I’ll not labour the VAR point for the third day in a row, but really, it now seems to have upped the intensity in which it has become totally farcical hasn’t it? Last night Jon Moss – a horrendous ref as it is – decided that a United played stamping on an opponent inside their box was enough to win them a penalty and set them on the way to winning against a Villa team who, let’s face it, are relegated. It was another one to add to the catalogue of scandalous decisions. VAR isn’t here to iron out inconsistency, it is here to protect some already atrocious referees, headed by an atrocious referee himself in Mike Riley. Blow it all up and start again I say.
But enough about that, because we’ve got our own concerns today, which focus on that North London Derby that I am in no way expectant over on Sunday. Yes Tottenham are playing poorly. Yes Jose seems to be having his meltdown early. Yes the lack of home fans will hopefully have an impact, but this is an NLD and we are terrible in them away from home. We haven’t won there since 2014 for crying out loud! But more on that over the weekend in the lead up to the game I think. For now our attention turns to the team news and press conference, which I suspect will be today because apparently Arteta’s presser had some technical difficulties.
I suspect Mike Riley has branched out and is now delivering sub-par super-fast broadband services.
It will probably mean we’ll hear some stuff from the boss today but in the meantime we got an update on player availability for the game on Sunday. Most of the news was as expected, except for the possibility that Bernd Leno will be fit before the season finishes. That is an interesting one because by the time he is fit he may not be able to keep his place if Emi Martinez continues his superb form. Let’s hope that continues because it would be nice to see a proper challenge between the two ‘keeps.
The other news is that Eddie Nketiah will now miss the next three games after Arsenal’s appeal was rejected. The FA probably looked at it, looked at the Tarkowski ‘tackle’, looked at the Vardy boot to the head and thought ‘Yep, nothing unusual here. Let’s punish the Arsenal lad and let those other two go’. Utterly ridiculous and it just shows how shocking the system is now when we get this level of inconsistency when ‘professional referees’ are re watching the incidents. Grr….Get them all in the bin.
Anyway it is a blow and it means we’ll have to find a solution over the next few games because Lacazette has hardly been ripping up trees and Arteta hasn’t fancied Auba through the middle at all. I was listening to the Arseblog Extra podcast yesterday and James and Andrew made an interesting point; Lacazette looks very leggy. He looks quite a lot less sharp in his touch and finishing this season than last and we can ill-afford to have a player who is looking sluggish like that play the next three games in a row. Whether that means we get Auba central or not I don’t know, but I’m certainly hoping for some sort of change because after Sunday we play Liverpool on Wednesday night.
And changing the subject yesterday, I’m also hoping to find out more about this refinancing deal that KSE has just administered on the debt at Arsenal. I’m no finance expert and so i’d point you in the direction of the likes of Kieran over at Swiss Ramble, but from the gist of it, it appears as though KSE have paid off Arsenal’s stadium debt of around £160million so that Arsenal can get more favourable interest and then potentially save tens of millions a year. Arsenal as an entity will then just pay back the loan KSE give them (because they likely don’t have £160million around to loan to us, so will have to take out another loan on less interest given the current financial climate) over a period of years.
I have been critical of KSE – quite a lot actually – and I am still watching this to see if they do anything that will be of detriment to the club, but if this move helps to save us millions in interest a season, then it is one of the first moves in which I think they have been quite shrewd and we should be pleased about. As many have pointed out I am pretty sure this won’t result in an actual ‘war chest’ but if it helps to avoid a very perilous financial situation that Arsenal would find themselves in as a result of Covid-19, then I think we have to applaud them. But we still don’t know what they are going to do to Arsenal so let’s just wait and see before we start backslapping uncle Stan Kroenke just yet.
That’s it from me today. As I mentioned above I suspect they’ll be a press conference at some stage today, so let’s just see what Tricky Micky has to say about his first NLD as the boss.
Catch you peeps tomorrow.