Morning to you all, a fair bit to get through, most of which comes from yesterday’s AGM.
It seems to have been a fairly pleasant meeting with lots of feel-good stuff being said. Which is what you’d expect really, the club is well run from a financial point of view, we’ve gone into it on the back of two good results and we’re sitting third in the table with a big game coming up on Sunday.
Where there has perhaps been a shift of focus is the manager talking about taking the cups more seriously. The Carling Cup has been a tournament which has been used to blood the kids, and I’ve got no real issue with that, but there’s no doubt we’ve taken the FA Cup more lightly than we should have in recent seasons. Again I can understand the rationale but as the need for a trophy of any flavour grows more pressing it’s interesting to hear what Arsene said:
We will go for every single competition this season with every resources we have and we will give absolutely everything. We will go for the League and FA Cups this season.
With that in mind I’ll be curious to see what kind of a team he puts out next week against Newcastle. I think we have to find the balance between using the competition to integrate youngsters like Lansbury who did well against Sp*rs and not weakening ourselves too much. The FA Cup is a tournament which has certainly lost some of its sheen over the years but for me remains a trophy worth going for. We have great history in it and fans deserve better efforts than we’ve seen in recent seasons.
And speaking about the team in general, he said:
I see a real opportunity to have great achievements this season – we have the spirit, talent, hunger and desire. I promise we will give our absolute best to achieve it.
Ultimately that’s all you can ask. If we give everything and come up short then that’s one thing, it’s when you cast your mind back to that game against Wigan last season, how half-hearted and sloppy we were that day, that you get frustrated because you know they’re capable of better. Anyway, with a big game coming up on Sunday we’ll just have to hope he’s true to his word and the players don’t make him look a chump.
In terms of that game and the injury list only Bacary Sagna returns with Almunia, Koscielny, van Persie, Ramsey and Vermaelen still all out. The manager puts our injury list down to ‘bad luck’ and ‘bad tackling’ and has defended the medical staff. The perception is that we’re somehow lacking in that department but I don’t buy that. I mean it’s not as if they don’t have lots of practice.
Vermaelen’s injury is typical though. Picked up on international duty he’s been missing since the first Interlull of the season. The initial diagnosis was a few days and here we are weeks later. The same with van Persie, six weeks will become ten weeks by the time he’s back. So it’s easy to understand why fans get frustrated but at the same time the players are not machines. It’s not as simple as tightening a few bolts (like Stoke do with Shawcross). At the same time it’s a good job a few of them aren’t horses because they’d have been sent to the knackers yard well before now.
As well as that Arsene said he had funds to buy players in January if he wanted … har har … and he spoke of his hope that Cesc would stay at the club for years to come, saying:
Fabregas is a player who deeply loves the Club believe me. I believe he wants to win with this Club. For how long I don’t know, but I hope for many years. You can understand he has an attraction to the club where he grew up. But I’m confident we will keep him for a few more years.
Let’s hope so and you only have to look at Wayne Rooney’s behaviour this last week to see how different things could have been. Fingers crossed Cesc stays fit and gets a good run of games under his belt because if we do want to win things this year he’s going to be a big part of that. And if he knows he can win things with Arsenal …
Right, there’s plenty to talk about in terms of the Man City game but that can wait until tomorrow and Sunday.
I realise some people are still having issues viewing the site, it seems to be a select group of ISPs, such as Virgin in the UK and Telefonica in Spain. I’m really not sure what to suggest other than to set Richard Branson’s beard on fire. And having had to deal with Telefonica in the past I feel your pain, my Spanish dwelling ex-readers. The only thing I can suggest there is blowing them up. Did I say blowing? I meant ringing. Of course.
Those of you who use the iPhone app will be glad to hear there’s an updated version available for download from the iTunes store. The Android app has also been updated and stand by for some interesting developments with the apps.
For now let’s crack on with the Arsecast. This week I’m joined by Tim Stillman of Vital Arsenal to talk Jack Wilshere, the footballer and the tackler, as well as the Man City game. There’s the usual round-up from Internet Joe, Arshavin’s in there plus some shameless self-promotion.
Please remember that because of the move some things will have changed. You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
There we go then. That’s enough to get your Friday started, have a good one, more tomorrow.