Well, this is a bit odd. For the first time in 15 years my morning routine has changed. When we got the dog my first task of the morning would be to get up, let him out and clean up the mess he’d made overnight. Given his age he’d kind of come full circle but it’s very weird to see the space where his bed used to be.
Thanks so much to everyone for your comments, emails, tweets etc. They’re all very much appreciated, by me and Mrs Blogs, and the fact that Opus was a big part of Arseblog too will ensure his memory will live on. As one person tweeted: RIC (Rest in Cheese). I think that’d be ace. And before I get too emotional here I’d better move on to football.
The Arsenal AGM takes place today. Our owner, The Dude, will be there, having put down his Caucasians and made his way from the US. Obviously there’ll be a lot to talk about. I suspect we’ll hear the words ‘self-sustainable’ more than once and hopefully we’ll get some more insight into vision of Kroenke’s vision for his ownership of the club. To be fair, I think we know already what’s what. The club will operate as a well-run, well-operated business, managing its debts and generating its own income.
The expectation of Kroenke being some kind of sugar daddy owner is just totally misplaced but what I think is important is that to compete with the likes of City, we’ve got to use the resources we have available to us fully. There’s little point in Arsenal sitting on cash reserves of £60m which would be better spent on improving the squad. As I’ve said a number of times I hope the mismanagement of the summer is a lesson well learned and that we don’t see any kind of repeat.
And, as much as it’s down the manager to make use of the resources available, ultimately it’s up to the owner to make sure the manager feels the pressure to use them. With more time there’s little doubt that £60m could have been turned into two or three decent purchases which would only make the squad stronger and I hope that’s where the focus will be.
The timing of the meeting is something too. Had it happened just over a month ago I suspect the mood would be completely different. The Old Trafford game was fresh in the memory when we were beaten at Ewood Park and I think it would be fair to say that was something approaching a nadir in Arsene Wenger’s reign. Since then seven wins out of eight games have, rightly, lifted spirits which should make life a bit easier on the administrative side of the table.
I imagine, like every year, there will be input from the audience and I’m sure there are some whose spirits aren’t lifted sufficiently not to ask difficult questions. The responses to those, and the information that comes from the meeting in general, will be interesting. There’ll be coverage of the AGM on tomorrow’s Arsecast and hopefully we’ll have a report up on Arseblog News later this afternoon.
In other news, Thomas Vermaelen will be fit to face Chelsea at the weekend, which is good news. The problem was just cramp and even though he’s been out since August the Belgian says professional players can’t use that as an excuse for poor performances, Speaking after the game, he said:
Personally I don’t believe in that. If I have an injury for a long time I don’t believe in coming back and getting rhythm. I think it’s just in your head, it’s just a mental thing. If you’re a footballer player, if you’re a pro, you have be there straight away, and that’s why I wanted to play today.
I know it’s early days, and there’s been no indication of this from the manager, but I think he’ll play Vermaelen in the centre with Mertesacker and move Koscielny out to right back for this one. When you’re facing a team as good as Chelsea, you need your best players out there and Vermaelen is one of our best players. More on this tomorrow but I think Koscielny, for all his effectiveness in the middle, will provide us with more solidity and pace at right back than Djourou. And that’s not to knock the Swisser, I thought he had a decent game against Stoke but Juan Mata is much different threat than anything Pubis’ orcs had to offer.
And while we’re on the subject of a player who has spent a lot of time out injured in recent seasons, Colin Lewin says the perception of our injury problem being worse than every other club in history, ever, is not correct:
There is a lot of official UEFA evidence that has been going for many years, to which we participate. This is scientific, published data and when you see this data our injury rate is approximately in the middle of the table.
Yeah, I’ve already made the mid-table joke in the linked piece but the club have made a big investment in treatment/rehab/recuperation/bionic facilities at the training ground, so hopefully we’ll reap the benefits of that in the future. I’m loath to speak about specifics, mostly because I don’t know what happens behind the scenes, any more than you do, but while there’s very definitely a bit of no smoke without fire going on, I think our willingness to see the injury problems as worse than anyone else are because we’re so focused on ourselves.
Spot the difference: Fabianski quotes on Arsenal.com – Fabianski quotes in The Mirror. Obviously with Euro 2012 coming up, in his home country, he wants to play, but even if he went somewhere else, as long as Szczesny played regularly for Arsenal then I don’t think he’d get ahead of him. And I can’t see the manager letting him go anyway. Tough gig, but then that’s football. There are worse things in life than being on the bench.
Right, that’s about that. I’m off to eat my breakfast where 10% of it won’t be fed to a brown eyed hound. Till tomorrow.