Unai’s pre match presser had a wee bit of unexpected positive news yesterday, as it seems that Holding, Bellerin and Tierney might just be all back in to full training after the international break. Of course they’re likely to not be ready for first team action for a few weeks, but it looks like Holding is virtually there. Wouldn’t that be a nice little boost for us all?
Of course a bigger boost will be all three points on Sunday at The Emirates, where we play them and despite the hatred I have for the fixture in general because of the emotional trauma it puts me through, there’s a little bit of excitement to see if Emery finally decides to unleash the triple threat of Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette. It’s a mouthwatering prospect for a North London Derby and our hopes of it happening were given rise to it after El Coach said that all three were ready and fully fit.
Of course he played the “I’m not giving away my team right now” card but you’d expect that in a pre match presser. Why would you hand an advantage to your opponent by telling them how we are going to set up? Obviously he won’t but I think we’re enough games in, it’s a home match, plus with our back line we know we’ll concede (especially given that every year those Tiny Totts appear to get penalties against us), so we have to hope that he decides to go a bit gung-ho. Let’s have a right ol’ ding-dong against the old enemy and see who’s firepower comes out on top.
Xhaka and Özil are also fit and so it also looks as though Emery will have one of his strongest squads to pick from for a long time. Whatever you think about certain players it’s better to have them available than injured on the sidelines. It allows the manager to think long and hard about the best tactical set up to beat one of the better teams in the division and therefore by getting more opportunity to change it around a bit one hopes his probability for victory intensifies.
There’s still a couple of blogs for me to speculate on the team news and so I’ll not stretch as far as trying to predict a first XI just yet, but I do wonder what will happen of Nacho Monreal, given that yesterday Emery told the press that he will likely be moving on his way before the window shuts. That’s the first time we’ve heard any official confirmation from the club that he’s likely on his way and it confirms a lot of what the journos have been saying over the last week or so.
I still don’t get it and it still puts a lot of pressure on Kolasinac staying fit, but if Tierney really is close to a return and the two weeks after the North London Derby can see him up his training to get up to match readiness as soon as possible, it kind of makes sense.
Will he play this weekend though? It’s a tough one. Kolasinac hasn’t played that much and so there will be question marks over his fitness, but if Monreal was to be selected it would be a bit of a weird one seeing as mentally he’s probably already in Spain. Can he still motivate himself? I don’t want to call his professionalism in to question but I’ve moved jobs before and getting yourself up for work in the last few days when you know it isn’t in your future is hard. It’s different when you’re a footballer, I know, but even though you might give everything physically, mentally there’s probably a little bit of you that will hold back a little. In a North London Derby you literally have to leave everything on the pitch and so whilst Monreal may – or may not depending on if the deal goals through today – be fit and available for selection, Emery must be pondering exactly what to do on Sunday.
But for now we wait. It feels to me as though this particular wait for the NLD is taking longer than I’d have hoped. I’d prefer it to be a lunchtime kick off tomorrow if I’m honest for you, because the build up is always a little too hyperbolic and gets me a little too nervous as it is. I’m on a stag weekend in Manchester so at least I’ve got something to distract me, but as far as I’m concerned, my thoughts will always be on that game kicking off at 4.30pm on Sunday.
Catch you soon.