Hello and welcome to Friday after what has been a seriously, seriously quiet week.
You would think we were in the depths of summer or the very belly of an Interlull, such has been the lack of news and goings-on. Of course much of that is all the fault of the team and Arsene Wenger for winning last weekend. Nothing destroys modern football conversation and coverage than not having something to complain vociferously and unceasingly about. Shame on them.
But now we should have stuff. There’s the FA Cup tomorrow. There’s Champions League in midweek. And both against teams we should enjoy beating. I know there’s very little in terms of genuine rivalry with Blackburn, but we’ve had some scraps down the years, and any club that can look back on a cast that includes Dalglish, Shearer, Sutton, Savage, Hughes, Allardyce and, of course, David Dunn (the man with the biggest head in football) deserves to be held in some manner of contempt. Even if they’re no longer an issue on a season by season basis.
These days their players are paid in metric tons of chicken wings which they have to sell to local takeaways simply to survive. Not that I have any sympathy, a man’s gotta eat. You sign a contract with Blackburn, you know what it entails.
And then there’s Bayern in midweek. People gush over them, talk about what a brilliant, well-run, self-funded, cheap season ticketed club they are, and frankly that gives me a right pain in my hole. They might well have cheap tickets but what kind of brilliantly run club lets a horrendous, spineless, old man looking bottler like Arjen Robben take a crucial penalty in the most important final in club football?
If they were so great they wouldn’t allow the blue Russians to win the Champions League. For that reason alone they have rocketed to the upper echelons of my ‘Most hated clubs’ list and they will stay there forever because they made John Terry happy and anyone, or anything, who does that is worthy of my disdain and scorn. They made nasty people’s dreams come true. I wish them nothing but the very worst until the end of time.
You see, while I get all the focus on Arsenal – this being an Arsenal blog, naturally – I think we’ve lost sight a bit of the fact that all other clubs, and footballers at other clubs, are there to be hated. I can find a reason to hate any club you can think of. Even the most inoffensive ones are guilty of something. The game needs an edge, Blackburn and Bayern are hardly traditional rivals, but I’ve got my reasons to hope we send them off with their deformed tails between their legs.
There’s some good news in terms of injury. Thomas Vermaelen should be fit for the weekend, and assuming he comes through that game without any problems, that should be the left back sorted for Europe. With Nacho Man Randy Savage cup-tied, and Andre Santos enjoying his local churrascaria back in Brazil, Vermaelen is the obvious candidate to play there.
It still depends on Laurent Koscielny, whose calf injury will require a test before Blackburn. Jack Wilshere too will have a test on his thigh, and I have a feeling both will more than likely be rested (bench at best), for the FA Cup game. Hopefully that’ll mean Koscielny and Mertesacker in the middle against the less-than-brilliant Germans, and Vermaelen doing the do on the left hand side. We do have to come through Blackburn unscathed first though.
I suspect we’ll see some changes for tomorrow’s game, although it’s not as if we can rotate the entire first team. The squad lacks the depth to do that, so perhaps there’ll be a few changes – players like Gervinho, Diaby, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain starting, and the bigger guns kept on the sidelines where hopefully they won’t be needed. The manager will be looking for ‘fringe’ players to step-up, to show they’re capable of contributing in a meaningful way, and hopefully they can add to the little bit of momentum we’ve got going.
Anyway, not much else going on this morning. After a quiet week comes a pretty quiet Arsecast in which I’m joined by Goodplaya to shoot the Arsenal related breeze. There’s not a lot more to it than that! It’s a short one this week.
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 18mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://podcast.arseblog.com/arsecast/arsecast_episode267.mp3]
Ok then, that’s that. There’ll be more throughout the day on Arseblog News, so have a look or follow @arseblognews on Twitter for instant updates.