Morning all. Happy Wednesday to you. It’s still a holiday for me as I decided to extend the Easter break, which means I still comprise of about 10% chocolate Easter eggs, 15% booze, then 10% turkey. The rest of me is all the human bits like organs ‘n stuff.
It’s interesting though because when you’re on holiday at home with nowhere to go, you find yourself tapping in to things like Twitter, etc, a little more than I normally would if I was abroad on holiday, or even staying with family members like we usually do over the Easter period. I’ve been paying a little more attention to the temperature of Arsenal fans online and it appears as though many are also in a similar boat to me on looking at the Arteta situation and starting to wonder whether it will get to the happy place we all hope for, or whether this is it. It’s funny because I think most of us didn’t expect Arsenal to smash Liverpool, but their problems have been very clear this season and so to get done in the way we did has sent a ripple of shock through the ether to Arsenal fans.
All this for a game in which some of us – like me – thought had little impact anyway.
It’s like I said a few days ago though, sometimes it is the manner of defeats rather than defeats themselves which are the issue. Sometimes it’s about showing your workings and like in maths if you arrive to the wrong calculation but your logic is sound in the way in which you reached that calculation, you can still pick up marks for your workings. That is what didn’t happen on Saturday and it has left a lot of us scratching our heads and many looking at this Slavia Prague game with more trepidation than perhaps we might have.
Arteta will have some form of press conference today and what we are all looking for now is a reaction. As usual Adrian Clarke does a fantastic job of breaking down our passive approach in the Liverpool game, but what we – Arteta specifically – need to see now is real change in the effort and application levels tomorrow evening. But we also have to hope that we have a different side available and that means Saka, Odegaard and Smith-Rowe all fit to play, Xhaka back from his illness, as well as Aubameyang through the centre and Lacazette hooked. I know Auba has been poor of late but he’s still better than Lacazette and we still have more goal threat when he plays centre forward in my opinion. I’ll do a bit more on thoughts ahead of that game tomorrow but suffice to say that today I am looking for something from Arteta which gives us indications that there has been plenty of analysis and that the passive approach to the Liverpool game will not happen again this season.
It shouldn’t. Liverpool and City dominate possession for most part of most matches. For our remaining matches we aren’t going to come up against teams like that and this is why there can be no more excuses from the manager. He and his players need to step up, show the required intensity and deliver in these remaining games we have this season.
I have a belief they will, however, because I think the result from last weekend will have hurt them. It certainly should have. We need a reaction and that starts tomorrow and should continue on Sunday evening in another one of those dreadful 7pm kick offs.
I think there was an inferiority complex for Liverpool but I don’t think that will be there for our other games. I also think the clear objective that the team has should focus their minds. I think some of those players knew it would be tough against Liverpool and I suspect some of them had their eyes on this game on Thursday. If that was the case then they can prove the sacrifice was worth it by giving Slavia Prague an absolute battering in the first leg. I don’t think it’ll happen, but I do think we’ll need to take a fair ol’ lead back to the Czech capital, especially with our propensity to brain fart/shoot ourselves in the foot. With that in mind, I want to be able to compartmentalize the Liverpool result as one in which the team were not really 100% focused on and the only way it can be consigned to the deepest recesses of my mind is if we get a reaction tomorrow evening. But before that we need Arteta telling us that there will be a reaction, by coming out swinging in his press conference. Let’s hope we get some of that today.
Let’s also hope we get some form of good news on Tierney. There has been nothing from the club and we’re four days since the game, which says to me that it might be a bad one for him. He’s expected to be out for a few weeks but if something in his knee went ‘pop’ I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that his season might be over. If he’s out for six week’s, for example, then we’re basically looking at week commencing 17th May before he’s fit and available. And if he has that long out then it is a few weeks before he returns to full fitness, by which time the season is over. Even if he’s only out for a month, that’s the beginning of May. Then you’re talking about a week or so to get back to fitness, which takes you to week commencing 10th May, which would be at best the last two games of the season and if we’ve even reached the semi finals he’ll be missing for those. The final is on 26th May so at this stage it feels like that’s probably what we should be hoping for from our Scottish left back.
It means we’re going to need to find a solution there and that is going to come in the form of Cedric or Saka. I suspect the former will play more than the latter, but hopefully we’ll get a better idea from Mikel when he takes to the microphones later.
Right, that’s me done for the day, I’m off for a run. Catch you folks in the morrow.