It’s gettin’ mighty cold in these here parts, I have to say, although I’m pleased that I didn’t have to venture out much. Had I wanted to I’d probably have swung by the away end at the Tiny Totts stadium, because the Arsenal ladies were there to serve up a victory against them in the ladies NLD and by the sounds of it there was a fair old crowd of around 38,000+ that turned up. So fair play of the ladies for a) bringing that many people out to watch, and b) sending home a load of sad Spurs fans back from whence they came.
I suspect it helped massively that it was an international weekend and with England in Kosovo having already qualified, that particular football match held even more insignificance to me than a normal match; I didn’t even know it was in until I started channel flicking late yesterday afternoon!
Of course international breaks are usually the time when we get players saying things in their mother tongue that usually have people rolling their eyes. We’ve already had Bellerin’s agent talk up Italy last week, Torreira’s agent talking about how Napoli were close to signing him, then over the weekend we’ve had Xhaka talking on his Instagram about how ‘Happiness is when you are satisfied with yourself and don’t need the confirmation of others’. He’s not a subtle lad, is Granit Xhaka, although the question remains is just who he is aiming that at. The obvious answer would be the fans that jeered him that he thinks have wronged him. But I wonder if it’s at Arsenal and Emery himself, because it is the Spaniard who’s pulled him from the team and many of us feel like he will probably never play for Arsenal again.
There’s rumours of a transfer request and also of clubs like Newcastle, Milan, or even a return to Germany with somebody evening saying in Germany yesterday that a return to Gladbach could be on the cards. I’m not so sure on that last one, but it does feel like if he doesn’t get into the matchday squad for this upcoming weekend, that’s probably it for him. We’re coming up to a month since the Palace game when the incident happened and he’s already proved he’s in a mental state to play football because he was on the pitch for Switzerland over this weekend. If Emery doesn’t at least bring him into the squad then you’d probably say that’s that for him so it’ll be interesting to hear the coach’s usual waffle and see if Xhaka is mentioned in dispatches at all.
I hope so. We’re in enough of a state as it is right now so drawing a line and having Xhaka on the pitch playing for us would be better than dragging this out for the whole of December and until January. And if the club were going to ostracise him then why have him still training with the first team? If he does want out then surely the club would have him training alone or with the kids?
It’s a tricky situation to manage but it can be dealt with simply by telling the assembled media that it’s in the past, Xhaka is available for selection, we move on. I bet if you spoke to 100 Gooners we’d all agree that it’s a bit tedious now and all we need to focus on is Southampton at home on Saturday, and getting back to winning football matches, for crying out loud.
And that’s pretty much all there is at the moment. We’re still standing in the shadow of the international break and so players still aren’t filtering back to their clubs just yet. But that’ll change in the next day or two and we’ll be able to see who’s fit and ready to go for Saturday.
Catch you guys tomorrow.