With no proper football on this week it feels a bit weird having little of interest to talk about, especially given the winning run and the volume of Arsenal matches we’ve been gifted.
Even the European competition has been fun to see us win, albeit with a little bit too much huff and puff at times.
I really don’t understand the point in these games, as well as the September internationals, because it’s not like we didn’t all get enough in the summer. Why do they have to throw these in to the mix too?
My wife has this thing about certain types of foods. She’ll pick a cereal for example, then eat that cereal every day for six months, wherein she’ll get bored of the cereal having ‘overdosed’ on it and never want it again. Or at least for a significant period of time. That’s what it feels like the FA do to us with games like this just four months after the World Cup.
The feel-good factor has subsided. Deal with it and let everyone go back to being partisan about their own club and hating opposition fans and teams domestically. It’s the way god made football.
Still, at least we go into an Interlull with plenty to smile about, because the teams doing well, Puma get binned off next season, everyone’s getting excited about bruised bananas, the rotation that Emery is doing seems to be working, and the away fans are starting to get their groove back.
And that is usually followed by the home fans too. The away fans are usually the ones who start certain chants that catch on, but their also a little ahead of the Arsenal trend when it comes to the mood amongst the fan base I find, so if last weekend’s response is any kind of barometer of fan sentiment then we can hope that providing the team keep winning, we’ll have a more boisterous home crowd than we’ve had for a long time.
And who knows, after the international break we might even get to see some returning players to action a bit more, like Mavropanos and Maitland-Niles, who I believe will return to action after the internationals.
That will be a welcome sign but it will also mean more juggling needed by Emery. So far he’s been able to ensure that plenty of the first team players are getting minutes but as more return to fitness he’s going to find it a tougher task. Last season Wenger just split the squad in half and had a midweek and weekend team but this season Emery has used a blended approach. That has probably been better for morale because what it’s meant is that there is less of a ‘hierarchy’ in the squad. The difference between the ‘A Team’ and the ‘B Team’ is more subtle.
I wonder if that keeps players more motivated and certainly if that is the case we’ve seen some notable performances. Aubameyang has scored in Europe and in the Prem, Lacazette has bagged in the League Cup and the Prem, Iwobi and Welbeck have flitted between League Cup/Europa League and playing in the Premier League too.
Players genuinely don’t know if they’re playing and as we discussed on the show last night on the radio it’s great that Emery is developing more of a meritocracy amongst his first team squad. We also talked about Mkhitaryan who I wrote about yesterday, but who until I saw the number of games he’s been involved in this season, thought hadn’t played that much. He’s started five and come on in two.
It just goes to show you that everyone is being given a chance and I think that’s also having a big impact in the first team squad. We can only hope it continues but as I mentioned above it will become more of a challenge for the manager because in some instances injuries and little niggles have played a part in helping him choose certain players. With a fully fit squad of 20 odd players who could claim to be given a shot in the team, how does he juggle that effectively, keeping them all happy?
It’s a challenge for him but right now it’s working. And long may that continue.
Catch you all tomorrow.