Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Questions galore for Arsene Wenger + Arsecast 323

Morning all.

Yesterday my phone started breaking right before my eyes. Firstly, the speaker stopped working so I can’t hear any sounds unless I’ve got headphones in. Then, without warning, the screen started coming off from the rest of it. This morning, I was fully expecting to find it disintegrated on the floor beside me, but no, it was still intact – but the speaker was still knackered so I didn’t hear the alarm.

This meant a very involved dream I was having about how Archer (my dog) and other dogs owned by actor Timothy V Murphy (for a short time my boss in a Dublin nightclub and now he’s in stuff like Sons of Anarchy) were kidnapped by Asian pirates and I had to stop them with a gun someone gave me hidden in a frozen fish and it only had two bullets in it.

I got onto their boat, where a load of people were dining, and quietly told one of them, “If you want to get off this boat alive, keep very calm”. At which point he got up shrieking and blew my cover. It probably wasn’t the most subtle way of going about things. So, thanks Google and LG for the Nexus Crapsus 5. Less than a year old too. If only the new iPhone did cost as much as a bar of gold.

Anyway, here we are and anxiously awaiting the manager’s press conference this morning. They’re always fun after a midweek defeat so we should get loads and loads of pre-Villa hilarity about the team, defensive depth, players not doing what we want or need them to do, or why.

Or, to put it another way, the bloke from Sky will ask him some completely random question about something else entirely because that’s what’s on the Sky agenda for this weekend.

“Morning Arsene, if terrorists kidnapped Tomas Rosicky and would only let him go if you did a ground-share with Sp*rs, who are you planning on buying in the January transfer window?”

Fun, fun, fun. I do hope we get some good questions because there are good questions to be asked this week. I suspect the manager will want to play down the Ozil situation as much as possible, because he hates making things into things, even if the thing is already thing, and let’s be honest, we’ve got a thing going on with Mesut. Yet, much as he was keen to dismiss the idea that there was an inherent weakness with us when we kick off at 12.45, he’s not going to admit much beyond the fact that Ozil hasn’t played as well as he can.

But it would be interesting to hear if he’d expand how he’s being deployed and how the team is set-up this season. As Tim Stillman points out in his column this week, he’s not doing it because he’s having a good laugh or taking the mick, there must be a good reason for it. It’s definitely not something the players feel particularly comfortable with yet, but I doubt Wenger’s reasoning is arbitrary or whimsical or because he doesn’t know anything about football.

“Morning Arsene, in the light of the vote in Scotland, taking into account that Wojciech’s Szczesny’s distribution has been poor this season, what are your plans when the transfer window opens again?”

Apparently today is the day that we find out if Mathieu Debuchy will require surgery on his ankle. On his Facebook page he said he had a ‘broken ligament’, which may mean torn or may mean snapped or twisted or who knows. That, as we know, is a massive blow due to our lack of defensive cover, and the way we’ve been picking up injuries this season makes those worries even more intense. It seems like every game something happens. If it keeps up we’ll have to resort to playing in those gigantic inflatable bubbles.

I’m doing my very best to avoid sinking in the mire over this particular situation. With the transfer window closed a few weeks now, and all that time to try and make sense of it, my feeling is that we were certainly trying to bring somebody in but failed. Having had an entire summer knowing Vermaelen was going, we must have had targets, but couldn’t do the deal to bring one in. Whether that failure was scouting, managerial, administrative or a combination of all of those things is irrelevant now, but it’s one which, if things go even just a bit badly, could prove one of the biggest in recent seasons.

“Morning Arsene, people have said that bird suddenly appear, every time you are, so with Joel Campbell waiting in the wings for his chance, who are you buying in January and for how much and when are you buying them transfer transfer transfer badger badger badger?”

Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by Dan Levy of France 24 to discuss all the midweek fun in the Champions League, Mesut Ozil’s struggles, how the team is trying to come to terms with the new system and loads more. I’ll give you the winners of the Paul Vaessen book competition, a chance to win a copy of the new Arseblog book Together, we’ll hear from the Angriest Man on Twitter and there’s all the usual waffle besides.

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 – 31mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Right, we’ll have all the press conference news and updates over on Arseblog News. More from me, including a full preview of the Aston Villa game, tomorrow.

Until then.

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