Hello, hello, hello, how are you doing today? Are you feeling chipper now that we’re knocking down the doors of the North London Derby game on Saturday?
I’m not. Hate this fixture more than anything else. Home or away, I hate it. The worry, the nerves, the stress, it all just builds until the moment of kick off, in which it reaches a – pun intended – fever pitch of nerves and I basically just stand in my seat in row 11 with my arms crossed and my gaze firmly fixed on the ball for a solid five minutes before I start to feel my way in to the emotional drain of the game.
The players don’t feel that, of course, but we do. They shouldn’t feel that, anyway, because they have a job to do and I’m praying that they get it done on Saturday lunchtime.
Meh…lunchtime kick offs…I mean, I get it, because they don’t want the fans spending hours tanked up and there possibly being riots, but those lunchtime games always seem to be at The Emirates, rather than at their Toilet Bowl. Last year it was a night game, that adds a little more atmosphere under the lights. Mind you, they did do last seasons game on a Sunday at 4.30pm, so I guess that blows my theory out of the water! But still, the idea that I’m not going to be able to have a good solid two hours of drinking beer to numb any potential nerves and pain that I feel, doesn’t exactly make me the happiest man on campus, that’s for sure.
Moving away from the NLD this weekend (because it is already occupying most of my time this week), it sounds like the club are thinking about heading out to Dubai during the World Cup for some warm weather training and potentially some friendly matches. That sounds like a good idea to me. If there’s a solid month and a bit in which there’s no football, you can give your players a little holiday to head off with their families for a week or two, then get them all back in a nice climate to prep themselves for the Christmas rush that will be the return of the Premier League and intensive football schedule. That’s a point – I wonder if the players themselves would kind of like the way that it’s going in terms of the concentrated fixture list. Me personally, in my work, I love to go hard Monday to Thursday, work longer hours to get my work done, then have an easier Friday to wind down the week. In a similar vein, I wonder if some of those players not going to the World Cup would quite like the idea of the intensity of matches now, then as a result getting themselves two weeks off mid season to go on a nice holiday? If I was a player I’d quite fancy the idea of that.
I guess the only down side is that my type of holiday and their type of holiday are quite different. If they’re going on holiday midway through the season, there’s no way in hell they’re doing what I’m doing when I go to San Fran and Napa in about a month’s time; i.e. drink and eat myself into oblivion!
The idea of being closer to Qatar so the knocked out players could re-join the team sounds like a good one too. It means they can get back together quicker, build that team camaraderie whilst on tour, so it might work well as a bit of a mini pre season. Of course for those players that go deep in the competition it will mean no rest at all and I wonder if, when those players return, we’ll see the Christmas period with heavily rotated teams? I suspect we might. And that’s going to impact the bigger sides rather than the smaller sides. Imagine playing Bournemouth on Boxing Day as the first Premier League game back, when the World Cup final is just a week earlier? Imagine if it’s England versus Brazil, for example, and a team is playing Bournemouth knowing that some of their players have just had one of the most intense periods of their lives in football, followed by the – with all due respect – come down of playing on the South Coast the following week.
Arsene Wenger used to talk about how the World Cup impacted players moods when they returned and it took them a while to get back to their normal selves. After all, these guys are human, so playing in a World Cup final on the international stage and then heading home to play a regular Premier League game will feel a little like ‘after the Lord Mayors show’ if ever there was one. I suspect some of those players who play in the semi and final of the competition will be granted the Christmas off, depending on how important they are to the team, but if it is an England vs Brazil final, we’ll be in trouble potentially, because there will be Ramsdale, there should be White but maybe not, Saka, as well as the three Gabriel’s. We play West Ham at home on Boxing Day and you’d be looking at six of our best XI being missing for that game. Conversely, West Ham would probably be missing Rice if they did the same, so immediately we’d be at more of a disadvantage.
This all just serves to highlight just how ridiculous this mid season World Cup is going to be. Hopefully it is a muted one and everyone hates it, so we never have to have it happen again, because it is a bit of a joke really.
On the upside, if Arsenal go out to Dubai and play some friendlies, there will be a proper football team playing in November that we could potentially watch on the officially website. That’d be nice.
Right, I’d better leave it at that for now. Unfortunately Arteta’s presser isn’t until the afternoon so we probably won’t have any team news, but maybe there’ll be some leaks over the next 24 hours that give us a better indication of who is available.
catch you all tomorrow.