Today is a big day for Arsenal. We can go third for a few hours. Psychologically, that's a lovely target to chase. We're also chasing 3 wins in a row in the Premiership. If we're looking at taking baby steps this season, that's another sequence I'd like us to build out on. At some point we have to break out of our stuttery cycle, hopefully today will be a continuation of us doing well.
Team news hasn't really changed. Santos is still out due to being massively out of favour with the manager, outside that, it's only Diaby missing. Who knows where he is or what he's up to. Surely his deal doesn't have that much longer to go?
Wigan are absolutely shot to pieces when it comes to their injury list. Even Ryo Miyachi is out (ineligible regardless). A man who seems to have really failed in his bid to make an impact at a Premiership club. All that pace and little else it would seem. Things looks so good when he joined. I guess making the leap from school championships to one of the best leagues in the world is a big one.
Wenger has been on the back foot again, once again defending his record.
“I am never satisfied. I just try to do my best,”
“I have been the most criticised in the last seven years (without a trophy), but I feel for a manager it was more difficult in the first years.”
He even had a bit of time for some press banter...
“The Mayans were wrong - the end of the world came at Bradford!”
I don't want to keep hammering him, he has transformed our club, beyond recognition. You can't dine out on that for forever though. Once your stop building,once your stop performing, it's time to hand over the control pad to someone who can deliver a modern day equivalent to what you once did. You can't be great forever. Arsene has had restrictions and he's performed well under them, I guess the problem now is most of the restrictions he faces are self imposed.
Theo Walcott has a piece in The Times about how 'disenchanted' he is with Arsene Wenger trying to push him into signing a new deal. I think when you see these rumours falling out of the papers, it's time to hold your hands up and accept that maybe Theo knows there's a better deal elsewhere. It's a tough decision to make when you keep a player when they're heading into the last year of their deal. We've given him a platform to sell himself and he's done a great job. I wonder if Fergie or Mourinho would have allowed this to happen?
Either way, it's looking very unlikely he's going to ink a deal within the next month. I guess you'd probably want to see what Arsenal were planning on doing in January. You'd probably want to know whether there was Champions League football and you'd be pretty curious to find out what the deal was elsewhere.
One deal people are talking about is David Villa on loan for the rest of the season. It makes sense if it's true. He'll probably cost us a few million in wages. He's one of the best strikers around, trouble is, he's back from a serious injury and he's 31. I'm sure he'd do a great job for us, but I just can't work out why we're not looking at permanent deals when you have players like Ba available for an absolute pittance?
Other papers have us in for the Sunderland number one Mignolet. Chezzer really hasn't performed over the last few seasons and we don't have a number two, three or four capable of pushing him. We all like our number one, but you've got to look at the stats. They're not impressive. He needs competition or a few months on the bench. There's also talk that Zaha has a choice between us and United. Being an Arsenal supporter, you'd have to say the decision will be an easy one. From all the Palace fans I've been speaking to, all I've had back is glowing reports. He could surpass Theo within in months. A work in progress, but a gamble worth taking if our incumbant decides life at Arsenal is just not fulfilling enough.
Right, it's an early kick off... enjoy the game and I'll see you in the comments a bit later!