Good morning to you all. Hope you’re well. After a delayed flight last night – probably because some wag up to high jinks on St Patrick’s Day stole the plane or something – I got back home at about 1am. Up again at 6am to make a podcast, so I’m feeling pretty tired, and yesterday a man coughed in my face and he’s given me some kind of blurghy illness which, on top of all the Barcelona stuff has left me feeling a bit scronched.
As we waited, we did meet some nice American students though, heading to Dublin for the weekend. The Kentucky Jewish lad with the eyebrows was very funny, I hope they have a good time here, even if their first night plans were laid bare a bit by the fact we got in so late. There was a very drunk Norwegian Arsenal fan there too, I expect he’s also feeling a little delicate this morning.
Due to the fact I got back so late, I don’t really know what’s going on other than the fact I’m exhausted and feel like climbing into a cave and hibernating for a bit. There’s no rest for the wicked though as we have a 12.45 kick-off tomorrow against Everton, hardly ideal after playing Barcelona on Wednesday evening, but not something so totally outrageous or unexpected that we shouldn’t be able to deal with it.
Physically it will obviously be a bit more challenging against a team that hasn’t had to play since last weekend, but there you go: that’s football, and that’s something that if you’re a Champions League team you know you have to deal with. There’s no point complaining about it too much, just build a squad that can cope.
Laurent Koscielny says Arsenal need to back to basics. ‘We need to go back to basics,’ he said. Before expanding somewhat:
We haven’t been fighting like we did in the last six months because we lost a little confidence in ourselves and it is harder to win some games. We need to come back and help our team-mates with defending, attacking and a controlled passing movement. We didn’t lose our capacity physically or our technique, we just need to do more.
We also need to come back to our basics, be simple and then the confidence will come back.
I agree. Play better, score more, concede fewer. Those are the basics that I would like us to go back to. Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil says Arsenal need to fight. ‘We need to fight,’ he said, before expanding somewhat:
We have to concentrate now and give everything on the pitch. We have to fight. I know the teams playing us will fight to take the points against us, so the games will be tough. We have to fight on the pitch. We have to work harder than before. We have tough games coming but we have to take the points.
Work harder. Play better. Go back to basics. Fight.
I guess less talk, more doing is my overriding reaction to all that. I know the players have media ‘duties’, but if they could play a game half as well as they talk about it, we’d already be champions.
I don’t know if much has been made of Ozil going off down the tunnel at the end of the Barcelona game. It was very noticeable, as he pretty much stomped off alone, but I think he was utterly fed up at not being given the ball by Alexis in a great position late on. Can’t blame him for being pissed off there, in fairness, and I also think we’ve got bigger things to worry about than that really.
Right, time now for this week’s Arsecast and on the show I look back at the midweek trip to Barcelona, with some location recordings, vox-pops and more from the European trip I got back from last night at 1am. Please excuse my voice, or lack of it, it’s been a long couple of days, and a man coughed on me and gave me the plague. I’m also joined by Roger Bennett (@rogbennett), one half of the excellent Men in Blazers to chat about that and, as he’s an Everton fan, to look ahead to tomorrow’s game. I get his thoughts on that, Everton, Arsenal and lots more.
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.
There’s a pressure conference this morning at which we’ll get any team news ahead of the Everton game tomorrow. As ever you can find all the news and updates over on Arseblog News.
I have go and try and make myself feel human again. It’s a big job. I may be gone for some time.