Thursday, December 1, 2022

“He’s behind you!” + Arsecast 252

Morning all,

I hate days like today. Absolutely nothing whatsoever to talk about after what must have been one of the quietest days anyone can ever remember yesterday. But hey-ho, that’s the way it goes. We’ll just struggle on.

Arsene Wenger’s press conference took place yesterday for some reason, no idea why, and there’s not much in the way of team news. Kieran Gibbs remains out, giving him a decision to make at left back after Santos’ unconvincing midweek showing, and it’s clear he’s thinking quite carefully about the return of Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere ahead of tomorrow’s game against QPR.

He said Sagna “could be back” and that he’d “consider” the situation with Wilshere. With the Capital One Cup game pencilled in for his comeback anyway, can he take the risk of using Jack in the Premier League at a time when the team really need some kind of a lift? If we’d gone into this game on the back of two decent results then I’d say it’d be unlikely, but desperate times call for desperate measures and having watched his team struggle to fashion a single chance of note in the last two games he must be sorely tempted.

I still doubt he’d start him but with a place on the bench almost assured, if things don’t go to plan with his starting XI, I doubt very much that the intensity of the game will have a bearing as and when he decides to use his substitutes. Anyway, we’ll have a full preview of that game tomorrow.

Meanwhile, for some inexplicable reason, a story has emerged about Arsenal signing a new £25m a year deal with Adidas as our kit manufacturers. Your guess is as good as mine about the timing of this particular story but it tallies with something we ran on Arseblog News this week. Essentially, the club’s new Head of Retail is a man called Simon Lilley, and to quote from the article itself:

Having garnered ten years experience working for Adidas, he’s more recently worked for UEFA, where he consolidated Adidas’ position as a global sponsor, and for LOCOG, for whom he was Head of Licensing and Retail – a position which again saw him strengthen Olympic ties with the “The Brand with 3 Stripes.”

Rumours linking us with Adidas are not new but this seems to be almost official confirmation now. In the comments on the Arseblog News piece there were those who liked the idea, those who didn’t. The modern world we live in means that people have their preferred kit manufacturers, you’ve got your Nike fanboys and your Adidas fanboys, an odd thing really but there you go. Personally, I really don’t care who makes the kit as long as it’s the company willing to pay us the most money.

Increasing our commercial income is one of the Very Important Things we have to concern ourselves with when supporting a football club. It’s no longer simply about what happens on the pitch, enjoying that – or not – and having some beers with your mates. Still, it’s a marked increase on what we’re currently getting from Nike and that can only be a good thing.

Other than that not much going on … although I do feel like I’m missing something … what is it? … Oh yeah! Per Mertescaker talks about the two substitute appearances will be good for youngster Serge Gnabry. I knew there was something I was overlooking, the main story of the day in fact. Head like a sieve, so I do.

Ok then, there was also the club’s AGM which was fractious, tetchy (as expected) and something of a pantomime based on everything we’ve been hearing. For an in-depth look at what went on Hayley Wright’s report on Arseblog News gives you the full colour of the meeting and plenty of detail. Perhaps I’m alone in thinking that in the cold light of day anger directed at trivialities means far more important issues weren’t addressed as well as they could have been, but there you go.

It provided plenty of juicy copy and headlines this morning but to what constructive end? As usual the most telling snippet came from Arsene Wenger, as Amy Lawrence reports. The manager took to the mic, more uncomfortable on it than some (!), and said:

We have to be united. I accept every different opinion but it looks to be like the modern world produces little groups of little opinion. The little communities need to live together for the common strength of our club, for the good of Arsenal.

And how can you argue with that? It doesn’t mean questions don’t need to be asked, clearly they do. It doesn’t mean there aren’t problems, clearly there are (albeit first world ones when it comes to Arsenal – plenty of other clubs would like to have our problems, let me tell you), but with various groups pulling one way and the other, and with the focus of some so far wide of the mark it might be a Gervinho shot, it doesn’t lend itself to harmony or immediate solutions.

I’d like to have seen Stan Kroenke, and the board, pushed more strongly on things that count which, for me, are those that are football related. The majority shareholder will fly back to the US thinking these annual meetings are a bit bonkers, but relatively unscathed by the whole thing. To my mind it would have been more beneficial if he’d been put under a bit more pressure to outline his stance and ambition (although it’s something that was vaguely covered in speeches and after the fact via the official website). But there you go, c’est la Arsenal vie. Or something.

Right then, onto this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss the football, the AGM and the possibility of Jack Wilshere this weekend is Goonerholic. There’s some Arshavin, vintage news, and the usual waffle, not to mention the winners of our GCR Books competition (remember: you can get 10% off any order at their website by using the code ‘arseblog‘ at check out).

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 (22mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.

[audio:http://podcast.arseblog.com/arsecast/arsecast_episode252.mp3]

So, there you go, plenty to get your Friday teeth into. Back tomorrow with a full preview of QPR when, hopefully, we’ll get back to winning ways.

Until then.

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