Happy Arsenal-less Saturday folks. And it really is an Arsenal-less one this weekend, because the official account and website are off social media – along with a host of other clubs and sports across the globe – to raise awareness for the unacceptable behaviour of a minority of idiots who not only abuse people like cowards from behind their computer screens, but also in many instances do it racially too. Any human being partaking in discrimination of any kind because of the colour of somebodies skin needs to have a very long, hard, serious look at themselves.
And so do the authorities that police these sites, chiefly the businesses that run them like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, etc. These businesses need to do more to proactively weed out people whose behaviour is unacceptable. They talk about their measures they already put in place, but this move this weekend to try to reduce the amount of interaction this weekend is designed to show them that unless they change their approach they run the risk of losing a lot of online chatter and to these businesses chatter = money.
I am in favour of the move by many institutions stopping their social media activity and fully support it, although I personally won’t be pulling myself off the social media channels. That’s because a) I don’t really put many messages on social media anyway, and b) I make it my point to never abuse any of these entities or individuals, because I am a normal human being who has empathy.
Will the boycott of social media lead to any changes happening? Maybe. But maybe not because everything goes back to normal on Monday and just like KSE, these social media platforms will probably just ride out the weekend and get back to normal thereafter.
On to football matters, and there’s a game tomorrow against Newcastle, so of course before the drawbridge was pulled up at Arsenal in terms of social media activity there was some rough team news. Arteta said that Auba is still not at the physical level but they wanted to get some minutes for him at the end, which says to me that we’re probably looking at another period of time on the bench for him on Sunday. Maybe that means he’ll get a 15 minute cameo at the end but I think it probably also means he’s unlikely to start against Villareal in the second leg. That means all eyes need to fall on Lacazette and given the false nine didn’t work with Smith-Rowe on Thursday, there isn’t an Arsenal fan around that isn’t hoping Laca is fit and ready to go. Whether he is risked tomorrow though remains to be seen.
On the Arsenal website it still says ‘being assessed’ which doesn’t really tell us anything and I suspect neither he nor Tierney will start on Sunday. Laca might be an outside bet to get some minutes in his legs but I think they’ll have Tierney from the bench on Sunday. Or at least I hope so.
He also is finally admitting that the Villareal game is ‘the crucial moment in the season’ which I think is the closest we’ll get to an admission that there will be rotation for the team tomorrow. I think that probably means the centre halves will be rotated, probably full backs too but I alao hope that by rotating the full backs Arteta tells them “impress me and you play on Thursday”. Chambers wasn’t great against Villareal and we know it isn’t Xhaka’s natural position and he was targeted, so good performances on Sunday from the full backs might at least give Arteta food for thought.
As for the rest of the team, well, as long as we protect the key players and get minutes in to the legs of those that need it, I’m not really fussed about what happens. I will of course cheer on The Arsenal and hope for an away win at Newcastle, but I’m not going to have a sleepless night if we don’t pick up a victory. The league has been done for a month or so now in my opinion nd i’ve said as such for a while. All eyes are – and should be – on Villareal and that will remain the case until the Spaniards rock up at the Emirates.
That’s it from me today. Pretty short one I know, but news is in short supply and I have a whole heap of stuff to do today before I can settle down with a beer.
Catch you all tomorrow for a match preview.