Happy Easter Saturday to you. I do like Easter Saturday. Despite not being particularly religious, I do – for the sake of the in-laws family – observe the ‘no booze’ rule on ‘Good-but-should-be-called-rubbish Friday’ and being up in the North East I always find myself craving a beer. So yesterday was a tough one. But Easter Saturday afford me to get back on it.
Sadly there’s no Arsenal to sink our teeth in to but we play tomorrow and I can temporarily back Man City given they’re playing those scummers at lunchtime today. If they beat them then a win for us tomorrow puts us back in to third and that at least gives us a few days of mockery of ‘the greatest Spurs side in living memory’.
We’ll probably have to do it without Ramsey though, as Emery confirmed yesterday that he’ll be out for between two to three weeks after the injury he sustained in Naples. If we call it a three week injury that puts his return down as Sunday 12th May against Burnley and it means he’ll miss his final game at The Emirates against Brighton in a couple of weeks time. It’s a shame because it would have been a lovely send off but I guess we just have to accept that he probably won’t grace the Emirates as an Arsenal player again. But if he can do it in Burnley and – if we beat Valencia over two legs – then Baku, that would be a fitting send off. Providing we can get to the final and win it of course. Rambo loves a cup final goal so it would be vital to have him available if we make it.
As for this weekend there also appear to be a few bumps and bruises that we need to patch a few players up on. Xhaka picked up a knock and is ‘being assessed’ ahead of Sunday, as is Denis Suarez, although the New Kim Kallström hasn’t really made an impact this season anyway so that won’t affect preparation too much I don’t think.
There wasn’t much about Lucas Torreira who looked to be suffering with his groin a bit on Thursday, but Unai even said in his press conference yesterday that there will be some rotation, so I expect we’ll see quite a bit for Palace. We have players like Leno, Mavropanos, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Özil, all of whom didn’t ply against Napoli and so will be fresher, so whilst I suspect a few will be patched up and sent out I think Unai will be sensible with his rotation.
And I think at this stage we need to accept that he’s getting it right. If Torreira and Xhaka don’t both start on Sunday then we probably shouldn’t be throwing our arms up in the air. Likewise with both Auba and Laca. We need to accept that Unai is managing the team with both Champions League qualification and a trophy opportunity in Europe in mind and so far he’s helped to put us in a great position.
There’s also an away game midweek next week against Wolves on the cards and so perhaps when the team news is out tomorrow we should probably acknowledge that it will also play a part. If you’re going to do a bit of heavy rotation you want it on your own home soil and against a team you hope is on the beach. Although having said that I do have some nerves about this game because my gut is telling me it feels like a real banana skin. I hope I’m wrong but more on that tomorrow with a pre match preview methinks.
The other news is mainly about fixture rescheduling and whilst it’s a pain for the away travelling fan if they’ve already booked their tickets to Leicester for next Monday night, hopefully for many it is a bit of a saving grace that the game has been moved to a Sunday from the Monday night, because it means that the Monday to Fridayers like me don’t miss out and the game on Sunday is still televised at 12pm. I just hope that we’ve picked up two wins to keep us right in the hunt for that top four spot by then.
Right, off for a run, so you have a good Sunday. Come on City!