Howdy y’all, how we doing?
Well I’m feeling fine, thank ye’ kindly. It’s Wednesday, we have a game tomorrow, the possibility to expunge the bitter taste from Sunday is upon us. I’m kind of also interested to see a slightly different line up tomorrow and for me the Europa League represents an opportunity to get minutes in to those players legs with whom we haven’t seen as much of so far this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still have preferred us to be playing in the Champions League, but whether that would have afforded as much rotation as Arteta could presumably do tomorrow evening, remains to be seen. Chelsea hilariously lost last night to Dinamo Zagreb and their team included Fofana, Koulibaly, James, Mount, Kovacic, Chilwell, Havertz, Sterling and a certain Mr Aubameyang and when you think that they head back home to play another game with probably a very similar line up to play Fulham away on Saturday, hopefully it has an impact on their performance and the Cottagers can get a win.
This season is going to be quite the challenge in the lead up to the World Cup because of the truncated nature of the games, but then again that was the case in points last season, when teams missed matches because of COVID and then had to contend with periods in the season where the fixture list was quite condensed. The small squad and condensing of fixtures towards the end of the season that had an impact on us, culminating in having to essentially patch up players and throw them out against Newcastle at St James’ Park that cost us. Back then though, a certain utter scumbag of an Italian manager managing The Scum themselves, told anyone who would listen that Mikel Arteta complains too much. So imagine my utter shock at hearing this week that this utter bellend of a manager has now come out and said that the Scum’s fixture list schedule is ‘incredible and crazy’.
You total spanner.
It goes without saying that I have absolutely no sympathy for that cretin, but I tell you what, I hope it is true. I hope their fixture list is unkind and I hope it impacts their season in the most negative way possible. They play Marseille tonight and I hope they get beat. Let’s have Nuno Tavares torment them – that would be fabulous – then let’s see them come back in the early hours of the morning on Thursday, have a day off, do some light training on Friday and hopefully get pummelled by Man City at the Emptihad. That would be delicious. It would also be what is coming to them too because I’ve seen them skank their way to an undeserved draw against Chelsea, get away with one against Fulham, get away with one against West Ham and rely on Kane and Son to bail them out multiple times this season. I want their brand of football to be found out and I want that scummy team picking up some ‘L’s.
Now, with that said and having spent far too much time talking about other teams and not The Arsenal, let’s refocus back to the correct side of North London, in which I’ve seen rumours that Partey is progressing well and there are people saying there’s an outside chance of him making the squad on Sunday. If that is true then tis’ fine news indeed, but I’d be surprised if he’s used and I almost hope he isn’t used. Sambi has done a decent job, it is at home and you’d expect us to have more ball and hopefully with rotation in the team for the Europa League games, we can see fresh players for Everton and for players like Sambi more minutes in his legs to keep him ticking along. In many ways I think a game against Zurich and then a start against Everton would be good for him. With Elneny out for a prolonged period of time he is the clear understudy to Partey and from now on we effectively have two games a week for the next couple of months. We all know how it takes footballers a while to build up the rhythm before their engine is purring, so to speak, so by getting these minutes in to Sambi now I think we’re giving him a better chance to perform at his optimum quicker than he would have done. Maybe I’m just looking at this from a glass half full perspective, but maybe for Sambi’s season these starts have been pivotal in his development. He can play against Zurich tomorrow, get a game against Everton on Sunday, then he can start against PSV, perhaps he sits out the Brentford game because you’d hope Partey is back for that and then he goes off to the internationals having played in seven matches, starting five, out of a possible ten.
That’s a pretty good ratio for a lad his age and when he comes back from the internationals we have a game in the North London Derby which you’d not expect him to start, but just five days later he’ll be in line to start at home to Bode/Glint, followed by the reverse fixture the week after. The week after that we have a midweek game against Man City in which he might find it tough to get in to the side, but if Arteta is looking at rotating players then he might get minutes in one of the games either side of that against Leeds or Southampton. October is a really tricky period for us and some proper hard games; it gets quite scary, but we will need to make sure we rotate the squad as best as possible. That means if I was in Arteta’s shoes I’d be looking at using Sambi more for games like Leeds or Southampton and when the Europa League starts up again at the end of October with the away trip to PSV, surely Sambi will be featuring then too?
So there are minutes there for him and there is an opportunity to build himself in to more regular playing time this season. And from what I’ve seen we have a player who has shown already that he’s improved and can make a very positive contribution. He just needs to keep on doing what he’s doing.
Catch you all tomorrow. Have yourself a good one!