Normally Friday is a busy day as we prepare for the weekend’s game. Arsene Wenger holds his press conference, we get the latest team news and so on, but due to the fact we’re supposed playing Wigan our game isn’t until Tuesday because of their participation in the FA Cup final.
It leaves us with a football free weekend, but I’m right behind Roberto Martinez’s team for the game against Manchester City. Underdog stuff, of course, the same way I wanted Man City to win when they were in the final against Sp*rs all those years ago. That might not have been underdoggy and much as Spurshatey, but you know what I mean.
It’d be fantastic if Wigan won the cup … and then we relegated Wigan. Ideally, tomorrow’s game would go to extra time, and possibly penalties (although I’d happily take a winner in Linighan time), and they’d arrive at our place absolutely knackered on Tuesday. Whatever happens I don’t think they’ll be any more or less motivated for the game. Premier League survival, like it or not, is more important for the football club as a whole than a trophy win, but obviously they’ll be trying to marry the two.
So, it leaves things pretty quiet again from an Arsenal point of view. The best we’ve got is a story linking us with Dortmund right back Lukasz Piszczek. He’d tick some of the boxes for sure but it’s difficult to get involved in speculation with the season still running. I do think right back, despite my love for Sagna, is an area which we can improve in as injuries and loss of form have taken their toll this season.
The question is: does Arsene Wenger have enough faith in Carl Jenkinson to make him the number 1 with a younger player like Bellerin understudying, or will he create a Monreal/Gibbs situation on that side of the pitch? While there’s certainly plenty of merit to a competitive environment it also has to be balanced with the need for a measure of stability in the back four. Chopping and changing isn’t always ideal, but if he’s got two players who get the system and can be slotted in and out without causing too much disruption then that’s surely the way to go.
That’s easier said than done, however, and keeping both players happy over the course of a season is one of the challenges the manager will face. As for Sagna, I think he’ll move on this summer. He’s been linked with PSG and Monaco, and while he hasn’t ruled out staying with us for the final year of his contract, I don’t know that I’d bet a lot of money on him being at the club next season.
Elsewhere, David Moyes is the new manager of Manchester United. As I said yesterday on Twitter, I think this is a good appointment for the competitiveness of the Premier League. I can see why he was given the job, you lose one miserable dour Scotsman, you look for something similar. He seems to have been fully endorsed by Alex Ferguson and he is a good manager who has done a good job at Everton.
But with Ferguson moving upstairs, casting a red-nosed shadow over everything he does, and the pressure and expectation far and above anything he’s ever experienced at Everton, it’s hard not to think there’ll be some instability at United next season. Even if he brings in Baines and Fellaini, I think he’s going to find his natural conservatism hard to shake and the bigger point is just how important Ferguson was to what United achieved. He was a once in a lifetime manager; for all his qualities, Moyes isn’t anywhere close to that and that can only be good for the other teams who hope to compete for the title.
Finally, BT won some of the TV rights to Premier League football and announced their plans yesterday. Rio Ferdinand as an ‘an interviewer, programme maker and football expert’, Michael Owen as a co-commentator and a return for the risible Tim Lovejoy. I know there are many media directories, listing ‘talent’ available, but this is ridiculous. Whatever about Ferdinand, who clearly wants to be the next Bruce Forsyth, Owen has all the personality of a shoe … with its tongue cut out, and Lovejoy … well, this says more than anyone ever could.
All they’ve done is ensure more success for the sites who stream because nobody in their right mind would want to pay actual money to be ‘entertained’ by that pack of cretins.
Right then, onto this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss the Puma kit deal, the race for the Champions League and Arsene Wenger’s potential spending is John Cross. We’ve also got some newsflashes, a sad Arshavin and all the usual waffle.
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Right, that’s that, till tomorrow.