Wellington, wellington, wellington. Welly, welly, welly. Wllety, wellety, wellety. Look at what transpired yesterday. The Man City Cup, brought to you by Man City and in association with Man City, this season will no longer be won by Man City, after their five year reign of terror ended with a penalty shootout against West Ham, meaning a new name on the trophy. And all of a sudden, like that, this competition will start to become very interesting for a number of these teams. And there are plenty of decent teams left in it too.

Liverpool are through. Brentford are through. West Ham are having a fine ol’ season so far. Sunderland have made the quarters, as have Leicester. Of course you have the formidable opponent in Chelski. So lots of decent teams in there who will all fancy their chances.

Oh, and the Scum from White Hart Lane too.

Suddenly this draw on Saturday feels intriguing and whilst a home draw with home fan support is always preferable, there’s something in an away day that gets me excited. My only hope is that if it is away, it’s in a location that means I’ll be able to get tickets, which might rule out Brentford given the size of their stadium. But if I could get tickets then it’d be one of the easiest ground in the country for me to get to, so that wouldn’t be too bad at all. But the main point is that Arteta and his charges must surely be looking at this competition as one that has all very winnable opponents in it. Liverpool are the ones that will surely be favourites now, but if Klopp plays a rotated side because they are fighting on multiple fronts, then it could open it up for a team like Arsenal, who have no European football to speak of.

Of course the tie itself comes at the start of a tough festive set of fixtures on 21st and 22nd December, so it does mean that rotation is almost inevitable for both sets of sides. Which means it is then about how much some of these Premier League sides rotate, so I’ll be fascinated to see who we get, if it’s away, plus whether it’s a side that will rotate as much as we will. So far this competition has felt like ‘the fun one’ in which tickets are cheap, I can head along there with my mates, there’s an opportunity to sit together and have a bit of a laugh and we’ve ended up winning all of the games with relative comfort. But if we get drawn against a Spurs, or a Liverpool, for example, it suddenly feels a little bit more like the real deal, doesn’t it?

Anyway, before then we have a Mikel Arteta conference and as I was sifting through the various news sources today to see what’s going on in the world, I came across the post-match words from Arteta on Balogun, which you can also find over at Arseblog news here. I’ve previously spoken about how if there’s one thing Arteta is good at, it is the PR game, because when he’s wheeled out in front of journos or the press he always looks impressive and carries himself well. And he looks like he’s done it again when speaking about Balogun, because his lack of game time has alarmed some of us who want to see a little more of him. My view is that as harsh as this sounds, we should be shunting Nketiah away from the first team in favour of Balogun. He is not signing a new deal, his contract expires in June, he can negotiate with teams from abroad in January and by March there is absolutely no doubt his agent will have found him a domestic club to join.

The noises from the summer were that Arsenal had accepted something from Crystal Palace – loan with obligation, or an outright purchase, I can’t quite remember – but it had broken down due to personal terms. For me that struck an uncomfortable feeling because we all know that if a club thinks it can get a player for free, then it will be more likely to sanction slightly bigger wages and signing on fee for that player. So to me when I heard noises of talks breaking down over the package, my first thought goes to an agent saying to his client “you can get an extra £20k-per-week if you stick it out and go on a free”. This is all speculation, I have no idea what is going on, I am merely putting two and two together here, but would it surprise you if that is not the game that agent and player are playing out?

If that IS the case, then Arsenal should not be adding extra value to Eddie’s wage packet by giving him game time and the opportunity on the pitch, because it doesn’t benefit us at all. But giving game time to Balogun, who the club have just invested in by giving him a new deal, certainly IS in our interest to give him game time. Except he hasn’t been getting that in the slightest. But this is where the Arteta PR machine cranks in to gear, because when he speaks with such authority about how there is a clearly defined path for the player, it makes me believe that it is happening and Arteta and his crew know what they are doing. It provides me with some comfort and my hope is that they have said to him to stay with the squad until January, see if he gets game time, train with the first team as a first team member of the squad, then get some minutes in January on loan if he hasn’t had the chance to find time in an Arsenal shirt. If he gets himself a loan to a decent Championship club or maybe even a Premier League club (although I doubt any team down towards the bottom of the table will be looking to put their eggs in an untrusted basket if they are staring down the barrel of relegation), then gets out there and cuts his teeth well enough, if Arsenal can qualify for Europe next season then he’ll be the main man playing in those League Cup and Europa League games next season. If you go deep in the League Cup and get out of a European group stage you’re talking about three in the League Cup and six in something like the Europa League before Christmas, which is plenty of game time for a player of his age. But he needs to be getting game time now and I suspect the plan has been to be part of the team up to a point, get a loan in January, then come back and play first reserve from the summer.

That all makes sense to me, but I’d still prefer to have seen Eddie play less football and Flo getting more. But we are where we are. As long as this ‘clear plan’ Arteta and his team has comes to fruition, then we have to trust him, as well as trusting Balogun that he does his bit to ensure he keeps growing and evolving until he’s ready to step up and be a first team regular.

Catch you all tomorrow.