So it’s a trip to play BATE Borisov in the new year that looms for The Arsenal and having played them last season in the group stages I think we can be relatively happy with our lot there.
It will mean an away trip first but if we can get the job done on their soil then it’ll be followed by an FA Cup round (assuming we get past Blackpool/Solihull Moors) game, then BATE again, the Southampton on the Sunday. We’ve had worse fixtures after a European night so from a rotational perspective you’d also hope Emery will be given the opportunity to keep players fresh over that period.
Which is certainly something he must be concerning himself with at the moment, because the next two matches provide something of a conundrum for El Boss. If it was any other team than the Totts we’d probably all be a bit more accepting of a rotated team. Oddly, even if we were playing Liverpool or City we’d probably expect a little more shuffling of the pack. But because it’s Them, fan sentiment is such that we aren’t really expecting much rotation at all.
I think Unai will though. He can’t play Auba and Laca tomorrow, Saturday and on Boxing Day, for example. Can he? It’d be running the gauntlet of the ‘red zone’ that’s for sure and whilst Saturday’s opponents might feel like an opportunity to rotate, Emery will be acutely aware that all teams at the top just aren’t dropping points, demonstrated by the fact that we went 22 games without defeat in all comps and still found ourselves being punished with the first defeat we picked up.
Burnley are a tough but to crack and will need all of our players on it to beat them, which is why I’m wondering if there’s a little more rotation than many are expecting tomorrow evening.
Whatever happens though, it’ll be another loud one under the floodlights at The Emirates and I’m looking forward to it, unlike the league game a couple of weeks ago. For some reason it felt like that game meant more than tomorrow’s. the worry is that defeat to them on our patch means that they are a step closer to a trophy, but for me I wanted those three points as a marker of where we are at right now and specifically because of the likes of Tim Sherwood, plus the ‘Combined XI- all Tottenham Players’ crowd. That felt like a good ol’ dig to that group of morons. But tomorrow night doesn’t really feel as intense, which is why I’m looking forward to it.
We’ll probably end up getting battered now and it’ll be my fault and my curse, but hey, can’t help what I feel folks.
I also can’t help having a word for Jose who – because of the late blog today on account of work stuff – I get to have a little chuckle at in today’s musings. He’s gone from United after their defeat to Liverpool and the only problem with that is a ‘better the devil you know’ thinking nagging in the back of my skull. We knew United were rubbish this season. We knew they weren’t up to much and as long as Jose was in charge then we knew what we would get and it would continue to be hilarious.
But with him gone there’s the fear of the unknown and that unknown could even work out to be good for them.
Let’s hope not. Let’s hope Ed Woodward continues his awesome (for everyone else) approach to picking a boss.
As for Jose, well, we can only hope that he doesn’t darken the doors of the premier league again. His fractious nature and tantrum-looking visage over the last couple of years has become tiresome and so to see him booted out can only be a good thing for the image of the game.
Still, would have been nice for us to do them over at Old Trafford just before he left. Que sera…
The other news I’ve just seen come through on the ether, is the team update from the medical staff. Looks like Lichtsteiner is back but Bellerin, Mustafi and Kolasinac look doubtful. Would make sense not to risk them so hopefully Unai has the Christmas fixture pile up in mind.
And on that note I’ll say my goodbyes for another day.
Catch you guys tomorrow.