Morning all. I am a bit tired this morning having been woken up at 3am by the dog, who is a good dog, but who himself had been woken by one of the cats … erm … caterwauling. Damned Evil the Cat.
Anyway, here we are with a game at West Ham tomorrow before we head into another dreaded Interlull. It’s very important that we go into this Interlull on the back of three creamy and delicious points taken at the expense of the cud chewing Walrus. At this moment in time we’ve got no idea of team news, Arsene’s press conference takes place this morning so all will be revealed soon enough.
As I mentioned yesterday I didn’t like the look of Coquelin’s twanger. With nobody around him he jumped up and crumpled and while on TV they glossed over it and said something about a calf thing to me it looked more like a knee problem. Of course I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he were out for a little while. Which is a shame, we need our Coq erect at all times.
If he were out, on top of the absence of Abou Diaby (who is in Romania having space dust covered unicorn placenta injected into his thigh by a hunchbacked Wiccan who makes her poultices by rubbing them over the corpses of orphans) then the strength we spoke about having in midfield will be tested. It could mean a chance for Aaron Ramsey to start and, after his rather fine goal against Olympiacos on Wednesday, he’ll certainly be a lot more confident. The young Welshman has admitted he found last season very testing and is hoping to get back to his real level asap:
I’m feeling good and confident again, getting back to my old self, which got me here in the first place. Hopefully now this will kick me on again and I’ll keep on improving throughout the season.
I’d been out for nine months and your body takes a lot longer than you think to get used to that. You take longer to do things on the pitch that usually come naturally, which is how I felt during the second half of last season. Prior to the injury, I’d been running around every day since I was a kid. Hopefully now, I can have a good season.
It’s interesting to hear that because one of the main criticisms leveled at him last season was his dallying on the ball and hearing him talk about how it takes longer to do things that come naturally gives you an idea of why that was happening. I’ve said before that I think it was a bit ambitious of Arsene Wenger to thrust him into such a high pressure role last season but no Diaby and no Wilshere obviously forced his hand a bit there. It’s safe to say though that he struggled, not just because of the difficulties faced when coming back after such a horrendous injury, but with the weight of expectation too.
Being asked to replace the creativity of both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri was unfair and it’s little wonder he struggled. It’s a shame that it coloured so many opinions of him because I think he’s a good player who went through a very challenging time. Trying to find some form and confidence while struggling like that will obviously have an effect on your game, and knowing the crowd are finding most things you do frustrating is hardly much of a help either.
This season, the arrival of Santi Cazorla has eased the creative burden, while the fitness of Diaby (up to now) has allowed him to ease his way into the new season without so much pressure on him. And you have to say he looks a better player for it. He’s made an appearance in nearly every game, I think, and the goal he got on Wednesday was no less than he deserved for his efforts thus far. Now, if he’s selected for tomorrow’s game he’s got to step it up again and show that he’s ready to start games for us on a consistent basis.
Interestingly, he’s set to be replaced as captain of Wales, perhaps another indication that there was too much expectation on a player who is a) still very young and b) has to concentrate on himself following the dirty great Shawcrossing he got. It might also be because Chris Coleman is a Mowgli looking wankbasket but that would be just speculation on my part. Anyway, I’m confident he’ll come good for us and a good performance tomorrow would help him win back some more of the fans who lost faith last season.
In other news, quick reading style: Olivier Giroud says he wants to pleasure the fans, 7amkickoff‘s By the Numbers piece for the Olympiacos game is here, while you can get the latest Tim Stillman column here.
Now then, onto this week’s Arsecast and I realised while making this one that it is something of a landmark, number 250. Time flies, eh? I can remember making the very first one when all this was just fields. Anyway, my very special guest this week is Gingers4Limpar (hey, he’s special to me) and on the agenda we’ve got Chelsea, Olympiacos, Gervinho and Arsenal’s finances. There are some old friends in there too along with all the usual bits and pieces of waffle and childish name calling.
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 (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (26mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
Right, press conference, news and team updates throughout the day on Arseblog News (follow on Twitter here for instant notification of new stories), and I’ll be back here tomorrow with a full preview of the West Ham game.
Have a good one.