How you feeling today people?
I’m actually pretty good. A pure beer kind of affair. No mixing for me.
I’m getting to that point of the festive drinking season when my face hurts. All of that fitness nonsense I’d baked in pre-UK return is going to shite…. and there are yet more days to contend with.
But hey, tis’ but once a year. Am I right? Yeah I’m right.
I hope you all had a sweet day.
The players won’t have had such an amazing day. They’ll have spent time together yesterday in preparation for what is likely to be a tough game this evening.
The 0745 kick off… a real bitch on Boxing Day, but whatever. If we get three points, I’ll be over the moon.
It’ll be interesting to see how Arsene plays this one. Will he be shooting for a full line up again, or will he take the chance to rotate in some fresh legs?
Chamberlain hasn’t had a start in a while, but I guess Joel Campbell has been making the most of his chances. Chatting to some Arsenal pals last night, i think there’s a real mixed view on the Costa Rican. Some like him, some think he’s terrible… I think he’s doing well. I think he’s a scrappy player, his technique isn’t where you’d want it to be, but he works his socks off and he’s contributed positively during his run.
Is he the level we need long term? Well, as a back up, he’s not that bad. If he improves his decision-making and gets sharper in front of goal, he could be an able body as a reserve.
Arsene Wenger has been justifying his actions in the summer market. Right now, you have to say he was right if you’re looking at the face of things.
> We’re second in the league
> The squad is beating City with 3 first team players crocked
> We qualified for the Champions League
However, as many managers have pointed out, the league isn’t won in December and some of Wenger’s comments are still cause for concern.
“We also had Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck who are world-class strikers.
I’m sorry, but outside Alexis, you’d be hard pushed to call the others world-class. Theo and Giroud are very good, but not that extra bit of special you need to be world-class… and WELBZ? Love him, but come on… we don’t even know where his best position is!
“If a player is number 26 in the team, he needs three players to die before he has a real chance to play. That has an impact when he comes in the morning.
“He is down and he takes something away from the team. When the number is too short he thinks ‘no matter how I am I play’ and that is not good as well. I felt we have the right number.”
I think what he misses here is that if the squad number is the same for the everyone in the league. That hasn’t changed. The numbers are rarely the issue, the issue usually stacks around the quality of that number. Right now, we’re doing ok. But we have players like Arteta, Campbell and Flamini who are integral parts of the squad, that really, aren’t up to the level you need to win titles.
Also, with regards to competition, for a player like JC to get a game, players do have to die! Same with Coquelin last season. He was never really part of the squad until it broke. Wenger’s rotation policy is usually geared around injuries over trust.
I also find it quite hard for Wenger to crow right now about having the right quality in the squad when we’ve lost 3 games in the Champions League and exited the League Cup. I’d love to think we’re going to win the league, but our ability to lapse still has me worried… but, when you’re in the league of lapses, the team that lapses the least will be king.
So the thing for me this year, is, are Arsenal capable of keeping up this consistency… and are we confident City won’t kick into Champions mode? I’m excited to see what happens.
The big plus we have is that we always get injuries and we never handle them. We’ve had an injury crisis and we’ve mastered it. The injury crisis means a mid-season rest for Alexis, Wilshere, Theo, Welbz and Ramsey. So we should have a fresh squad for the run in because we broke our players so early.
So if we’re traditionally better in the second half of the year, and we can find that consistency again, then we’re in with a chance.
I also think we’re the best ‘team’ in the league. We have to use that squad stability to make it happen. Just like we did against City.
Then it’s all about attitude. Do we have the grit and the nastiness to stay on top for the full length of the season? Can our leaders step forward when we’re under pressure? Can this team grab destiny by the throat and control it?
Maybe. Just maybe.
So a big game today. A perfect moment to switch off… or stand up and make three points count!
Have a good one!
P.S. This is Arsenal’s only signing according to John Cross. 2 things here. At least it’ll be done early, which is massive progress. 2. I think Arsenal’s scouting is a lot sharper and I think more considerations are met before signing now… so hopefully he’s been well researched and he isn’t just a Steve Rowley gut feel project.