Decided to Google ‘Arsenal news’ this morning to see what the chatter was online.  Wish I hadn’t have bothered. It was all talk about potential transfer signings in January. I mean, come on, we’re still in October for Christ’s sake. Talking about potential signings now is like when supermarkets start putting Christmas items on the shelves in October. It’s bloody annoying. Don’t do it. Stay away from it all until at least mid November. And despite there being a World Cup in about five or six weeks time, so the Premier League games until the transfer window are of course fewer than normal, that’s no reason to start pining over potential signings now. Let Edu be doing that and then let’s worry about who we might get in for January when the World Cup is on. There will be plenty of time for that level of hand-wringing on potential signings when that competition starts in December.

Instead,  let’s look  towards what is going on now,  which is a Europa League game on the horizon and then a Premier League home game to Nottingham Forest just beyond that. And I’m minded to think about how we’re going to rotate our team over the next couple of games and I wonder if Arteta is thinking about mixing  it up a bit. I wonder if he’ll play a blend of first XI and squad members across both games, sharing the minutes across 180 minutes, to ensure that we don’t look as leggy as we did in that second half against Southampton, perhaps?

There are plenty of questions he must be pondering right now, but as we all look at our squad and start to wonder why we have such a small squad, I find myself having to check my own opinion here, because I’ve wondered why Arteta has not been able to rotate as much as he has done and why we didn’t address this in August. But the thing is, we’re kind of in a position in which we have a mini crisis as it is. I keep thinking that we have a thin squad, but having a look at the Premier League table, everyone right now appears to be thinking the same, bar City, who can afford to have seven figure reserve players. But everyone else is dealing with their own injury problems at the moment and we are just in the same boat.

Even this weekend just gone Southampton were missing five players with Livramento, Walker-Peters, Maitland-Niles and Lavia all out, so whilst we might be looking at the problems we have, everyone appears to be in the same boat. The playing field is already levelled; you only have to look at Varane going off in tears at the weekend to see an example of another player and another team potentially missing out on one of their stars for an extended period of time.

We’re missing Smith Rowe, Elneny and Zinchenko, we’ve already missed Partey for a few games, yet we’ve managed to get by. Actually, we’ve gone better than that, because we’re top of both our Europa League and Premier League and we’ve been playing some great football. And this is where I find myself checking my own opinion, because despite some of the decisions Arteta has made on rotation in Europa League, or in the Premier League, he’s pretty much got everything right just now. He’s managed to get the balance right on rotating players and pulling players in or out in all competitions and as a result we’ve only really looked a little leggy for the second part of the second half against Southampton, as well as the whole of the second half against Leeds. I could understand the impact of the Leeds game because of the travel needed and perhaps there was a little bit of it for travelling to Southampton having played on Thursday  against PSV. Alright, PSV didn’t exactly prove a massively stern test for us, but it still needed the players to be on form and we absolutely were, battering them from start to finish. We battered Southampton in that first half too, plus also – in hindsight – controlled the game against Southampton, with them just taking their only real good chance in that second half. So whilst I’ve started to worry and wonder about Arteta and his rotation policies (only slightly, mind) in the last week or so, in hindsight and for where we are at, I think he is doing a very good job considering he’s also missing some key players.

The stats bear that out too. If you look at the Premier League injury table, you see that we have some of the fewest injuries (touches wood as he says that), which is partly of course down to luck, partly down to conditioning, but also about squad management. So far it has been so good and when you think that we are one of the few clubs in the league playing midweek football regularly, yet we still have some of the fewest injuries so far, you have to say that – up until this point – it has been successful squad management from the manager at this point.

Now that I’ve said all of this it could all blow up within the next week and we lose another four key players, because I’ve cursed us, but at this point in time and up to now, what has been delivered has been a successful team, a well coached team, a team that looks together and a side that has been squad managed well. We might all have one or two questions over whether we can continue to keep playing Saka every week, but I wonder if the Scum say the same about Kane and Son? Or do Man City same the same about De Bruyne? Did Barcelona fans get worried every week about Messi and his fatigue levels when he was in his prime? I don’t know as I don’t watch enough of any of those clubs, but I’d be surprised if too many of them worried that those players were playing Champions League on a Wednesday and then the domestic league on a Saturday. And that schedule is the same as the Thursday-Sunday one.

Anyway, just some thoughts for you on this Wednesday morn, in the absence of any real news before Arteta does his presser today.

Catch you all tomorrow for a match preview and some thoughts on how we might line up away to PSV.

Laters people.