Happy Friday my darlings, how are you?
Well, let’s be honest, does anyone really care about the first 4 months of the Europa League? It’s a chance to run out the b-team and enjoy a steady flow of fairly straightforward victories. I don’t really have concerns about our ability to deal with a Sporting that has been having an awful summer. Qarabag play to a stadium of 5,800 in Azerbaijan, not that I would ever denigrate a team without watching them play, but outside rampant complacency, you’d hope we’d be ok there. Then there’s FC Vorskla Poltava, who ply their trade in the Ukrainian league, which let’s be fair, has produced some good players, but again, a team the size of Arsenal should be fine.
The major burner with going to Ukraine and Azerbaijan is the distance. Google Maps won’t even give you a flight time it’s so remote. No doubt we’ll go the Netjets route, but the point is you’re going to a different timezone, you’re playing on shite pitches, staying in less than ideal hotels and getting a rough nights sleep heading back to England with next to no prep for your Premier League game. Emery made the point that he respected the team, then made the point about the physical challenges that come with long flights.
When you play two matches in one week it is physically different. It is more hard with less time to prepare for the match or to complete physical work. But we want to do that, we want to play in a lot of matches. After the international break we will play a lot of matches. I can ensure we are willing to use a lot of players.
Conquering the Europa League is all about great planning, or a lot of luck. This trophy is Arsenal’s to lose this year, and it’ll be a great way to sidestep top 4, and win our first European trophy since the Cup Winners Cup final in 1994.
ESPN are running with a story that Ozil and Emery are fine, the German picked up a severe cold that degraded into laryngitis. Interesting it’s taken over a week to give the illness a name and that the club would let someone with a highly contagious illness anywhere near the dressing room. But hey ho, we’ll need Mesut at his absolute best if we’re to make inroads this season, so let’s pray whatever he has had it cured and that he drops an absolute hero performance this weekend against the MIGHTY Cardiff this Sunday.
Let’s start with the gripping news that Emery has banned fruit juice from his players because of the high sugar loads contained within. I personally didn’t realise how much sugar they slinked into those cartons until I worked on a pitch last year. Like, did you know they put corn syrup in a lot of the brands? Unreal, I didn’t. Farm to table my arse!
Anyway, broader point here is that taking sugar away from football players is like you asking the McDonald’s cashier to remove two crispy french fries from your extra large box because you’re running the Hackney quarter marathon. He’s the Crouch End mum banning the kids from Easter Eggs, offering up little Rupert and his friends baked vegan moxarella disappointment sticks as a fun alternative. It’s not going to impact the performance of players who crush through thousands of calories a day because they’re running 80miles a week. Always amusing when coaches try and take away the little things from players who have so little joy in their boxed-in lives.
Now we’ve got that important snippet out the way, can we just find out of LT is going to start?
‘I am very happy with the player. The players are working hard every day and making demands of me to start with their work rate. The possibility of him playing with the starting XI is okay, but I am happy with all of the players and how they are working, not just Lucas.’
The coach hasn’t mastered the English language yet, but he’s learning the politics like a pro.
I hope he can get to grips with the starting 11 he’s settled on, particularly midfield, where I think he’s struggled to find a flavour he likes the taste of (obviously not Sunny D). I’d love to think the future is MG and LT, but I can’t help but think the manager is captivated by Xhaka. The midfield looked far more balanced when he played a little in front of LT in the second half against West Ham last week, so maybe we’ll see that as a starting offering.
Outside that, give me a clean sheet, a solid defensive performance and an Aubameyang hattrick!
That’s me done.
ONE LAST CHANCE ON THE PODCAST: