Well a big fat happy good morning to you all! We’re here, ground hog game… Swansea. At least they play nice football. I remember us having a similar run against Middlesborough a few years ago. That was tough going.
The team news is that Jack will most likely start again. Hardly surprising. Wenger is a man under pressure. Under enough pressure to start Diaby in two games within a 6 week stretch? Time will tell. I sense it could be #RamboTime from the start. It’d be nice if he did play, Wenger put him where he’s most comfortable… on the wing. Sorry, through the middle.
I’d expect to see a very strong line up. Thomas Vermaelen has already beaten us with the ‘we will be stronger’ press release, therefore, as a gullible fan who hero worships my players, I’m going to believe him even though he’s come out with that story at least 8 times so far this season.
I hope this week, we’ll have learnt how the boys from Wales play the game. They’ll press us as a unit all game, they’ll keep super tight on our midfield and they’ll play possession football much deeper than we would. They’ll also be more than happy to go route one. That tactic has served them well in the last two games, so our centre backs need to be sharp and alert to the not so subtle Michu when he’s smashing his way through the middle of the park.
I hope the atmoshpere is a little less stale than it was against City. It’ll be freezing cold combined with that unsettling feeling we all get that say… ‘aren’t we a little to good for FA Cup replays?’… don’t lie people, I know that’s what you’re thinking.
Anyway, it should be a spectacle at least and I fully expect us to go through to the next round.
Wenger has been clowning around in the press conferences.
“It has become more difficult [to buy players in January] for one simple reason: we have a good squad. I know we swim against the stream a bit because people don’t believe that. I say we have a very good squad.”
I expect him to believe in his squad before the season starts, but after you’ve watched them capitulate on numerous occasions and when you look at the 21 point gap at the top, isn’t it time to stop pretending there’s something in there we haven’t seen? Whether you’re in for players or not… there’s no harm in a little honesty. In fact, when your team constantly fails you, surely it’s time to put a rocket up their back sides and say, ‘we’re rampantly on the hunt for new signings, some of the boys haven’t pulled their weight so far this season and we have the money to rectify that’.
Wenger should work to a list. When we’re terrible he should list the types of players he needs. When we’re playing ok, he should amend that list to suit what he sees. Then when we’re playing amazing football, he should again list what we need. From there, he’d be able to see the patterns because let’s not mess around here, there are obvious flaws in the team even when we’re going through a purple patch. The problem with Arsene is he knows what we need when it’s going badly, but as soon as we have a good run, he loses his bottle. He has the lists of players, he takes the phone calls, he’ll know about Fellaini and all the other quality names that are floating around at the moment… but he’ll have lost his bottle.
It’s all about the patterns Arsene…
Finishing 6th having not spent a penny is probably a safer option than finishing 5th and spending £30m. At least he’ll have a fat profit to fall back on. By not spending, he doesn’t have accountability because Stan is all about the bottom line. That’s the shame of it. Interesting that Arsene was reluctant to speak honestly with one group of journalists, but more than happy to bring in two players to some others… like he’d forgotten the internet existed.
“But we have some improvements to make and we know exactly where. In January it is difficult to find the players that are really better and can give something special to the squad. The number is right, we have a good balance and we are working very hard to find what we want.”
Arsene, we do need something special and we need something quickly. All this dithering is embarrassing. We should have had a group of players identified in early December. You can start negotiating long before the January window opens and have all your players ready. All this scrabbling around only points to one thing… reactive management. That’s not good enough when you’re one of the highest paid in the league.
My final story of the day is about Ian Wright and his shoddy column in The Sun yesterday. He penned a piece that said there was no way Pep Guardiola would go to Arsenal… and he can see him going to City and he understands why. Well Ian, that mind set hardly worked for you son eh? All the riches, none of the accolades… wasn’t that on your advice? Thankfully, Pep probably does see the pitfalls of working with City and only a person blinded by money would fail to see the benefits of working with Arsenal. I mean, jeez, you’d only have to switch back three days to read the article where Jose Mourinho talked about his jealousy of the stability you get at Arsenal. Not to mention the huge wage bill we have to play with, the massive improvement in commercials, Champions League football, full stadium, amazing training facilities, the fact there’s a very low baseline to attack, there’s a solid youth system in place and we’re a sleeping giant with a commercially viable future that smashes FFP in the fairest of ways.
Arsenal are appealing.
Once Wenger goes, we could explode if the CEO makes the best decision on the next manager.
Don’t forget that people. The doom and gloom only lasts as long as Arsene is here. After that, the promised land is upon us.