Welcome to Tuesday, the night where our Champions League group stage will be sealed. We're one point behind Schalke. They play Montpellier, we play Olympiacos. If they win, the theory goes they are more likely to take the easier draw in the next round. If we take second, which looks a close certainty, then there's every chance we could face Barcelona again. It doesn't always work out like that, but I'd say most would rather lessen the chance. Some people say you have to face the best if you want to win the Champions League. Again, I totally disagree. You can face the best like we did a few seasons ago on the way to the final, or you can find your way to the final by avoiding most of the good teams. We made it through to the semi finals playing Roma, Villarreal finally faltering to United. If we'd beaten United, that would have left us with Chelsea in the final. Hardly the worst run in.
Instead, we could do what we did last year and end up against Barcelona who would no doubt spank us into next year.
This is the joke of Arsene Wenger. He says there are only two trophies on his agenda. Yet we don't have a squad big enough to handle either of them.
"People in England don't understand very well tiredness,"
"They think you can only be tired at the end of the season. But it's a lack of freshness that I was talking about. It was not deep fatigue. Sometimes, you have a repetition of games with the Champions League. It can happen. But we do not want to complain. The little bit that we were not fresh [against Swansea] was only a part of the explanation."
Mr Wenger. Firstly, there are two reasons players are tired. 1) You don't give them a break from the first team if they are important 2) You still train them too hard
If anyone doesn't understand tiredness, it's the man who drives his best players into the ground year after year.
You can't talk to the fans about jaded then continue to play the same first eleven week in week out. Thing is, because of the poor decisions he makes every summer in the transfer market, those be the only options he has available to him. Wenger spoke about his big squad at the start of the year, yet a fairly large chunk of them aren't suitable.
Out of the defence, JD, Squillaci and Santos aren't good enough and the boss will do anything not to play them. In midfield. Coquelin is clearly not rated, Rosicky and Diaby are massively injury prone and Andrey, despite landing 6 assists so far this year is totally shunned in favour of an exhausted Cazorla. Why? If he's here, if he's playing ok, why not give him a run? Up top Chamakh is hardly used. If Giroud is being rested, why not give him a go? He scored two pretty well taken goals against a Premiership side. He's in a similar mould to Giroud. Wouldn't he suit the style we're trying to play better than Gervinho?
So that's 8 players who either don't play or aren't good enough. That gives us a 17 man squad to take on the Champions League and the League. That's with a £140m wage bill. It's not good enough. We shouldn't be jaded and we shouldn't have to rest players if the pressing need is for us to play them to secure top spot. It's worth quite a bit to us to get more games in the Champions League. 2 extra home games are worth more TV revenue and £6million in gate receipts.
The comment that has most people riled this morning is the one about not swapping our position with City's. In a literal sense, silo'd to the Champions League, of course you wouldn't swap positions. However, squad wise and 12 points clear of us in the Premiership, well, you'd have to say that statement is pretty inflammatory. The question was inflammatory. Sometimes stupid questions deserve honest answers delivered in a venomous way.
'Of course I'd rather be 12 points further ahead in the league you idiot'
That would have sufficed. Instead, he's convinced we can catch a side that are more than capable of sustaining a 90 point season. No chance Arsene. Not with a jaded 17 man squad in December.
There was a lot of noise around the comments Steve Bould made after the Swansea game. I couldn't dedicate a blog to something so dull. Big deal, Steve Bould shouted at the players and told them they let themselves down. I should hope so. Some questioned every angle of those comments... such a waste of time. Who cares how the players feel? They're a team. They win as one, they drown as one. They're all drowning at the moment and they need to pull themselves out of the mess they're in. I did find this comment interesting...
'You want them to dance? This group of players is highly motivated and if they don't win, they are upset."I'm more worried if I see players in the shower who laugh after they have lost.'
We've already seen players swapping shirts at half time this season and I've watched Song hugging Spurs players and having cosy full time chats after bad results. That's what we have to stamp out of the squad. We need to get more spiky characters in the dressing room because I have serious doubts over some of the players and their reaction to a bad result.
Arsene's final insult was this one which is a repeated comment from last week.
'The people who shout the loudest are sometimes treated like the majority"
"It's not always reflecting people's deep mind"
Someone needs to have a word. Those loud voices aren't just a few on the Internet these days. They're people in the ground. They're staunch defenders from the past. Instead of hiding from the criticism, perhaps he should take some seriously positive action and make some bold moves in the January window. That's all Arsenal fans want. I still think he'll turn things around this year.
If Spurs drop points against Everton this weekend, which could definitely be on the cards, that'll put us two points behind them and they're in 3rd currently. The run in after that is fairly easy. We'll have 3 pointers against Reading (A), Wigan (A), West Ham (H) Newcastle (H) and then Southampton. We could quickly find ourselves back in the top four mixer before you know it. So although we're in a mess right now, don't be surprised if we're not listening to an overly smug Arsene by January 1st when he's hailing the greatest come back of his career.
Don't forget though... that was off the back off the worst start of his career. It's no achievement. It's just a sad indictment of our expectations as fans that a large portion will celebrate that like we've just won a European Cup.
Anyway, let's see what happens this evening. Hopefully we'll put in a performance, even if it is a weakened side.