Morning. I had a lie-in. This is tremendous. It so rarely happens. It’s like being granted three wishes and the first wish is for a lie-in and the second wish is for a lie-in and the third wish is that the first two wishes come true. I don’t mind using them all up in one go.
Anyway, let’s have a quick Saturday round-up, why don’t we? Starting with the injury news ahead of tomorrow, and Arsene Wenger seemed a bit more hopeful than … well … everyone else when it comes to Aaron Ramsey. Despite saying the injury he picked up against Hull was worse than he’d first thought – he initially believed he came off as a precautionary measure – he reckons it’ll be four weeks out.
Although, he did sort of say it’d be four weeks as a starting point. Thankfully at Arsenal there is simply no precedent whatsoever for an initial prognosis on a player’s absence to be extended in any way, certainly not indefinitely or anything. So that’s good news.
The boss suggested that new boy Mohamed Elneny could be the guy to benefit most from this. Having slotted nicely into the midfield for the last couple of games, he said:
He looks like he is ready to play. I consider every formula that is possible to give us a balance. At the moment I think Elneny in central midfield can cope.
He’s looked pretty secure in there, and perhaps having him and Coquelin together will provide the kind of base we need, as it looks as if the more attacking Joel Campbell will be the man to play from the right for the next little while.
Per Mertesacker should be all right for the weekend; Gabriel is having some tests to see if his hamstrings actually exist or not; and there’s a decision to be made about Laurent Koscielny, but I suspect he’ll be held in reserve until midweek if there’s any danger of him aggravating his calf problem.
I was sitting here for about 4 minutes trying to think of the word ‘aggravating’. Sometimes they just don’t come. But in the end, it did. Go brain!
Meanwhile, the manager has backed Olivier Giroud to score more now that the weight of not scoring is off his shoulders. The Frenchman got two against Hull, as did Theo Walcott, and with Danny Welbeck having notched a couple too since his return from injury, perhaps the strikers are sparking (2 minutes) each other into life.
Look, it is a weight on the shoulders when the players don’t score. So the fact that they score will of course take that weight off.
I suppose you could also throw Alexis into that mix too, given that he had gone a while without a Premier League goal and then got the equaliser against Sp*rs. But the manager seemed more inclined to focus on Giroud, saying:
It is a bit cyclical always, especially for Giroud. You know this season for example, he has had games where he has gone boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and after he had a little spell where he didn’t score. Now I hope he has a repetition of his former spell and starts to score again.
If boom boom boom is the noise he makes when he scores regularly, what noise does he make when he goes through one of his dry spells?
Or perhaps this?
Actually, I’m going with this!
I suppose the thing that strikes me most from the manager’s comments is his knowledge that Giroud is a player who has dry spells in front of goal. To be fair to him, he’s our leading scorer this season, and our most consistent goal-getter, and the manager might well feel that the supporting cast haven’t done enough to offset those periods when he doesn’t score.
However, if you know you have a player who goes through periods when he doesn’t score, isn’t it incumbent (56 seconds) on you as a manager to ensure that the supporting cast is up to the task? You could ask if going into the season with a broken Welbeck, a knackered Alexis, and Theo Walcott who has never really been a consistent goalscorer, was enough.
Still, all we can do is hope that the fact there’s real competition for the striker’s spot now, and that Giroud is back to going boom boom boom rather than making squelchy fart noises, will be enough between now and May to get us the goals to do whatever the hell it is we’re going to do.
Finally for today, the Arsenal Gentleman has got the transcript of this week’s player meeting at which things were said. Things that can never be taken back. Check it out here.
Right, just time to point you in the direction of this week’s Arsecast. Some Saturday listening for you in which I chat ticket boycotts and opt-outs with REDaction, football stuff with Gingers4Limpar, and give you the chance to win stuff from Art of Football.
Check it out on site here, subscribe via iTunes or Acast, or get it via your favourite podcasting app, just search for Arseblog or Arsecast. Enjoy, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a Watford preview and all the match day stuff.
Until then, have a good one.