Welcome to Thursday, even though technically, it's a Friday for people of Britain because it's a public holiday tomorrow. That means you're entitled to start winding down today. May I recommend you join in the comments section here? It's a superb way to get paid to talk about Arsenal.
Football. Yes, we have stuff to talk about today, finally!
Jack Wilshere didn't return to the reserves line up yesterday as he was expected to. Not fit enough this week, but possibly fit enough to take part next week. Which, apparently could mean in 3 weeks he lines up for our first team. I wonder how much of this return to fitness with Jack is based around ensuring he doesn't go to the Euros? A talent like Jack will always encourage risks from England managers. He's like Beckham in 2002. Everyone will want him there regardless of what the long term effects of a recurrence of that injury could mean.
If Wenger brings him back in 3 weeks. That will give him games against Norwich and WBA. If they take him to Ukraine off the back of two games, you'd really have to question the state of the English game or take it as a massive compliment that we have one of best talents in English football after only one full season. Either way, it will be great to see him back playing again. For a teenager, it must have been a horrible year. Especially with a child. There's no dodging your share of the duties when you're house bound. Imagine all that quality time he'd have to be spending with his girlfriend? Poor bast*rd...
Theo Walcott has come out with some fighting talk around the Spurs resurgence.
“We can deal with pressure when we have to. The manager always takes it on his back but, as players, we can also cope with that now because we have had a tough period.”
I hope you can deal with the pressure Theo... us Gooners have bets that we want to win and bragging rights we'd dearly love to assume over the summer. The good news in the Champions League last night is that Chelsea beat Benfica. That puts them through to the semi finals of the competition and a two legged game against the best team in Europe. Old legs versus the fittest, fastest team on the planet. It's a match made in exhaustion heaven. I think Chelsea could surprise everyone and nick a result. They have the experience to... and they have match winners in their squad. Abramovich has wanted the Champions League for years. You'd imagine all the foucus of the Chelsea camp will be on winning those two games. Hopefully they'll get side tracked elsewhere!
How about the new kit?
I'd love to have been in the brain storm for this one. I'd imagine they had the creative director in there after a 4 day drinking binge, the cleaning lady, the intern and a monkey with a box of black crayons. What a shocking looking shirt. Black? Red and black? Like United? What the hell are they thinking? Honestly. Did no one sit in the presentation of that kit and say...
'Guys, you know that red, white and black is traditionally the colours of Manchester United?'
I tend to get on with most of the kits, but this one really is a horrible mess. It doesn't even feel like Arsenal. They haven't even done a good job shoe horning black into the shirt. To be honest, I'd be happy to see the back of Nike. They haven't done anything exciting with our kits for years. When they burst onto the scene in 96(?) their first kits were like a vision from the future. Those hopped socks, the lightning flashes... they were excellent. Now all the other kit brands have caught up and Nike seem to put about 15minutes of effort into our shirts. Bad form Nike... bad form.
I read a really interesting interview from Marcel Desailly on Goal.com about Yann M'Vila.
'He is a defensive midfielder. If you defend very well anything extra you do is fine. First of all, stick on one thing – defending very well and passing very quickly to the offensive players.
'Once he will have understood that you will see he is the best midfielder – better even than Patrick Vieira.'
Big words from a player who has played at the highest level and won trophies.
'Arsenal is probably a stable club where he can have a bit of time or [Manchester] United where he has time to assimilate the changing of clubs and start slowly to perform,' added Desailly.
'He needs to come to the Barclays Premier League. We want him in this competition because it is the best, first of all, and he can really develop his skills. It is for players who like to play with tempo.
'You can see by the way he gets the ball, control and passes straight away. Long ball, short ball. He has that sort of rhythm that the Barclays Premier League is demanding.'
He really does sound like the sort of player our midfield needs right now. People ask what that means for Coquelin and Frimpong. Well, does it matter? We need now players. If you're not a now player, then you have to up your game and make yourself a now player. That's how the world works right? If a company doesn't have a ready made managing director, they don't just fish one out of the back office who isn't ready, they bring someone in who can deal with it now and hope the people below learn enough to develop. The same should be true of football. We don't have a ready made defensive midfielder who can compete with Song or allow him to move further up the pitch. Young players should have to fight for a place in the team, not be gifted it because they're young and have a bit of potential. If Song demonstrates anything, it's that if you flog away at potential for 5 years, you might get somewhere, your trophy cabinet won't though.
The really interesting part was this comment...
'He is doing too much on the field, he is defending and trying also to create and make the difference up the field. He has to reduce his commitment up the field.'
Someone should have been telling Alex Song this over the season. I guess that's the issue he has. Arsene tells him he's like Cesc, so obviously, he's not going to sit in front of the back four and defend all game. A defensive midfielder does not win the plaudits, does not earn the mega bucks and doesn't get the credit for winning a game.
Interesting stuff all the same. Let's hope we sign him. He'd be a very good piece of business.
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That's your lot for Thursday... do we move joke Friday to Thursday? I think so... let them roll...