I’m not going to talk about that result last nights, or the fact it seems they’re basically going to go unbeaten, so let’s swiftly move on to what’s happening with The Arsenal right now.
It feels like even the FA Cup is conspiring against us to ruin weekends. Not only do we get enough of it with poxy Monday night football in the league, or weekend after weekend of playing on a Sunday, now we’re forced to endure another FA Cup weekend without any Arsenal, as we play Bournemouth on Monday night. Bloody annoying it is.
But not as annoying as the noises about Thomas Lemar to The Arsenal. Honestly, it feels like we never learn, does it? Of course it’s only speculation and it seems like it’s being peddled on the Spanish side which could just mean it’s a load of old horse crap. Lemar is apparently available for €40million. Hmm…wasn’t he the guy who we tried to sign for £90million from Monaco a few seasons back? What a massive cock up that could have been, eh? Good job we’ve got a crack transfer team who absolutely never miss a trick, eh!?!
Of course Lemar could be a good signing, but I can’t help but wonder why on earth we might even be remotely interested in a player who plays in a 10, or as a midfielder, either through the left, right or centre. I know the club is supposedly looking for a midfielder, but is he the right one? What sort of position would we play him in? Is he meant to be a Ramsey replacement? He’s a dribbler if the ball, decent passer and gets balls into the box, but in 49 games for Atlético Madrid he’s scored just three goals, which doesn’t exactly sound like he’d alleviate our paucity of options in the ‘goals from other areas of the pitch’ requirement we all know we have.
He could play as a wide forwards but why would we go down that route when we’re stocked with those? Wouldn’t it be better to look at our ailing defensive line and provide some fresh blood there? That seems the most obvious option to me. But what do I know. Or you. Or just about everyone outside of the club. We just watch Arsenal all of the time and watched us get repeatedly exposed in defence. But I’m sure another creative midfielder will help that…
Speaking of our creatives, Nicolas Pepe has been talking to the official site about some of the chats he’s had with Arteta since he took over. It’s interesting because he was talking about where on the pitch Arteta needs him to be in and for the Sheffield United game I got a very close up of him given my location in the ground. His ability to keep control of the ball in close quarters is so impressive and in the first half of that game he was set free by Lacazette very early on in which he delivered a decent cross for Martinelli.
What struck me though is that given his pace, he really doesn’t seem to make very many runs in behind, which I hope Arteta is talking to him about. It may have just been that half that I was focusing on him, but he seems to want to receive the ball to feet on the touchline a lot and I wonder how much of his game Arteta will want to mould so that he does a bit of both.
For teams that press their fullbacks higher up the pitch it could give him licence to deliver more of those counter attacking runs that we’ve all watched so often on YouTube when he was at Lille.
There’ll probably be a press conference today and I hope that Arteta has a pop at the stupid ‘bench cam’ that I’ve seen so much of this season. By all means it’s nice to see the managers reaction when we score, but I don’t need to see what he does when one of our players f*ck up, or when we concede a goal, or when a contentious decision happens on the pitch. Arteta is a human being and will react differently in each moment and I’m happy not to have four different angles of that. We got it when Joe Willock won a tackle up at Newcastle and they showed a clip of Emery going mental with delight. At the first time of seeing that clip I was like “so what?” because it didn’t actually lead to anything significant like a goal. So I’m still struggling to see the value if I’m honest.
What I do value is those press conferences though and I’ll no doubt find myself tuning in to listen to our Lego-haired maestro as he delivers team news and the arbitrary “no news” on the transfer front. Standard.
Hopefully we’ll get some good news and hear that Tierney is starting full training soon, Bellerin has no ill-effects from Tuesday’s 90 minutes, plus Rob Holding is ‘good to go’ in the absence of Luiz through suspension and if Sokratis is still not over his illness. Let’s see what Tricky Micky delivers us with.
Catch you all tomorrow.