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Good morning to you. It’s Friday and I’m assuming there’s going to be a press conference this morning which should, at least, give us something to talk about after what was a radio silence kinda week.

I’ve got no complaints about that. The last thing you want to hear after two disappointing performances is the old bounce-back, react, respond, stuff. Get your heads down, get working on that training ground and get going again.

On today’s Arsecast we have a bit of a discussion about what kind of team we should pick for the West Brom on Monday. I’d be inclined to make a few changes here and there, just to keep people on their toes. There’s little point having a big deep squad if you don’t use it, or if you fail to take advantage of that by making it as competitive as it should be.

Perhaps we’ll get some indication from the manager later about his intentions in that regard. Will he be of the same opinion, or will he give some of the players who didn’t quite play at their best the chance to redeem themselves? I guess we’ll see, but leaving individuals aside, the collective effort needs to be much better. More on that game over the next couple of days, and we’ll have a full preview on Monday.

Elsewhere, there’s an interesting piece in the Telegraph this morning on Emmanuel Eboue. Never my favourite player, I have to say, but you read something like this and it does make you think about them as people, rather than footballers. It’s too easy to forget the human element, perhaps there’s something going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about – and whether we like it or not, they’re not machines and sometimes they’re affected by these things. As we all would be if it were happening to us.

It sounds like he’s going through a pretty rough time at the moment, suspended by FIFA for a dispute with his agent, and when you consider the shenanigans the games governing body gets away with, it’s pretty harsh. I did like this bit though:

“We were inside the tunnel and they’d call your name and the players would walk or jog out and then you clap to the fans. I said to the guys, ‘Look what I’m going to do’. They said, ‘Noooo, please don’t do anything Emmanuel, noooo’. I said, ‘Look, watch me, please, you’ll see’. I didn’t tell them what I’d do. Some of them didn’t believe me. So they called Gael Clichy, Manuel Almunia but I said to the girl calling the names, ‘Make sure you call me last, call me last’. So she agreed and called me last. ‘And the last player now, that all the fans love, is Emmanuel …’ and the fans shout ‘Eboue!’. So I fly out, boot the ball in front of me high into the air and then start doing those crazy star jumps and celebrate. One of the guys looked at me and said, ‘Eh, Emmanuel, you, I think there’s something not right in your head!’ On that occasion it was just a fun event so you want to make people happy. I’ll do anything to make young kids laugh. Football can be too serious. Sometimes you can see players stressed when they come to the stadium so if I can reduce it I will.

‘Football can be too serious’, whatever you think of Eboue, there have never been truer words spoken. Also, if you want a really brilliant Eboue story, check out the Arsecast Live from a couple of weeks ago when Stuart MacFarlane talks about how he arrived at the Ivorian’s house to find him wearing odd headgear and … well … you’ll have to listen to the rest – starts at 1’02:20

For some extra reading, check out Tim Stillman’s column this week looking at how Arsenal deal, or fail to deal, with the teams who press us.

Time now for this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by Tim to discuss the last week which has left us all so full of optimism and cheers about the team’s capabilities and fortunes. There’s some waffle but not the original waffle which was a little too lubricated so I replaced it with early morning waffle instead, and we look ahead to the festive fixtures, play the Arseblog/Gunnerblog Christmas song and more.

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If today is your last day in work before the Christmas holidays, don’t work too hard. You have my permission, tell your boss I said it’s ok to sit around, eat biscuits and listen to the podcast.  He won’t mind, but if he does, tell them to send a strongly worded letter to Arseblog, 7 Dublin, Ireland. We’ll get back to him/her within 28 days.

News from the press conference etc over on Arseblog News. More from me tomorrow.