Morning Gooners, we all ok?

I went out last night and hand a skin-full and my head is pounding, so please forgive me if today’s blog looks a little rough around the edges; even tapping at the keyboard is painful right now 😉

We should get some kind of press conference / team news update today at some stage and I think the main thing we’re all waiting on is just how bad is William Saliba’s back injury that he suffered on Thursday night? He didn’t make it to halftime against Sporting and after we’d already lost Tomiyasu to a knee injury, I think a lot of us have been fearing the worst. But by he sounds of it he didn’t have any strapping around his torso for the back injury, so hopefully that means he’s ok. Tomiyasu will, I suspect, be out for an extended period of time and with injuries like knee injuries, that usually doesn’t mean it is something that you can quickly recover from. His season might, sadly, be done.

If that is the case it will be such a shame for a player with whom we all hold in such high regard, but sadly has proven that he can’t really be relied on for an entire season and I suspect for the Japanese international it will be a crushing blow; his game time has been really limited this season so when he has been given the chance to play from the start, he’s clearly wanted to impress to see if he can win back his place. but you can’t have a player who is only fit for half a season in top flight football. It isn’t nice to say, but I do wonder if we are getting to the point with Tomiyasu that Arteta clearly reached with Tierney last season. After the Scotsman broke down again for another run in towards the end, I wonder at what point Arteta thought “I need another challenger at left back who is more available than KT”? It will have probably have happened at some stage right at the end when there were bodies dropping in the final weeks of the season and we had to go with Holding and Cedric in defence away at the Toilet Bowl Stadium.

I wonder if this latest injury – depending on how bad it is for Tomiyasu – might force Arteta in to the same thinking as he probably had just under a year ago?

It’s why you can see why we’ve been linked to that Fresneda chap from Real Valladolid. There was a bit of talk about it in January but I didn’t really believe it much at the time. But this latest Tomiyasu injury makes you think that there might be something in it. Ben White has shown just how good he is at right back in this Arteta system and I’m sure the manager is very happy, but next season we are surely going to be playing in the Champions League again and he’s going to need rotation options. The expectation from a lot of the media and Arsenal fans I speak to is that Kieran Tierney will probably move on due to the lack of game time, but perhaps we also need to look at the fact that Tomiyasu has had injury problems for the whole of his career as well, so maybe in the summer we’ll be looking at both a left back AND a right back that can be available?

I guess this is a problem for another day though. Right now our problem is Crystal Palace, who sacked Patrick Vieira yesterday and have put Paddy McCarthy and Darren Powell in charge for the game against us at the Emirates. I’m loathed to mention that dreaded ‘new manager bounce’ when it is caretaker managers in charge, but I had a read of his comments ahead of the game tomorrow and he talked about being progressive with the ball, about being aggressive without the ball, so I wonder if that means they will try to push us higher up the pitch or whether that’s just lip service for the Palace website?

My expectation will be that Palace will try to do what many teams have done in the Premier League and hit us with a low block and then spring traps on the counter. I’ll pop a more detailed match report on here tomorrow but I’d be surprised to see them do anything else but that. They’ve also got such a good recent record at the Emirates that we need to be wary of that too against a team without a win in the Premier League in 2023. Leave it to The Arsenal to bring them some hope this weekend, eh?

As for other news, well, there isn’t really very much that I can see, to be honest with you. I guess that is the nature of the beast after a Thursday night exit in Europe – which I am still smarting from – as the players and coaching staff get their heads done and try to re-focus on getting the domestic Premier League title challenge back front and centre of their minds.

So I think i’ll leave it there for today. I’ve mashed at this keyboard long enough and now I need to go and do some shopping before the parents arrive for the weekend for Mother’s Day. You have a good one and I’ll catch thee all in the morrow.

Laters people!