Good morning and welcome to a Friday ahead of what’s going to be a fairly quiet weekend for us. We don’t play until Monday at 7.45 (on ESPN too – wouldn’t it be ironic after weeks of not getting penalties if we got a pelanty?).
Ahead of that game the manager has revealed that Robin van Persie won’t play, which is only to be expected. However, hopes of selecting Gervinho and sending him to the ACN knackered were dashed after the Ivory Coast demanded all their players report for duty by the official deadline (robbing Man City of the brothers Toure for their game against United).
Hang on though, there’s good news, according to the boss who says he’ll play a strong side:
We will hopefully have Chamakh available, [Ju-Young] Park available.
Halle-fucking-lujah! I bet Leeds are verily cacking their badly fitting pants right now. If there was ever a more fearsome pair of strikers I’ve yet to come across them. And uniquely it’s Arsenal fans that have the fear.
I kid, I kid. Sort of. I guess we have to hope that whatever the reasons for the purchase of Park he shows he’s got something about him against Leeds. Perhaps if we tell him he’s playing against the UAE he’ll grab a couple of goals. He loves playing those teams. Mostly because they’re a bit crap but there you go. As for Chamakh, well, as the manager goes on to talk about transfers (more on that anon) it looks as if we should be wishing for the ACN to reinvigorate him.
The boss says he’ll play a ‘normal’ team but he doesn’t really have much choice. All the injuries at the back mean he’s got little in the way of options for this game. We’ll have to stick with Coq in one of the full back positions, I guess, maybe on the left, with Koscielny on the right and either Miquel or The Squillster in the middle.
He could, of course, bring in a kid like Yennaris too, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Midfield gives him more chance to rotate with Benayoun and Rosicky in the mix while I’ll be as disappointed as a fox if we don’t see The Ox get a start. I don’t want to build up the hype about the kid – who is clearly our only hope at salvation – but let’s give him a run against Leeds. And despite being an FA Cup game this tournament represents our best chance of a trophy this season so we need to be mindful of that.
Anyway, we can come back to that game and now for transfers. The boss was asked about any potential new signings and he said:
[Insert quote here from any of the last transfer windows when we’ve wanted him to buy a player but he says he’s not going to buy anyone but doesn’t rule out the possibility and then people say ‘Ahh, that Arsene, keeping his cards close to his chest, he’s giving nothing away’ and then we realise that he never had any cards in the first place and there wasn’t anything to give away even if he’d wanted to].
As we wait for Henry to be completed (the paperwork needs to be done by noon today for him to be eligible for the game on Monday, tick-fucking-tock chaps) the most he’d give away is that a defensive loan signing is the most likely. Vermaelen will be back for Swansea, apparently, but Gibbs and Sagna are ‘weeks’ away, Santos is out till March (at the earliest) and poor old Carl Jenkinson hasn’t even got return date after being struck down with hyperglycemic spina bifida of the anus.
So I can see how a defensive loan signing, if we can find someone, is an option but what about the goals, Arsene? All those goals we should be scoring but we’re not. And the players who aren’t scoring the goals. I mean, they’re consistent, you have to give them that, but 50% of our front-three options (Park, Chamakh and Arshavin) look about as likely to score as Iain Dowie at a supermodels party.
This is making us overly-reliant on van Persie, Walcott we dealt with yesterday, Gervinho (who I think can improve and contribute more as the season goes on) will be away blessing the rains down in Africa, and then we have 34 year old Thierry Henry. And I think it was Goodplaya who pointed out the only reason people are in any way accepting of the short-term loan signing of a player from the MLS is because of who it is. He’s likely to be better than most 34 year olds seeing out their career in America but still …
However, I am refusing to get my knickers in a twist over this. My expectations of Arsene doing anything are zero. Seriously. If I had any money I’d put most of it on us not buying another forward during this transfer window. I don’t agree with it, I think with the money we have available and how crucially important this second half of the season is on so many levels we’re a bit bonkers not to bolster our team, but what can we do about it?
If we sign someone it’ll be a pleasant and welcome surprise. If we don’t then I won’t have spent a month with my blood pressure through the roof. Maybe that says a lot, either about Arsene’s transfer policy or the faith he has in the players he has, but there you go. There’s not too much point going crazy over something you just can’t influence.
Right then, more on our no transfers throughout the month, now it’s time for this week’s Arsecast. Joining me to discuss the last week and any potential January transfers is John Cross from the Mirror. Also in there Amaury Bischoff PI, Internet Joe and the usual waffle.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://podcast.arseblog.com/arsecast/arsecast_episode223.mp3]
Right you are then, have yourselves a good Friday. News throughout the day over on Arseblog News.