Morning to you all, and welcome to another Friday. Where the hell did that last week go?
We have FA Cup action this weekend, taking on Hull City tomorrow in an early kick-off. It’s the third successive season we’ll have played them, and they’ll be hoping it’s third time lucky while we try and make it a hat-trick – following on from the final in 2014, and a 2-0 3rd round win last season.
There’s some early team news with the manager revealing that Gabriel remains sidelined, but:
He is running outside.
I wonder is there a kind of flow-chart of injury movement:
- Not running
- Shuffling slightly
- Ambling quite quickly
- Trotting inside
- Running outside
- Full training
- Say hi to Jack
- Not running
And so on. There was also an update on Laurent Koscielny:
Koscielny is doing well. He has a test this morning and he looks positive.
It’s good to know that he’s not sitting there looking downhearted, because that might have an impact on the rest of the players. Whether he’s used this weekend remains to be seen, what with that whole Barcelona thing coming up on Tuesday. If there’s any residual doubt from the injury he got against Leicester, I suspect he’ll be saved for the midweek game.
Gabriel’s absence, and the departure of Mathieu Debuchy – who is probably in the middle of another tirade about how Arsene Wenger is a big meanie and how life is just SO UNFAIR – does leave us a little short of options at the back. If we assume Gibbs (if fit) comes in at left back, and Chambers will more than likely come into the back four at centre-half, then we’re gonna have to play Hector at right back. He’s young and fit and whizzy, so I don’t really have any worries, but it would have been nice to be able to give him some rest before he has to face the most scintillating attack Europe has seen the Arcadians survived being sacked by the Goths in 395AD.
Further forward we have more options with the likes of Flamini, Campbell, Welbeck, Walcott, Iwobi and others hoping to be involved from the start. As well as new boy Mohamed Elneny about whom the manager says:
Elneny is fit. He is one of the players who could get a run out there. He’s mobile, he’s a very good player. He’s adapting at the moment and I think he’s there now. We’ll certainly see him against Hull. He has a chance to start.
I’m obviously interested to see more of him. He did well enough in the last round, and we saw on Sunday the benefit of having both depth and players with different qualities to come off the bench. There’s still a lot of football to be played this season, so if he can take another little step forward in this game then that’ll be a positive thing for us. Steve Bruce is likely to make changes himself, embroiled as he is in the task of getting Hull back into the Premier League, so it’s all set-up for a decent cup tie.
Speaking of Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed in one of those Twitter takeover things, that the new signing managed to avoid the initiation ceremony most players have to go through. It involves standing on a chair and singing a song in front of the entire squad. I have to say, that’s the one thing that held me back from becoming a top flight footballer, I’d be just too shy to do that, but not the Ox.
Asked what he performed, he said:
Fresh Prince of Bel Air! But recently we’ve been letting people off. Elneny didn’t do one.
I can’t be the only one slightly disappointed that he didn’t take the chance to impress by doing that Bangles song that seems so appropriate. Standing up there, doing the little dance, and cracking those lyrics would have been amazing. Although perhaps he didn’t want to make Mesut jealous by singing Eternal Flame at The Flamster.
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and on the show we look back a bit on that Danny Welbeck goal with commentary from all over the world, before I’m joined by Jeremy Wilson to discuss the significance of the Arsenal win and what it means in the title race. We chat about the top four, Mesut Ozil’s contract and the upcoming game against Barcelona. We hear from the Angriest Man on Twitter, there’s a look ahead to the FA Cup game against Hull, and all the usual waffle.
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 the Arsecast directly, use the link below the player, and if you are a regular listener via iTunes, if you would be so kind as to leave a review/rating that would be greatly appreciated.
We’ll have all the news from the manager’s pre-Hull press conference over on Arseblog News, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a full preview of that game, a live blog, and all the post-game coverage you’ll ever need.
Until then, have a good one.