘one game’ and now they’re done.
It’s the same as when Forest beat us in the FA Cup. We all knew that it was going to be their ‘one game’. Even if they’d have played another big team at home they’d have got done in. It happens like that sometime.
So we just have to hope that what happened to Bayern against Chelski doesn’t happen to them against Liverpool in the final, or if Madrid get through, that Ronaldo can inspire them to victory.
That leaves a rather nasty taste in my mouth though because Ronaldo is already one of the world’s most unbearable footballers behind Diego Costa. So having him happy hardly fills me with any of that delicious schadenfreude that is football fans love to gourge on.
So let’s swiftly move on to all things Arsenal and whilst yesterday I talked about what type of style I’d like us to play, this morning my mind turns to the players that I think might be wondering seriously about their future under a new man.
Of course it’s difficult to know exactly if you’re an Arsenal player in the first team whether or not the new manager will ‘fancy’ you. History tells us that when a new manager comes in there are always casualties and sometimes they are not the ones you’d expect. Look at when Pep came in. Bye-bye Joe Hart. Or when Klopp came in. Long ball to Benteke? Cheerio. Or Mourinho at Chelski with Juan Mata.
So it’s inevitable that somebody will be chopped, but who?
I think there might be a few Arsenal players to be phased out and depending on incomings that could be Cech, Koscielny, maybe even Ramsey if he doesn’t sign a new deal. But I keep thinking about Granit Xhaka and wondering if he’s the high profile regular that just isn’t given game time.
I actually think Xhaka has done well in the last couple of months and certainly his game has improved since the beginning of the season, when everything he did seemed to result in a goal against us, with Leicester and Watford away springing to mind. But I think the style of player he is means that in order for us to get the best out of him and his impressive forward passing range is to bring in more players that will work around him.
He’s been defensively better in his upturn in form but he still doesn’t have the same engine and ball recovery ability of somebody like Kante; a completely different player that would be the perfect foil for him. But I suspect that any new manager coming in will probably only get enough cash for three signings and I would imagine the desire would be for those to be defensive players rather than midfield.
I have no evidence to back this up, I don’t know who the next man in charge will be, I’m just telling you my hunch. Any new manager coming in will want to focus on our defensive line and so that’s where the funds will be, although I suspect if a manager wants to free up a little more cash and doesn’t want to find Kante 2.0 somewhere in Europe, then we’ll probably see the Swiss international as a high profile casualty that will bring in cash for the manager to make additional signings to bring in ‘his’ players.
Xhaka is also the age profile, has the ability to be a star in a team that always plays on the front foot and has enough worker bees around him, so I suspect he’d command a decent enough fee in mainland Europe.
Personally I’d rather keep him. I think there are going to be a few departures this summer. Ospina, Jack, Big Per, I wonder about Chambers too even though he signed a new deal, I think Iwobi might be for the loan pile, Welbeck could fetch an English premium, plus Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell will no doubt be out the door. So I think there will be enough surgery needed without having to worry about offloading players who have actually added value at times in the season. But I’m also looking at what’s happened at other clubs and it feels to me like a big profile exit could be on the cards.
Who knows. With the new manager coming in still to be announced and probably not going to be until after the end of the season, it will be a while before we’re given any more indication on how much change will happen at The Arsenal.
Before that there’s a European semi-final between us and Atletico – some options for you if you fancy a flutter – click here – to be nervous about and Arsène will take to the press conference stage this morning to give us a team update. Let’s hope it’s positive news on all players from the weekend, including Özil, who I hope has recovered from his mystery ‘illness’.
Catch you all tomorrow for a match preview.