welcome to Friday, another week has flown by, we’ve got a busy few days of football ahead and two away games to contend with. Starting with Villa tomorrow, then there’s a trip to Merseyside to take on Everton in midweek. Arsene Wenger held his pre-Villa press conference yesterday and beyond confirming that Abou Diaby is still 3-4 weeks away (he’s hobbling up an down escalator in terms of his career), there aren’t any new injuries or knocks to be concerned about.
There are some “tired” legs, which is to be expected, and Theo Walcott will again miss out with the shoulder problem he picked up against Sp*rs, but other than that we seem in relatively good shape. Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho could well start tomorrow at Villa, which leaves the manager with a decision to make in terms of his centre-halves, but with the amount of football we have to play over the next few weeks there’s plenty to go around.
Of the two games we play this week you have to look at Villa as the least difficult and, if there’s going to be some rotation, you get the feeling it might be for this one. Anyway, we’ll have a proper look at that game tomorrow, the only downside of course is that it’s one of those late evening kick-offs. I’m sure our record in these games isn’t that bad but I just really dislike this kick off time. Oh well, first world problems, eh?
Meanwhile, and away from the pitch to an extent, comes the news that Arsenal are to make a ‘significant’ announcement this morning with regards a commercial/sponsorship deal. There’s a media briefing today at noon at which all will be revealed and there’s speculation that it could a new kit deal or a shirt sponsorship arrangement.
We’ve heard a lot recently about 2014 and you can’t have any discussion about Arsenal’s finances and income without the touching on the fact we’ve been relatively hamstrung by our commercial deals. In order to raise the finance for the new stadium we locked ourselves into up-front deals which, by now, look pitiful compared to the ones other clubs are enjoying. It was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, in a way, but that was the reality of the situation we founds ourselves in. And it’s impossible to argue that it hasn’t impacted us in terms of how we’ve had to operate.
In his most recent dissection of our finances, Swiss Ramble pointed to the fact that without player sales we’d be making a loss. Manchester United and Liverpool both earn way more from their shirt sponsorship deals than we do, but hopefully today’s announcement will go some way to evening things out a bit. I can’t go into the details but I’m told the increase in revenue is substantial, to say the least, and based on that the need to move players on and cash in on them should be very much negated.
Obviously we’ll have to wait until the full announcement is made, we’ll have all the details for you over an Arseblog News as soon as we have them, but it looks as if one commercial deal could have a big impact on the footballing side of things. There’s more money for the manager (to not spend, I know! I know!), both in terms of signings and being able to compete better with the top teams in terms of wages – although there’s still a school of thought that it’s not really how much we spend on wages but how we spend that’s the big issue. Still, it’s a move forward and that’s something that should impact us in a very positive way.
Elsewhere, there’s some more stuff from Arsene Wenger this morning, urging Theo Walcott to make a commitment to Arsenal but at this point I’m kind of tired of Theo Walcott and his contract. It’s good that he’s playing well but that’s about as far as it goes, really. There are those who say that Walcott has proven himself in the last few weeks with some excellent stats, assists, goals etc, but surely Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s offer is based on what they’ve seen over the last 6 years, not the last 6 weeks.
At the start of the season there was mild indifference towards the idea of Walcott leaving, now it’s crucial he doesn’t. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, I guess, but it’s also worth remembering that Arsenal have been trying to tie down Walcott to a new deal since last summer (2011) and while some of the ‘fault’ lies with the club, it takes two to tango.
Finally for today, and with all due credit to whoever dug this up in the first place, check out this goal from George Graham in 1970 against Liverpoool. Remind you of anything?
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast and with me to discuss the 5-2 win over Sp*rs, Champions League qualification, Thierry Henry and more are Andrew Allen and Gareth Parker. There’s also a rake of breaking news throughout.
Also, there’s your chance to a cashmere scarf from our friends at Savile Rogue and the winner of last week’s slipper socks competition. And remember, you can get 10% off any order from Savile Rogue by using the code ARSEBLOG12 at checkout.
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 23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
Right then, that’s your lot for this morning. I suspect it’s going to be a busy day. Back tomorrow with a full preview of the Villa game and comment on what’s going down later on.