Friday, May 24, 2024

Thoughts on a good weekend

So, yesterday completed what was an ideal weekend for us. To add to Chelsea’s defeat and our win over Liverpool, Newcastle dropped points at Sunderland while Alan Pardew demonstrated again that he is one of the most ignorant, classless, blustering buffoons ever to manage a football team and has a face that even a mother would love to punch repeatedly. With Hellboy’s arm. And to top it all off, Sp*rs outplayed United and still ended up going down 3-1.

As well as that, Chelsea sacked Andre Vilas Boas and while I can’t pretend to know exactly what has gone on when you look at the way they turn over managers you really have to ask if anyone at there has the first idea of how to run a football club. They’ve spent more on manager’s compensation and what have you, than we have on players in our entire history, or something.

If you’re going to spend £15m to bring a guy in and another £10m paying off the bloke you sacked who won you the double the season before, at least give him time to sort the team out and get rid of the players who have spent all season undermining him, not least through their performances. I know we all have our issues with how we do things, and the way our board operates, but the short-termism at Chelsea is just mad and serves a reminder of how one man having all the power can work against you.

As I said, we’ve got our own issues and we’re not perfect, but at least Kroenke accepts the fact that he knows fuck all about the game and thus delegates responsibility to those who should. They’ve now appointed a bloke who wasn’t good enough for West Brom to see them through till the end of the season. Still, if Fwank and Cashley Co are happy that’s the main thing.

Anyway, enough about them and more about us. With those three points we nicked nicely under our belts we’ve got to turn our attention away from the league and back towards Europe. Clearly the manager has got a lot to think about when it comes to tomorrow night’s team against AC Milan.

We’ve done very well to get ourselves into the position we’re in in the league and I do think that has to be our priority. Yes, there’s part of me that says ‘You never know’ when it comes to tomorrow night. An early goal, maybe another, and then it all becomes quite interesting. But there’s a more realistic part of me that says the chances of turning over a 4 goal deficit to a team like Milan are slim and with a busy league schedule to come maybe it’s a chance to rest some tired legs.

Of course the other part of that is that we don’t exactly have a massive squad to choose from, players who might be feeling a little delicate may have no choice but to get out there. Either way, and in typical Arsene style, he’s going to give a go:

From the first leg it looks impossible but we have to have a real go, play with belief and think we can do it. You never know. Maybe I will change the structure of the team to go for it and see if we can put them under pressure and score some goals.

We have nothing to lose.

True enough, except players to injury. The recovery time between Saturday and Tuesday is pretty short and Arsene said after the Liverpool game that we are ‘decimated’ with injury. Gibbs is hurt, Arteta still feeling the concussion after Henderson’s sly shoulder, Benayoun has a hamstring problem, and there’ll be the usual aches and strains to contend with. We should get a better idea of the squad and who’s available later on when there’s the pre-game press conference, so we can look ahead in more detail to the game in tomorrow’s blog.

Meanwhile, Wojciech Szczesny says that his performance on Saturday was payback for the manager who had kept faith with him during a difficult period in recent times:

He made me the No 1 goalkeeper at Arsenal at 20 years of age. That gives you a lot of confidence and I am just trying to repay that faith with every single performance.

I have had my ups and down, but the manager keeps believing in me and I hope that performances like this just prove him right.

It is easy to forget that this is a young man, especially in the world of the goalkeeper, who is playing his first full season as number one. I reckon he’d be the first to say he’s still got plenty to work on, his distribution of the ball in particular, but he’s a quick study and a great character. He’s not going to let mistakes get inside his head, something we’ve seen with other keepers in the not too distant past. And the incident with Koscielny on Saturday shows he brings something else to the team as well, looking to stay positive all the time, and that’s never a bad thing.

If he does make the odd mistake here or there, if there are times he might have done better with a shot, I think it’s very much a case of some short term pain for long term gain. He’s got the potential to be the first choice keeper at Arsenal for a long, long time. When you consider keepers don’t really peak until their late 20s, early 30s – as well as having the ability to prolong their careers far beyond that of outfield players – then it’s all ahead of him if he wants it.

The boss talks Wilshere. He’s doing ok, the latest scans are positive, but he’s not near a comeback just yet.

Beyond that not much going on. There’ll be plenty happening during the day, so keep up with that over on Arseblog News. A fuller preview of the Milan game here tomorrow.

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