It feels a little bit odd to be talking or even thinking about ACTUAL football after the last few days that we’ve had, but ACTUAL football there is on the horizon, with a game tomorrow night against Everton at The Emirates. And a game in which there will be fans there. Not in the stadium of course, but outside the ground, as a fan protest is being organised against Stan Kroenke and KSE before the game. We may still be in a variation of a national lockdown in the UK, but protests have already come during this period and that will begin again tomorrow to a cause that is very dear to all of our hearts: voicing our opposition to the KSE regime and the hope that these despicable owners of ours sell up and get the hell out of Dodge.
There are plenty who will be saying that it’ll make no difference. I was on The ‘Bergkamp Wonderland‘ podcast last night and both Danny and Karl said that protesting would probably have no impact on Stan himself as he has shown no appetite to listen to fans in the past. On that of course we can all agree, but personally I cannot lead myself to believe that inaction is the appropriate response. People should visibly show their disdain for these wretched owners in any way possible and the more voices that are outside that stadium demonstrating their disapproval of a regime that has failed on so many occasions to show good – even competent – leadership, the better, in my opinion.
KSE and Kroenke himself may not listen, but perhaps his sponsors will. These corporate entities who are so PR savvy and know just how valuable or destructive global sentiment can be, will not be ignoring what has happened over these past days and if their support begins to waver, or even cause a drop in the attractiveness or value of the package that they offer to these clubs, then Stan will listen. That’s because it will be in the language he knows: the language of money.
This fight isn’t over and protests like tomorrow’s one need to be a collective of co-ordinated activities – online and offline – that ensure that what Arsenal said in their statement (“we have heard you”) is, in fact, true. If they have heard us then we all know the next step. Rid ourselves of the parasite that is KSE, sucking the life and soul from The Arsenal. This fight isn’t over by a long shot.
Anyway, I did promise to talk about football so let’s discuss a little bit of injury news for the Everton game. It appears as though both Aubameyang and Lacazette are still out and both will continue to be assessed ahead of the Villareal game. I guess the good news is that Lacazette’s injury is a strain and not a tear. I’m no specialist but a bit of Googling tells me a strain is classed as ‘grade one’ and that can apparently take a few days to heal. If that’s the case then hopefully he can be back from Villareal. For Aubameyang it is a little more complex as malaria is an illness that can takes days or weeks to recover from. The good news on that front is the club has said they hope him to return to light training at the end of this week. Hopefully that means he can be in full training from Monday and then it is just a case of seeing how much fitness he has lost as a result of contracting the disease.
This means we’ll most likely see Eddie Nketiah from the start tomorrow and I don’t have too much of a problem with that. He scored against Fulham which will help his confidence and I think we probably all know his long term future is probably not at Arsenal with just a year left on his deal in the summer. So tomorrow evening becomes an ideal opportunity to get him game time and get him in the shop window. We don’t need to be risking any players for the Premier League; it is a competition that has been ‘done’ for us for some time and now it feels like the games should be treated as a kind of exhibition match. Let’s start seeing what options we have for next season. Or give game time to those we want to move on, like Elneny, or Bellerin (if the rumours are true).
There’s also the likes of Odegaard who we want to give game time to so he feels like he’s played enough football and would become a key figure for us next season, so the news of him being back in light training is good. I’d not risk him tomorrow but I would be giving him minutes from the bench. He will be an important player against Villareal if he’s fit next week so giving him 20 minutes tomorrow might be a good way of easing him back in.
It’ll be interesting to hear Mikel’s thoughts on the game today, but I suspect it will be dominated by discussion around the ESL. The good news is he can play this a lot easier now that Arsenal have withdrawn from the proposed ‘competition’. He can talk about the greatness of the league we have, about how fantastic fans are, etc, etc, etc. But we all must know that deep down he is probably as disappointed with those owners as the rest of us are. He knows that what has happened is wrong and whilst he’ll know doubt go into full ‘media training mode’ on the call, I am in no doubt that he will be wanting to put this whole period to bed and get on with the business of trying to win football matches.
That’s what we are all here for in the first place, right?
Catch you wonderful humans tomorrow. Have a good one.