Sunday, December 10, 2023

Interlull round-up + Squillaci, Twitter and more

I don’t want to tempt fate in any way but it seems, at this early stage, as if we’ve managed to get through this Interlull without picking up any injuries.

Robin van Persie played 45 minutes for Holland last night and didn’t leave the ground in a hearse, Cesc did 45 for Spain, Chamakh played and scored for Morocco and most of the others were in action too. For my sins we decided that last night would be a good night to test a new live-blog tool that Tom has knocked up. This meant watching England v France. At least there was some Arsenal involvement but dammit that was hard work.

Samir Nasri played the full 90 – fuck you, Larry White – and played very well indeed. Sagna did more or less the whole game and I have suspicion he might have tweaked something in a challenge late in the game. I hope I’m wrong but he was replaced with about five minutes to go. Theo did 45 minutes of England’s atrocious first half while Kieran Gibbs got some playing time under his belt with 70 minutes. He didn’t play particularly well but it should be viewed as a decent training exercise and nothing more. His Arsenal colleague was impressed.

Andrei Arshavin on playing 90 minutes for Russia:

Most likely, Arsene wouldn’t like that I spent the whole 90 minutes on the pitch. Probably my chances to come out in the starting lineup in this derby have decreased because of it. But what can be done?

On the one hand you might say that Arshavin doing 90 minutes isn’t any harm because he rarely does it for Arsenal and could do with the fitness. On the other the fact that he could do with the fitness tells its own story and means he’s going to be all tired and gimpy for the weekend. I can’t see him not starting this one but then he didn’t exactly set the world on fire during this game last season and we still won.

We won’t get the full picture until much later today or tomorrow as the players filter back from their travels but so far the signs look promising.

One of the few players not involved in midweek action, Sebastian Squillaci, says his low-profile has allowed him to settle in quicker at the Arsenal. He says of English football:

I knew that it would be physical with some good sides, playing good football. The strikers are big and strong and it is a great contrast with Spain where the strikers are faster and not so strong. But it’s not going too badly. I’m stepping up to the challenge and it’s getting easier.

I’ve been impressed so far, I have to say. There have been one or two ‘moments’ but then every player has those. He’s added experience to the back four, well needed experience too as Koscielny has been thrown in right at the deep end. I’m sure the manager wanted to ease him into English football a lot more slowly but Vermaelen’s injury put paid to that. Squillaci has also been a good foil for Johan Djourou. The Swissinator is younger than Koscielny but has more experience of the English game. His recent run of games shows he’s getting back to a decent level after such a long time out.

I know Squillaci’s signing is hardly the most exciting one we might have made but so far it’s proven to be a very canny.

An interesting piece on The Offside Arsenal about Arsenal players on Twitter and how it shapes our opinions of them. The ubiquitous nature of social media, Twitter, Facebook etc, means it gives people access to players, celebrities etc that they would never have before. I know the club have always ensured players get media training and tried to make sure that whatever they do in public they project the best image of themselves, and the club, as possible.

I just wonder if the instant, almost unthinking nature of Twitter means is a worry. Look at the Liverpool fitness coach blasting England and Capello last night before he deleted the ‘offending’ Tweets. But once it’s out there it’s out there. Screenshots are taken and whatever you say lives on. So far there’s been nothing too controversial from any Arsenal player but, while not being inevitable, it’s surely a possibility. Does the media training now involve engagement on Facebook and Twitter? I might look into that and let you know.

Right, time to announce the winner of the t-shirts competition. The answer to the question ‘What has he got?’ was, of course, b. He’s got a Twitch. How he came about that twitch, we just don’t know, nor do we particularly care, for we are content in the knowledge that he has a twitch and that’s enough.

Anyway, the RNG did its thing and the winner of the Twitchshirt is Ryan Wood and the REDaction shirt is Barbara Smith. Congratulations to you, I’ll be in touch to get your details. Commiserations to the rest, more competitions on the way soon.

Right then, must have at it. More tomorrow with a pre-derby Arsecast.

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