Morning all, a quick Saturday round-up for you ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup game against Swansea.
And it’s a game which is of vital importance as this competition represents our last real hope of silverware this season. I know we’re still in the Champions League and anything can happen but that won’t happen. Unless someone totally says it won’t happen in order to make it happen. Which isn’t what I’m doing here. It won’t happen.
That should do it.
Arsene has been talking about the trophy drought. Apparently we haven’t won one in a while (who knew?), and he said:
Of course it bothers me because I am not here to watch other people win trophies. It is important and I will give my best to win on Sunday. I will just remind you that I have won the FA Cup four times.
It was, of course, the last pot we won, back in 2005, but as Goodplaya points out our record in this tournament hasn’t been great since then, and there have been times when it’s been deemed secondary to more pressing concerns. Arsene claims it’s a bit early to be talking about winning it, as it’s just the third round, and I do understand that, but there really should be a focus on this competition this year.
We’re bound to have the same debate about top four vs FA Cup at some point, but as I’ve always said the two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A manager that has won two doubles and four FA Cups knows that perfectly well too. Different times, yes, but it shouldn’t be impossible to do both. Or at least give it a good try. My concern, such as it is, involves the squad depth and should we progress in Europe I fear we may have one of those Hobson’s Choices to make, where an upcoming Champions League tie or Premier League game affects FA Cup team selection to the point where we’re weaker than we should be, but there’s a lot of January to go and that’s a bridge we can cross when we come to it.
Speaking of squad and transfers and so on, there’s still far more happening in the departure lounge than the arrivals. There’s a lot of chatter about David Villa – and I know there’s interest on both sides with regards this one – but when the Spanish press are reporting about an Arsenal bid and prefacing it with ‘Según goal.com’ (according to goal.com) then I wouldn’t be getting too excited just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see him arrive. I think he’d be a marvelous addition to this squad and would strengthen the team considerably, but there’s a lot to be done for this one to happen.
Interestingly, El Mundo say he’s on the radar of Atletico Madrid should Falcao leave and that a fee of around €12-15m could do the trick, which perhaps suggests a willingness on Barcelona’s part to let him go. And if they are then it’ll be the desire of the player to join whichever club interests him most – at which point I’d be confident of an Arsenal deal on the proviso that we’re prepared to pay that much money for a 31 year old. And there’s where it might fall down, given the way we work.
But, we’ve moved on Marouane Chamakh who has joined West Ham on loan for 6 months. I can’t say I’m particularly sorry to see him go. He’s been something of a flop, it has to be said. Despite the promising early start to his Arsenal career he was found wanting technically, mentally and goalscoringly since. Yes, there were reasons, some of which were beyond his control but a lot of which weren’t. I think it all boils down to the fact that we signed a fairly average player who had a bit of a purple patch, then settled into comfortable, well paid mediocrity.
Johan Djourou is expected to join Hanover on loan today while Andrei Arshavin has rejected the chance to join Reading on loan until the end of the season. Maybe he doesn’t fancy being involved in a relegation scrap, or playing with Jason Roberts, but you’d like to think that if a slightly better offer came in he’d be inclined to go and play football. I know many people feel Arshavin has been misused and mistreated by Arsene Wenger, but I’d argue the opposite, and that the player’s current situation is entirely down his own lack of application and attitude. Which is a real shame considering the talent he has and what he could bring to this squad if he were fit and focused.
It’s also interesting to hear we’re moving these players on so we can fund moves for other players. The reality is that we’re moving them on because they contribute nothing and while it makes financial sense to redistribute resources, we’re perfectly capable of bringing players in without the departures. Still, it’s allowed ‘deadwood’ to become the buzz word du jour. Al Swearengen for manager I say, he’ll sort all you cocksuckers out.
Right, time for more coffee. Have a good one, back tomorrow with a Swansea preview and a live blog. Until then.