Morning all and welcome to Friday.
It’s unusual for us to get anything like good news when it comes to injuries, so the announcement yesterday that Aaron Ramsey could be back for the trip to Everton was like a bolt from the blue (hopefully one into the blues on Sunday also).
In his team news update on the official site, Arsene Wenger said:
Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news. Hopefully they will be available for Sunday.
Not quite the ‘Ramsey is back to save us hurrah our season is safe’ kinda stuff, but still good news all the same. The manager’s caution is obvious and I don’t think there’s any way he’ll be starting on Sunday, but even if he could make a little cameo from the bench to give him some minutes ahead of the FA Cup semi-final that would be a big step forward.
The news is obviously welcome, but tempered by the manager’s comments just last week when he suggested that it could be a ‘few weeks’ before we saw him again. When I heard that I simply prepared myself for the ‘Well, if he gets a good pre-season under his belt he could be fit by August’ reasoning that I would undergo as a coping mechanism, so this is good.
You would like to think that this is because he’s made some real progress and not because we’re desperate to bring him back ahead of schedule. That, surely, must be a lesson we’ve well and truly learned at this point. All the same, you can’t really understate his importance.
With 13 goals to his name, he’s still our second top scorer and he hasn’t played since December 26th. There was some stat going around on Twitter about how, despite that absence, he’d made more tackles than any other Arsenal player, but I did a bit of digging around on WhoScored last night and it turns out that’s not quite true.
He’s third in the successful tackles list with 66 to his name. Kieran Gibbs (67) is second while Mikel Arteta is top with 79. That said, his tackles per game average is still the best (3.7) and only Arteta comes close with 3.2, but it’s not necessarily that part of his game that people will welcome back. What he gives us going forward is crucial too, so fingers crossed he’s fully recovered and can start playing a part again.
The boss also updated us about Mesut Ozil, saying:
The FA Cup will be too soon for him, but he will hopefully be back soon after that.
While Ozil himself provided us with this on his Facebook page:
I can assure you that I’m doing my best to return to the pitch as soon as possible. but in the end, only two things matter: to have confidence in yourself and to be patient! #coyg
Only two things matter, confidence and patience. And stretchy hamstrings. Only three things matter, confidence, patience, and stretchy hamstrings. And Deep Heat. Only four things matter, confidence, patience, stretchy hamstrings and Deep Heat. And a good warm-up. Only … well, you get the idea.
Having Ozil back would be fantastic. I realise that goes without saying really, but when you still have some dimwit hacks claiming he’s nicking a living at Arsenal, blissfully ignorant of the irony of that statement when they’re doing pretty much the same in their own field, it’s worth repeating.
I’m not really counting on Wilshere being able to do much between now and the end of the season, to be perfectly honest, but adding Ramsey and Ozil back into the mix certainly would give us many of the qualities we’ve been missing in recent weeks. Ok, neither of them are going to solve the outright pace issue, but when it comes to purposeful running, end product and creativity, they tick all the required boxes.
No doubt the manager will give more in-depth info about Ramsey at his press conference this morning. The prospect of facing Everton in an early-ish kick off is an interesting one and I do wonder if there’ll be any mention of our preparation for this one in relation to what happened in other big away games this season.
Right, time then for this week’s Arsecast, and I’m joined by Amy Lawrence to discuss the week that was, Man City, strikers, club strategy and more. There’s some Arsene Wenger Hawkins and a bit of Colonel Abrams squeezed in there too.
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News from the press conference and more on Arseblog News throughout the day, back tomorrow as prepare for Goodison.
Until then, have a good one.