It’s been a pretty quiet week but things should start ramping up a bit today as we start to look ahead to Sunday’s game against Manchester City. There’s some early team news, most of it good, but Olivier Giroud is a doubt having not trained all week because of a deep cut on his knee suffered against Swansea.
Arsene Wenger says he’s ’50-50′ and will have a test before the game to see if he’s available. If not, then we can simply pick and choose from one of our many other strikers such as … erm … and … er … wotsisface. I guess it’ll mean Theo Walcott playing up front against Vincent Kompany and the rest of City’s defence and that, I suspect, will be more of a measure of his ability to play there rather than a half-knackered Newcastle side who are barely above the relegation zone and who have conceded more goals away from home than any other team in the league.
For those hoping for new arrivals before Sunday, it doesn’t look as if anything’s stirring. In fact, Arsene’s only chatter about the window is to suggest there’ll be no further departures – with a caveat of course:
At the moment no, [no one is leaving]. We have a good squad, a balanced one. At the moment nobody can go out, unless we buy somebody. At the moment our focus is to keep everybody. In every position we have two players. Three is too many and one is not enough.
And on Djourou and Chamakh going:
They don’t play here and they need games. A player who never plays loses his quality and his confidence. It’s important that they get a chance to play somewhere.
Important for who, exactly? Because frankly I couldn’t give a tuppenny fuck about Chamakh not playing, and the reason he’s not playing isn’t because he’s lost his quality, it’s that he didn’t have that much to begin with. Sam Allardyce is suggesting we made a mistake letting him go out on loan. The mistake, as far as I can see, is that we didn’t move heaven and earth to find him a new club in the summer then, having freed up some resources, brought in another striker who might have provided some competition and depth to the squad. As for us being balanced, I’m not hugely convinced. We’re not overloaded anywhere, that’s for sure, but there’s little doubt we’re light in some departments.
So maybe Squillaci might leave if a centre-half comes in but beyond that it’s not terribly encouraging from the manager who seems quite content with the squad he’s got. No doubt he’ll be quizzed in more detail about the January inaction at this morning’s press conference, and loath as I am to engage in any kind of bullshit bingo if we don’t hear the phrases ‘At the moment we are not close to signing anyone’ and ‘If we do you will be the first to know’, I’d be hugely surprised.
Speaking of departures, there’s talk that Nottingham Forest have made an approach to take Lukasz Fabianski on loan. Whether he’s fit enough to take advantage of that remains to be seen with Arsene Wenger suggesting he’s still 2-3 weeks away from full training, but clearly they’ve had enough encouragement to get in touch, even informally. He’s a player that probably wouldn’t be at the club had he not picked up a summer injury, and he made it quite clear on a number of occasions that he’d like to leave and go somewhere to play regularly.
It’s worth bearing in mind that as we hope and wish for a striker, or somebody to add a bit of creativity to the side, that the goalkeeping issue is one that could really do with some attention too. I like that Wojciech Szczesny looks to be maturing into something approaching the keeper we all hoped he could be, but we’re an injury away from Don Vito and as honest and willing as he is, I believe there’s a lack of quality there that could prove costly should we need to rely on him for any period of time.
It might not be as pressing as the need for outfield players, but some competitive and reliable cover for Szczesny is something we really ought to be thinking about. But it seems like we’ve been here before.
Beyond all that nothing there’s no other real nothing of interest going on. Perhaps there’ll be something from the press conference that will excite or give reason to be hopeful that the chequebook is being dusted off. If there is, you’ll find news of it on Arseblog News.
Now though, time for this week’s Arsecast and you won’t be surprised to hear there’s some focus on the no business we’ve done thus far. If a good 10 minute rant about it doesn’t open the floodgates to new signings then I don’t know what will. Joining me to discuss that, the hectic schedule and the ticket price issue which has made the headlines this week is Tim Stillman. There’s the usual bits and bobs of waffle in there too.
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 24mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
Right, that’s yer lot. Back tomorrow.