Happy good Friday to one and all.
First up on the breakfast plate this morning is a bit of good will Jack has undertaken (here). There was a boy called Archie who turned up on This Morning. He’s not very well. He loves Arsenal. He loves Jack… so Jack’s mum said, hey, get down there…
Jack basically breaks into this kids house, kicks up a fuss about the unauthorised autographed framed shirt on the wall, rips down the Nik Bendtner poster he spies behind the bed then storms out bemoaning the lack of hard liquor on offer.
Just jokes. What happened is Jack answers the door and Archie is standing there. The music is all X Factor, but the kid doesn’t really react. I bet he was thinking…
‘I’ve seen cameras outside other kids houses… what the fu*k has dad been up to?’
It’s a cute video. The cynical in me says he’s looking to boost his image (the question at the bottom of this Mirror article isn’t favourable), the soft side of me says he’s a Dad and he’s doing something nice with all the spare time he has on his hands. It’d be nice if footballers did more of this… no… it’d be nice if we saw more of the things like this the footballers do. I know Bacary used to do a heap for Charity but he had to keep it on the low in case people thought he was doing it for his brand. I’m sure Jack has other things he does but keeps on the downlow.
Anyway, a heart warmer for first thing in the morning.
So in football? Well, we have Boro this Sunday. A game of massive importance. The FA Cup is out best chance of silverware. We win here, it’s a pretty smooth run in to the final. I mistakenly thought it was for a semi final entry. It’s a quarter final. But really, there aren’t many teams in there that we need to worry about.
I think the big news tomorrow will centre around the keeper. We know Wojciech is the cup keeper. We know he’ll start. But do we know he’ll continue at number one? That’s the big challenge that Wenger is going to have to deal with.
There’s lots of debate back and forth about who should be number one. But it’s all pretty pointless. The lead story here is that neither are fit for purpose if we have aspirations of major trophies. There shouldn’t be a debate about the quality of your keeper. One of our keepers isn’t the right size for the league, the other is just, well, he’s just a bit average…
It’s not like there aren’t great keepers around. De Gea (and look, I didn’t rate him for time, so sorry there), Lloris and Courtois are all champion keepers. I’d even take Forster and Begovic over the two we have at Arsenal. We need to invest in a proper keeper.
It’ll also be interesting tomorrow to see how many players we rest. I’d love to see Chuba land a run out. He’s shown he can mix it at the highest level, so surely he could land a 70minute stint against a lower league team?
Some good news on Aaron. He’s only out for two weeks. It’s amazing how he’s sunk into irrelevance this season. Is it a jerky season of poor fitness or has he found his level? If Morgan comes in from Southampton, you’d have to worry about his long term future. Wenger has some interesting decisions this summer. Jack and Aaron cost about £220k a week. Are they delivering value for that? Could you find players that offer more for that? Big questions… painful ones as well. I love both of them. But they’re really not delivering. When you look at how players like Coquelin and Bellerin have come into the side, motivated, full of passion and fight… you wonder what’s gone wrong with Aaron and Jack?
How can you coach those two back into form?
Part of me wonders whether the whole youth system thing works. When I say that, I mean, when you bring in players from the youth team, they hit 7 years of being in paradise (Arsenal is apparently total luxury even compared to other tier one teams), do they lose a bit of edge? We’re having trouble with Wojciech, Jack and Aaron… all of them have been here for a long time. All have talent. All haven’t really seen much else.
The players we built our ’98 team around had generally all been to other clubs, experienced bad times, then landed at Arsenal at the start of their prime. We bring players in 7 years before their prime… then they hit it and they get the 7 year itch, or ditch.
No science behind that. But in real working terms, if you’ve been at a company since you were 16, by the time you were 23, you’d be looking for a move, right? It’s human nature…
Final LOL of the day. Liverpool are launching an app called Q that allows you to browse food and drinks on the menu. You order from your phone to speed up the halftime scrum. I love this, take the maths away from the staff. The reason it’s funny is that the same article also mentions Mecca Bingo Croydon adopting the tech. See Liverpool have gone all out to create a bespoke system here! Not to mention the fact you almost NEVER get 4g in a stadium. Anyway, I’m more for contactless payment. Take cash and confusion out of the system. I’d also be game for this idea… make loads of beers up before half time, rather than pouring them at the moment. It’s a pretty simple idea, but would make a massive difference.
Right, have a flipping great day and go easy on your lunch time bison burger, yah?
Arsenal vs Middlesborough: Sunday, 16:00