I said yesterday with a brash tone “they’re sure to have a press conference today as I would imagine they’ll be travelling up to Everton on Friday given the game is a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday”. So of course there was no such presser, once again proving that a) I know absolutely nothing about the workings going on at Arsenal Football Club, and b) my ‘curse’ or predicting things to happen or not happen with regards to the club, lives on. It dates as far back as when I said “we’re still within the season so there’s no way they’ll announce Podolski from Koln until the season has finished”, only for the club to do exactly that with about six games to go, the very next day after I’d written it.

This is a power that has to be used responsibly though. I can’t just go about blindly predicting things knowing the opposite will happen, otherwise the footballing gods will realise my reverse psychology in motion and absolutely nail me for it. So I’m happy to take the ‘L’ when it comes to little stuff like this. I just hope that when I really need it, when we really need it, it comes through for me. Just like the FA Cup final in 2017 when, pre match in JJ Moons in Kingsbury, I said to everyone that would listen “there’s no way we’ll win this. Key players injured, playing against Chelsea who are champions, with Mertesacker playing his only game of the season having spent most of it injured. No chance”.

What happens? We go on to win it 2-1. That was a “well played Chris” reverse psychology moment and I’ve been waiting patiently, building up the ‘L’s like yesterday’s prediction of the presser, just for the right moment. You’ll know it when it comes. I hope.

Anyway, all this waffle and barely any talk about the ‘here and now’ of The Arsenal. There were some training pics that came out yesterday and I just want to ask you a quick question – are you like me in that the first thing you do is zoom in to each picture to see any signs of players who there are potential doubts over?

That’s what I did yesterday. I went full ‘Where’s Wally?’ on the pictures, searching for a certain Thomas Partey to prove he was back in training. Have a look for yourself here. Do you spot him? I don’t think I do. Which, I’ll be honest, has me a little concerned. Now, there looks to be the slightest of hints of him in the background in one pic, but it’s difficult to be properly sure. Some have suggested that the pictures might be older than 24 hours and therefore maybe Partey wasn’t training towards the beginning of the week, because there’s also no sign of Jorginho and the club did make sure to get pictures of the other signings in the team. If they were taken on a Monday or a Tuesday for example, then maybe Partey was just told to do some light training. But we don’t know at the time of me writing this. We WILL get a press conference today though to find out, although I suspect that Arteta might say “it’s touch and go” or something like “we’ll see” with regards to Thomas.

What me looking so closely at a sighting of the lesser-spotted Partey does show us, is just how important he is and I feel like I’ve doubled down on that content on him this week, especially in the wake of the Jorginho signing. But if he’s not 100% fit, the arrival of the Italian does mean that Arteta will probably feel a little better about maybe having him on the bench, or only giving him 60 minutes if he is fit to play tomorrow.

One thing I haven’t commented on is that of our young scoring machine Folarin Balogun, who overtook Mbappe in the French league for goals this season and is now on 14 I believe. He’s on track to smash 20 for the season and that is quite some feat for a young man in his early 20s in a new country with a completely different culture and language. He’s making a lot of Arsenal fans sit up and take note and as somebody on my Twitter timeline said yesterday, we need to give kudos to Arsenal for securing him and Nketiah on new deals because both were on the verge of leaving the club in recent summers and both have gone on and are now looking very impressive. There are a few worried comments about having to sell one of those players in the summer, but I think we should just focus on the positive that we have both in the first place. My hope is that Balogun continues to smash it, then we tie him down to a longer contract in the summer, then he gets himself a Premier League loan to see if he’s really ready to smash the Prem. If that’s the case and that happens, then the season after we’ll have an absolute monster ready to slot in to our team along with Eddie, with Gabby Jesus also able to play there and in the wide positions too. It is better to have these kinds of headaches than the one we had just over a year ago, with a Lacazette that doesn’t score goals and a captain in Aubameyang whose form nose dived.  I’d much rather be in this position than in that position we were in 18 months ago.

And so that’s it from me today. There’s no doubt that five minutes after I hit ‘publish’ on this blog today there will be

Also, a little P.S. and a massive thank you to anybody who has contributed towards the crowdsourcing fund I have been telling people about over the last 24 hours. Dave is an extended family member who is critically ill and as a result we’re all trying to get enough money together to have him transported back to the UK in an ambulance so he can get the proper treatment he needs and to be with his family for the precious time he has left. The response we have had has been overwhelming and we are already nearly at the £5,000 target we need in order to pay for the ambulance, which we are going to organise today so he can be back early next week. The love and appreciation of friends, family, work colleagues and people I know off the internet – including the Arsenal community, really has blown myself and my family away.

If you want to support then here’s the link to the crowdfunding page.