Turtlenecks, goalkeepers and Arsecast 340

Arsecast - the Arsenal podcast

Good morning to you, it’s a pretty quiet Friday morning. Little of any note happened yesterday. The most exciting thing was Olivier Giroud giving an interview in a turtleneck.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a good turtleneck, especially in the winter. As I’ve grown older my neck has grown much less capable of dealing with the cold. I can’t go anywhere without my trusty multi-coloured snood and possibly a scarf as back-up, so I’m down with the turtleneck thing too. Especially when involved in covert missions.

Now, I didn’t invent the turtleneck, and I certainly could never say I was the first to recognise its potential as a tactical garment. The tactical turtleneck … the tactleneck, but still. It’s a good look for the most part but I’m not sure light grey is the colour you should be wearing. Not that I’m Dirk Fashionator or anything, it’s a bit ‘school shirt’ or something. Nevertheless, Giroud was voted best turtleneck wearer in the Premier League recently, so maybe I’m just being super-picky about this.

Later this morning the manager will meet the press, probably wearing a tracksuit and not a turtleneck (although I think one would suit him to be perfectly honest), and we should get some team news ahead of Sunday’s 5th round FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough. Usually on a Thursday afternoon/evening there’s an update on the official site but yesterday was suspiciously quiet.

I say suspiciously because a) I’m always suspicious of both stuff and things, but b) we’re waiting to hear how Alexis is after the knee-juddering challenge he sustained against Leicester on Tuesday night. Could it be that after hearing the bad bad news the arsenal.com chaps were simply unable to post an update through the veil of tears, holding each other for solace and comfort? That’s certainly one of the scenarios that went through my mind.

It might also be something more mundane than that. Arsene Wenger might have had other commitments and with the game on Sunday there was no time to do an interview before today’s presser, therefore no news is good news. Until we get whatever news we get today. It’s such a multi-faceted world we live in.

Hopefully he’ll be questioned about possible changes for the weekend, although I wonder if the paucity of performance on Tuesday night might just leave him a bit more cautious than he had planned to be. It’s tough to know how a team like Boro, with nothing to lose and in such good form, might approach the game. Will they sit off and hit us on the break or will they throw caution to the wind and just have a go knowing that we’re a bit susceptible to, you know, attacking and that?

One change we know will be made is in the goalkeeping position with Wojciech Szczesny coming in for David Ospina. In his column yesterday Tim Stillman looks at the battle between the two main men in a bit of depth. My feeling is still that Szczesny is the better goalkeeper of the two and certainly the one with more potential to go up a level in his game if he really wants it. That’s the big question though – does he really want it?

Dedication and commitment to being the very best player you can be is the only way that will happen. Even if we dismiss smoking as ‘not that bad really’ – which it isn’t – it’s still not going to have any positive impact on your health or performances. Maybe players like Dennis Bergkamp are an anomaly – the ones who lived their lives in the best way they could so they could then realise their full potential as footballers.

If you ask is Szczesny doing that, then you’d have to say no. There’s still time for him to turn it around, obviously, and the insistence that he’s some kind of  Taibi-esque clown is a long way from the truth. The bottom line for me is that the goalkeeping situation at the club right now is unconvincing, to say the least. It’s down to one of these men to make the position their own in a serious way, because if they can’t the transfer market is the best way to solve this particular problem*.

Right, time for the Arsecast, and on this week’s show I get a Boro perspective ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with beIN Sport’s Kay Murray who gives me the lowdown on the Championship leaders and what we might expect. I also chat to Julian H from Gingers4Limpar about the new TV deal, what impact it might have one fans, and the goalkeeping situation – as well as all the usual waffle.

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Ok, we’ll have all the team news (weeping or otherwise) from the manager’s press conference this morning. News throuhgout the day on Arseblog News, more from me tomorrow.

*If Szczesny wore a goalkeeping tactleneck, a gactleneck if you will, that might just give him the edge.