Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Absolutely Flabregas + Eduardo's interview

Morning all, it’s another wonderful Thursday and as much as we’ve enjoyed it it’s time to put Milan behind us and look forward to this weekend. And I mean literally look forward, as in ahead, not anticipate, as a trip to Wigan, with all due respect, does not have the same glamour and excitement of a trip to the San Siro.

And therein lies a danger, I think. The excellent performances against Milan have come either side of some disappointing league ones and it’s time to put that right. With United playing in the FA Cup this weekend we have the chance to put points on the board and go 4 clear at the top of the league. They’ll have a game in hand, of course, but I’d always rather have points than games in hand.

Still, the feelgood factor of Tuesday’s win should be a real boost for the boys. The manager will have their minds fully focussed on the next game and they can take that confidence and belief to the JJB. Mathieu Flamini reckons there’s ‘no limit’ to what this Arsenal side can achieve and he’s given his strongest hint yet that his future will be at the Grove, saying:

We are a new generation, we have to create a new history. I want to be part of this history, so I hope I will be here for next season. At the moment my advisers are talking with the club, so I really hope that everything will be okay. I cannot put a time on it, but I really want to stay here.

Himself and Cesc are forging quite the partnership. They may not have the stature or physicality of Vieira and Petit but they’re coming to close to matching them in terms of of effectiveness. Up against quality like Gattuso, Pirlo and Ambrosini the other night they never looked out of their depth and it was our midfield that bossed the game. They work well together and I think it’s vital we keep them as a partnership – to let slip what has been built this season would be a real mistake.

Cesc has decscribed the goal against Milan as the best moment of his career. It’s certainly a defining one. When Juventus came to Highbury two seasons ago it meant the return of the iconic, legendary Vieira. The experienced pro against the young pretender, the young man whose emergence at Arsenal made Arsene Wenger think it was possible to let Vieira go. That night he came of age in many eyes, totally outplaying the former captain and scoring the opening goal before creating Henry’s. Tuesday against Milan was similar. He’s grown in stature, his talent and potential is undeniable and here he was on one of the biggest stages in Europe controlling the game from midfield, then sauntering forward and winning it. He’s taken a big step forward again this season and that really is the sign of a great player.

Speaking about his fellow Spaniard Manuel Almunia says:

He can go on to win titles and become a great player. I don’t think it matters to Cesc which stadium he plays in or against which team he plays. He just enjoys his football so much. Age doesn’t matter when a player has the talent Cesc has. He plays like a veteran.

When you consider he has already made over 180 appearance for the club the veteran tag doesn’t seem too far wrong at all. I spoke yesterday about the energy he and Flamini have and the stats showed they ran 7.5 and 8.1 miles respectively during the Milan game. For those of you in metricland that’s 12 and 13 kilometres. That is incredible stamina. What is obvious though is that we have a partnership in central midfield that works well together, they compliment each other well (and I don’t mean ‘That’s a very nice haircut, Mathieu’, ‘Thanks Cesc, I like your pants’), and they’re young enough that they could play together in this team for years. It’s exciting to think about it.

In other news Liam Brady says he’s ‘very likely’ to take up a role in the new Ireland set-up under Giovanni Trapattoni. Obviously some compromise has been found between Arsenal and the FAI which would enable him to do this.

Eduardo gave his first interview since his injury to Croatian TV and thanks to Arseblogger Kesky we have, exclusively, the main points in bullet form and a transcript. Interesting that according to the TV presenter they weren’t allowed ask about Martin Taylor but that the only comment Eduardo made was that Taylor had not visited him in hospital to apologise.

Right, that’s about it for this morning. I have a really mad day ahead so it’ll be mad stuff and hopefully time to throw some kind of Arsecast together for tomorrow.

Till then.

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