Sometimes a player can say something with the best of intentions but it comes out all wrong. Perhaps what he meant to say hasn’t come across as well as it might have. That is the only explanation I have for Freddie Ljungberg today. Speaking about the need to stand up to Bolton’s physical threat, which is fair enough, Freddie says:
We have spoken about the need to be stronger away from home. I hope a lot of the youngsters have learned their lesson from our dodgy patch last winter.
Pardon me? If there was a lesson for the youngsters to learn from our dodgy patch last winter it was that some of our most senior players were not up for the fight. That’s the fucking lesson. Some of the most craven, abject, limp-wristed performances I’ve ever seen from an Arsenal team came from the senior players during that ‘dodgy patch’. The youngsters acquited themselves well and results could probably have been a lot worse without them, their hunger and bravery. While senior players minced around in the cold, gave the ball away cheaply, threw tantrums and refused to play and basically looked like they couldn’t care less it was the youngsters who kept running and tried their hardest.
I hope the senior players have learned their lessons and I hope Freddie clarifies what he meant there. If what he said wasn’t what he meant then he should make that clear. If what he said was what he meant then he’s fucking dreaming and he owes the kids a serious apology.
Cesc is under no illusions about what’s required tomorrow. He says:
Bolton is the ground where I have suffered more than any other. I hope this time Iâ€™m a bit stronger and able to put my body into the tackle.
Also fair enough, Bolton are a big, strong team full of experienced players who know all the tricks in the book against young guys, which is why you need your more experienced players to stand up for them. They’ve had a relatively good time against us at their place in recent seasons and it’s not been a happy place for us to go. The game when we went 2-0 up only for them to bring it back to 2-2 and for us to see the title slip out of our grasp is one of the most painful games I’ve seen us play in recent times.
I’m not too worried though. We owe them. The boys know we owe them and this season when we’ve needed a result, when we’ve had a big game – and this is a big game – then we’ve performed. I expect us to win.
No team news as yet but beyond Gallas, Diaby and Lauren I think pretty much everyone is fit and available, although Robin van Persie is suspended, so it should be a strong team and a strong bench for the game.
Now, after a break last week (which is fully explained in today’s episode) the Arsecast returns. This week I talk to the man from East Lower and we discuss the consistency of the team (in football terms, not its viscosity), 4-4-2 vs 4-5-1, Thierry Henry and the game against Bolton.
There’s also the winners of the classicfootballshirts.co.uk competition, a bet of the week from bluesq.com, Arsene Wenger Hawkins and some of your audio questions and comments. The Arsecast has finally been added to the iTunes music store too so to automatically subscribe simply click the image below to subscribe and get today’s arsecast and all future arsecasts.
If you don’t want to subscribe with iTunes you can download directly from here.
And that is that. More tomorrow.