Early Mugsmasher team news + Arsecast 334

Arsecast - the Arsenal podcast

Morning folks, welcome to the last Friday before Christmas so tonight is going to be one of those nights where people will probably have a small sherry or two as they celebrate the true meaning of the season: love, understanding, togetherness and peace.Sorry, I mean getting rat-arsed drunk, falling over something, cracking your head open, dislocating your elbow and increasing the workload for the already hard-pressed emergency room doctors who love nothing more than having to treat people who have wet themselves and won’t shut up with their crying and wailing.

#hohoho #tistheseason #vomitonmyshoes

We’ll hear from the manager later this morning about the state of his squad ahead of Sunday’s trip to Anfield and, well, the early news is not exactly promising. It appears there has not been a Christmas miracle in the treatment room. The main issue is over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has a groin problem in his groin because his groin is banjaxed. Arsene Wenger said yesterday:

We hope that Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit. We’ll see that on Saturday. He’s not in training at the moment.

Eeep. Given that we’re already without Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky, our central midfield options are pretty limited, so if the England man doesn’t make it Arsene is going to have to polish his Coq and send him into battle on Sunday. I don’t doubt he’d be up for it, but does he provide the same penetration and thrust as the Ox? I’m not convinced. Nevertheless, in his brief outing against Newcastle, young Francis got in the way of a couple of goalbound efforts so let’s hope, if he does play, he can Coq-block Liverpool just as successfully.

There’s some vague good news regarding Nacho Monreal and Theo Walcott though, with the manager saying:

There’s a slight chance of Monreal being available and a very slight chance for Walcott.

On the scale of Arsenal chances when it comes to injury, avoiding ‘slim’, ‘fuck all’, and ‘absolutely no’ can only be viewed as a positive. It’d obviously be more help if Nacho was fit to add some defensive depth if possible. We’ve got plenty of offensive cover so the need for Theo, much as his skill-set is valuable, isn’t quite so pressing. Having at least one experienced option in defence is no bad thing.

That said, when you look at us and Liverpool and where both teams are weakest, it’s at the back. The ‘smashers have been forced into playing a mild-mannered janitor in goal because their main chap has had a shocking case of the heeby-jeebies, while we’ve lurched from relatively ok to a brittle, shrieking mess capable of conceding any goal at any time to anyone. I’m not expecting a 0-0 on Sunday, that’s for sure.

Beyond that though, there’s not much happening so before we get on with the Arsecast I can point you in the direction of some extra reading this morning. First up @RoamingLibero takes a look at the season of Per Mertesacker and his drop in form at times, while Tim Stillman has prepared a half-term report for the team overall with part 1 (keepers and defence) available here. Part 2 will be with you later on today.

Right, there’s no point dragging the arse out of it, so we might as well drag the Arsecast into it. On this week’s show I’m joined by scribe and possible sot Iain Macintosh who talks about Arsenal, his new book and a brand new website he’s set up. To follow the shenanigans with the website, follow @thesetpieces on Twitter and you can pick up the book here. Also in the house is the Mugsmasher ahead of the game against the Mugsmasher on Sunday, and all kinds of other festive and nonsensical waffle.

Remember, for your last minute Christmas shopping, check out Savile Rogue and their range of Arsenal stuff (and more), and using the code ARSEBLOG14 at checkout will give you 10% off.

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 – 36mb 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.

You can leave comments on the SoundCloud page and reviews/comments on iTunes and Stitcher are very welcome too.

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Righto, have yourselves a fun Friday. We’ll have all the press conference news throughout the day on Arseblog News, more from me tomorrow, with stuff to come later on here from the Arsenal Gent and Tim Stillman.

Have a good one.

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