Morning folks and welcome to Sunday. I spent my Saturday doing all manner of jobs and then today i’m going to relax and enjoy a day of rest. I saw that the Arsenal ladies gave the Scum ladies a good ol’ fashioned tonking and that’s always good to hear. I’ve seen a couple of the goals and with 52,000 people in the stadium on the day, it seems like it made for a great day out for so many people. I’ve seen loads of pictures on Twitter and Facebook of parents taking their kids and that is heartening to see. I loosely follow women’s football and of course I want5 the Arsenal women to do well, but I never really know enough or follow enough to really delve in to the detail, hence not really talking about it on the blogs. But they have my support, I hope they do well and every time they get a great result like that I’ll always have a smile.

Where that smile slowly dissipates is when international football pops in to my mind, with yesterday’s game between Scotland and Ireland having Kieran Tierney forced to come off with a head injury last night after he suffered a knock to the back of the head. I’ve seem some reports suggest that KT was even annoyed to come off and Steve Clarke said yesterday that it was just a precaution, so the hope is that it isn’t classed as some kind of head/concussion injury. The worry is if there are protocols that need to be followed and if those protocols are followed because the head injury is serious enough, then it is a minimum of six days without football I believe. That would put him out of training until basically the game itself and that would surely mean he wouldn’t be in line to start in the NLD next Saturday.

I suspect that is an extremely pessimistic and low-probability scenario though, as I suspect that kind of outcome is for people who are lying sparko on the floor after a collision. It looks like this was a coming together, there was maybe a cut or a tiny bit of wooziness, then he thought he was fine to play on. However, KT is the sort of bloke who would play on if he had an arm missing (“It’s just a flesh wound”), as evidenced by the international break he went away with for Scotland last season, before then missing the run in for the remainder of the season. So it’s pleasing to see that Scotland are actually managing the situation properly and not doing what Steve Clarke did last time which was to play him for the full 90 minutes of all games during their last international break.

My hope is that he’s just sent home now. He probably won’t be, but from an Arsenal fans perspective i’d rather he be back with us than being run in to the ground by that manager of his in Scotland. Let’s have him back in Colney and ready for the North London Derby, because for me personally, I’d be picking him above Zinchenko next Saturday for sure. He’s a little more suited to defensive actions and his positioning is better than the Ukrainian and after his performance against Brentford, I am kind of hoping that Mikel sticks to his ‘meritocracy’ approach that he has suggested he implements as a manager. I really hope he does. If you’re playing and playing well, you keep the jersey unless your form dips or you get injured. Zinchenko got injured, KT came in, has started to play well and so should keep the jersey for as long as his form and body holds up.

That’s how you create competition in a squad because the players believe that they have every chance of playing. I think that was one of the big problems when we first dropped down in to the Europa League and Wenger essentially created a ‘B’ team for the competition, followed by an ‘A’ team in the league. The problem I think some of those players felt was that it didn’t matter what they did in the ‘B’ team, they weren’t getting promoted to the match day starting XI. That’s a really tough balancing act though, because as a manager you want to get the right blend between having a competitive squad, keeping everyone motivated and believing they can make the first team, whilst also balancing the sheer volume of matches and this season more than any, we have loads of matches to cram in. But by raising the level of the squad as we did this summer, we can all have these debates about KT vs Zinny for the Premier League and what I want to see is each week it becomes a battle to stay fit and stay competitive between those players. But also all of the players across the pitch. For Tomiyasu v White, for White vs Saliba v Gabriel, for Martinelli v Smith Rowe, for Odegaard and Fabio Vieira. If there are these battles happening all over the pitch then we’ve got players who, when the worse does happen and they take a knock, we can keep the quality of the team high and hopefully keep delivering results like we did away to Brentford last weekend.

The other news, as confirmed by Ghana yesterday, was that Thomas Partey is heading home to England after it was decided not to risk him on Tuesday, although apparently he would have been fit to play, if this article is anything to go by. Assuming that is true, then common sense has prevailed and hopefully we can see him take to the field on Saturday looking refreshed and ready to go in what will invariably be an intense game against The Scum. The other positive news is from the Norway game, in which Odegaard played 71 minutes for the Norwegians yesterday and the fact that Solbakken was saying he wasn’t sure how much the player could play, this must be a sign that he has recovered and hopefully can be ready for the game at the weekend. They play Serbia on Tuesday and you’d hope that he gets through that ok and if so, then having him ready and raring to go on Saturday will be another boost. We just have to hope that we don’t get any more scares because Arteta will want everyone back in one piece when they start arriving back in London from Thursday and hopefully we get a nice, clean bill of health for Saturday lunchtime’s kick off. We’re gonna need it.

Catch you all tomorrow.