Couple of days away from blogging for me over the last two; the first was because of a super-early get up to head off to an all company away day and so I didn’t have the chance to, but the second – yesterday – was due in large part to the big hangover I had yesterday following the work evening drinks that followed the away day. I know I’m getting old because I still have a headache two days later.
Not that it really mattered with regards to penning some thoughts about The Arsenal, because we’re in prime International break boredom time now and so there’s little Arsenal to speak of in terms of the men’s team. Bukayo Saka made an appearance for England against Italy, but I didn’t bother watching it, because England is pretty boring. I flicked it on and off for about two minutes and saw a passage of play where the ball was being laboriously moved across England’s defensive back line, but then switched it over on to a programme about Osprey’s, which was much more entertaining. In the two minutes I did watch though I realised something; not only is watching England boring, but the way that Arsenal have been playing this season, has made us even more exciting to watch. I saw a lethargic two minutes of a game last night and it dawned on me how much I’ve been enjoying watching Arsenal this season, so much so that it made me pine for our next game, which is next Saturday, feeling a real sense of deflation that I have to wait that long.
I need to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t that long ago when every game we played had me feeling a sense of dread, but last night what that minimum amount of international football did for me was realise that I have a new level of heightened excitement about The Arsenal and that really warms me from the inside, I have to tell you.
I’ve seen people getting a bit annoyed that Bukayo Saka was used as a left wing back, when he plays right wing for us, but he’s good enough to play that position so although it isn’t where he’s been at his best, we know he can do it to a good standard because we’ve seen him do it there before. Perhaps it is just that he didn’t have as good a game because he is with a manager that isn’t as good as Arteta and a team who don’t have the same automatisms as we have built up amongst our players so far this season?
Elsewhere on the international stage we had Takehiro Tomiyasu facing off against new club teammate Matt Turner as Japan won 2-0 against the States. He looks like he played the full 90 so whilst I am normally worried about international breaks – with the emphasis being on the work ‘break’ – I guess a full 90 means he was fine and maybe with the lack of playing time for him this season it is good to get more minutes in those legs.
On Ghana – I’ve just read – Thomas Partey pulled out with an injury ‘knock’ and missed the game yesterday.
Honestly, if it’s a long term injury – and right now it seems like nothing has been disclosed by Ghana – then we have to start thinking about getting a replacement for him from January I think. The poor bloke seems cursed and given how integral he is to the way we set up, it might mean that Arteta starts to think about life after him, because as much as I think he is a fantastic player and so important to us, we can’t keep on praying he doesn’t break down every five minutes. I’ve just flicked through Twitter and seen that supposedly it was precautionary because he felt something in his knee and had a little discomfort, but even that in itself makes me think that we’re walking a tightrope with him.
I suppose you could say that it is good that he’s stopping, has pulled out of the game against Brazil and maybe he will travel to London and be rested for the North London Derby in a week, but for him to admit that he felt anything probably makes him a slight doubt for next Saturday too. For a man who is so essential to the way that we play and who makes us so much better, it is a massive worry ahead of what is a really tough month for Arsenal this coming October. I just hope that he can be wrapped up in cotton wool, doesn’t do any training and then feels well enough to play next weekend. He looked a little rusty against Brentford and given he’d been out for a few weeks you can understand that, but he was still very good and you could tell the difference when he’s in the team compared to when he’s not.
My hope is that we still have enough to beat The Scum without him, if he is missing, but I do think it probably does lessen our chances somewhat when he is not in the team. The problem we’ll also have is that we won’t know anything until Thursday or Friday, when Arteta has his press conference and even then, he never gives anything away. So we’ll be on tenterhooks for another seven days as we wait to hear any news coming out of the Ghana camp. They play on Tuesday and what it feels like right now is that either a) he plays and we all are terrified that he picks up a knock and is buggered for the North London Derby, or b) he is missing and we worry than it is worse than the ‘precautionary’ noises coming out of the Ghana camp. Either way we’re going to spend a fair bit of time with concerns ahead of the NLD and that is annoying.
I don’t know whether it’s me, but it feels like he always seems to have a problem around the time of the NLD. Arteta rushed him back for his first one and we ended up losing him for months after that. He was missing for the one last season at their ground, now we have these worries cropping up with a week before the home NLD. Maybe The Svum have some sort of voodoo witch doctor for the player or something?
Look at me, there’s so little else to talk about, I’m delving in to the realms of silly conspiracy theories. And with that in mind I think i’ll pause it for today and come back tomorrow with something else Arsenal-related to talk about.
Catch you all then.