We had ourselves a press conference yesterday, so Tricky Micky has given me some delicious content to get stuck in to this morning. Always useful on a Friday.
First up, the team news and the Lucas Torreira question has been raised after the medical team confirmed he’d suffered a fractured ankle in that scissor challenge from the Portsmouth player on Monday night. You know the one; where Mike Dean didn’t even give it a second look and instead looked at Torreira like he was faking it. Mike Dean, the utter cockwomble, who has to make everything about himself and saw Matteo Guendouzi’s sarcasm as a more worthy of a yellow card.
Football has gone to the dogs.
But oddly Arteta said that Torreira had been positive this week, although he admitted that they were sending him for a scan and they don’t know the extent of the damage. What a little terrier that guy is. I imagine that conversation at London Colney being a bit an interesting one, with MIkel telling Lucas he’s got a broken ankle and the Uruguayan going all “tis but a flesh wound” on the Spaniard 😉
But I think we’ll probably have to accept that Torreira is unlikely to be back for the rest of this season and that’s yet another injury that Mikel has to deal with. He spoke about it yesterday and when you look back on the players that have dropped since he arrived it does make you raise your eyebrows. Kolasinac out for most of it, Chambers going down to a season-ender, Torreira, plus he also had to deal with Bellerin, Tierney, Holding all out, as well as losing Auba for three week’s because of suspension. It’s hardly been plain sailing and so the fact that we even have the tiniest chance of going for a Champions League place is as impressive as it is baffling.
I think more of that is to do with how poor those teams around us have been too though, which again only serves to highlight just how poor this Premier League has been, which is why Liverpool have run away with it. There are so many teams that have just failed to build any momentum and the crazy thing is that we’re only five points from United. United who play City this weekend and my obvious hope is that they take a pounding at Old Trafford. Might not happen but if City can get something from that game then we would be just a couple of points from them.
But here’s the biggest problem; United dropping points isn’t the only outcome we need to rely on, because we also need to see Spurs, Sheffield United and Wolves to all drop points. Spurs are away to Burnley, which is a possibility of them dropping something (although I suspect they’ll just roll over and have their bellies tickled), Wolves will of course beat a pretty poor Brighton side (the only charitable team for Brighton away from home this season has of course been us), whereas Sheffield United will play a fatigued Norwich side on their own patch. So even if we do manage to overcome West Ham this Saturday, the chances are that we won’t have made ground on many teams at all. Then we have the fact that the City game will most likely have us as extreme outsiders to get anything given our form against the big teams away from home.
I’m not trying to be negative here guys, honestly, but I just think that this week might be a tough one to close the gap.
Having said that, Mikel is right, because next weekend we’ll have Brighton away and if we can beat West Ham, then go and get something away to Brighton, there’s always a chance a few more sides will drop points. It’s about a run against some of the supposed ‘lesser’ teams right now and that means looking at West Ham, Brighton and Norwich in the coming week’s as those matches in which we need to be picking up maximum points.
Mikel was also asked about Auba and of course he gave the stock response to his contract situation; he wants him to stay, he’s an important player for us, etc, etc. You wouldn’t expect anything otherwise but what we do need to appreciate is that it’s looking less likely with every week that he’ll sign a new deal and we will simply have to accept that cashing in on him this summer is the only option. That’s life. We thank him, give him hugs, get him off to Spain to get his last mega contract and play some Champions League football again. He deserves that.
For now, all eyes have to be on the 3pm kick off and who plays, with Mikel confirming that Mari is good to go and that Torreira aside and the injuries we know about, it’s business as usual. Whether that means a lot of rotation from Monday we obviously don’t know, but I suspect it will be most of the team from Olympiakos to come back in. Perhaps he can juggle a couple of the youngsters like Martinelli, for example, but I think he’ll go experience and name his strongest side tomorrow, so that may mean wholesale changes in almost every position.
Right, that’s it for now, so i’ll catch you peeps tomorrow for a match preview and guessing game over who starts come 3pm.