Goooooood morning! Today is a good day. I don't know why, I just feel like it's a good day. The sun is shining, the weather is sweat yeah, make me wanna... sorry, getting carried away. The sun is shining, Stoke are coming to town and we've all got a new Spanish international to pur over. I've not seen much of Nacho Monreal, but from people who proclaim to be in the know, he's the second best left back in the Spanish league. That's a pretty big reputation and kind of says to me that Arsene Wenger may have actually assessed the fitness of Kieran Gibbs long term and made a positive move.
I don't want to dig too deeply into deadline day, but Graham Hunter said the move was originally planned for the summer and it was pulled forward. He was a panic buy whatever way you look at it, because to my mind, he should have been in January 1st, in fact, he should have been in last summer when it was plain to see that 1) Gibbs is injury prone in a big way 2) Andre Santos is nowhere near the level you need to be. I just wish Wenger had taken the same attitude to giving the keeper, Diaby and Giroud competition this month.
People are saying Wenger will make his purchases this summer, please, what Arsene Wenger have you been watching for the last 8 years? We need players now. Reaching 4th is entirely feasible, but we've made it hard on ourselves. Missing out is unthinkable, even if we can make up the deficit with property and TV money. All we've done at left back is cured a problem we didn't really have. The Gibbs replacement was a reaction rather than a proactive move. It's a panic buy, but in a good way. In the same way Arteta was a panic buy.
If Monreal comes in and plays well, he's not lifting us to new levels... because Gibbs has been good this year. We still have all the issues we had pre window.
It's amazing how many excuses were fed my way after yesterdays post...
- Are you sure the manager has money?
- Wenger is right, we don't want substandard players?
- Clubs don't want to sell their best players at this time of year...
- The players weren't available
- The squad is actually really good!
A pal of mine who I go to the games with pointed me in the direction of the Occam Razor principle (yep, I've turned into that w*nker who talks about philosophers).
'It states that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected.'
Basically, the theory states that usually the simplest answer is the most obvious. We can all dance around conspiracy theories of a lack of money, we can imagine that players weren't available, we can hope the Dick Law really is that terrible at negotiations and we can try and ignore that huge sum of uncommitted cash (£70m)... but after 8 years of seeing the same thing happen over and over again... isn't the simplest conclusion that Arsene Wenger is the issue here?
We can all the see the weaknesses. When one freshly exposed mega weakness looked too much, what did we do? We went out and treated the transfer market like Tesco's and we purchased some Hovis Finest farm baked bread. What did that prove? That when Arsene Wenger has the desire to solve a problem, he can do it in a day. Exactly the same happened after we were smashed by United a few seasons back. We went out and bought 5 players in a week. Sure, two of them were Santos and Park Chu Young... but let's not pretend most managers would go down that route. If you want good players they're about. Debuchy and Mbiwa were available. Lopez, Ba, Soldado, Anelka, Drogba and Llorente were options up front. Fellaini, Biglia and Diame were available in midfield.
A last ditch attempt for Etienne Capoue? Why wasn't he a first minute attempt?
Anyway, there were plenty of options available for a club with the largest organic cash reserves in the league (maybe even Europe).
Desire to make moves happen is all that was missing...
Anyway. I am done with this conversation.
Onto the game today. Loads to talk about. Monreal trained with the boys, so he should start. He's match fit and apparently he bagged an assist and a goal in his last game. What a baptista of fire eh (like my religious pun?)? Stoke in your first game! Still, you don't get too much grief out on the left. I just hope he's a bit of a leader. I like the potential of what Gibbs can offer, but he's prone to lapses in concentration.
Other returning parties are Koscielny. He's looking to play his first match of the year without scoring an own goal or getting sent off. Good luck to that man. The major weakness to his game has always been dealing with high balls into the box. His positional sense has been terrible this year, but a good time to improve that would be the first game after transfer deadline day. Why? No reason. You just say stuff like that when you're setting targets to players who aren't reading your blog. It would be great to see him return to the player he was last year. The one that was linked to Barcelona.
Hey, Alex Song, how you getting on by the way?
A major addition to the side will be Arteta. Ramsey played ok in the holding role for the three games he was given, but Arteta with his toughness is probably more suited to a Stoke game. He's been sorely missed for his leadership and strength. A good time to return... Up top, I'd imagine it'll be more of the same. Lukas, Theo and Giroud. The Frenchman, despite scoring a goal in the last game needs more today. He needs to get sharper in front of goal. He's not a million miles off and he's up to the physical side of the game... he just needs to be more clinical. He's getting into the positions though... which is great.
Theo Walcott needs to pick up where he left off. He's looking value for that contract. I've been hugely impressed with him lately. He's taking the game to teams, he looks sharp and he's using his pace efficienlty. It would have been easy for him to let his foot off the gas like Adebayor did... but he's proving to be a hard worker and an asset to the team wherever he plays.
The midfield will have to click into gear nice and early and we need Jack Wilshere at his terrier like best. We need to put a foot in and show Stoke we're here to play and fight. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Cazorla can bring to the table.
I think it'll be a great game today, I hope the new boy gets a good welcome and a snack based song to his name. I can't be up there today, for all those that are, have a good one and tear the roof off the place with super positive noise. If you've got a banner today, know that Arsenal rolled out extra stewards at the last game to take care of protests like that!
Happy Saturday, see you in the morning for a bowl full of delicious match review.