Rotating the rotated + Arsecast 363

Arsecast - the Arsenal podcast

Morning all, welcome to another Friday. I did my back in playing football the other night and I’m walking around like something out of the Walking Shuffling Dead, that show about zombies who have hurt their backs playing football. It’s pretty niche, but I think you’d like it.

Anyway, after the North London derby win attention should now focus on tomorrow’s Premier League game against Leicester. Except such is our form this season that it feels like we should enjoy Wednesday for a bit longer. Arsene Wenger praising Mathieu Flamini after his two-goal salvo, as you’d expect:

You do not expect Mathieu Flamini to score two goals. He was certainly frustrated for a long time and he went for it. I saw in training he was focused and had come back to a good level and I also thought I wanted to strengthen a bit the midfield with Arteta who had not played in a long time.

I wanted a second player to strengthen a bit defensively and that meant Flamini and Arteta together gave some defensive guarantees.

Interesting that he notes he’d ‘come back’ to a good level, perhaps he’d been carrying an injury? Anyway, there’s no doubt whatsoever that given his chance he took it with both hands. That was true of others too. In general the guys who played at Dinamo Zagreb and didn’t really perform played better on Wednesday at White Hart Lane. I know in that European match there were extenuating circumstances as we had to play over half the game with 10 men, but it shows that with a bit more playing time the chaps will be sharper and closer to the level we need them to be at.

David Ospina’s save from Cristian Eriksen really was fantastic; Gibbs was much better and heading off the line is a significant improvement on the mournful half-jump from the week before; Chambers and Mertesacker functioned as a centre-half partnership; goals aside the midfield duo themselves worked out pretty well, their experience showing when both of them picked up first yellow cards in a week in which we’d seen red too often; and the only area that remained a bit of a struggle was up front.

Joel Campbell tried hard but ended up looking a bit lost overall. Oxlade-Chamberlain had some good moments, for example the shot that led to the opener and a fantastic piece of skill in their final third – and some bad, which included the pass after that fantastic bit of skill which went straight out for a throw. And while Olivier Giroud didn’t get much in the way of service, there was still a heavy-heartedness to his performance that was a bit of a worry. He seemed to give up challenging for headers at some point in the second half.

The performance of Mathieu Debuchy was a bit concerning too. It’s one thing to see a raw kid pulled from pillar to post, but when it’s someone with the experience of the Frenchman that does cause concern. It’s something I cover on today’s Arsecast, so tune into that for more, but he’s not doing anything that suggests he’s going to win his place back other than through injury to Hector.

Still, it’s good to see improvement because this is a time, with Champions League and midweek games, when we have to rotate the squad and keep certain players fresh. It was almost total rotation this week, 10 changes from the team that played at Stamford Bridge, and you have to imagine there’ll be a plethora of changes for tomorrow, so the challenge is to achieve momentum of results with practically different teams. Not easy but that’s the way he’s decided it’s going to go, so he has to make it work.

In other news there are reports of new contracts being offered to Mesut Ozil and Nacho Monreal. Understandable really, one is a player about to reach is peak years and tying him down to a longer deal makes complete sense, while the other is somebody whose quality and consistency ought to be rewarded. Back in August the manager said there were no plans to speak to Monreal about a new deal, funny how things change, eh?

And before we get on with some aural pleasure for you, you really ought to check out Tim Stillman’s column this week about running the gauntlet at White Hart Lane. Top stuff.

Right then, time now for this week’s Arsecast and former Gunners Adrian Clarke joins me discuss the week that was, a win in the North London derby, the form of certain players, rotation, Gabriel, video evidence and more. There’s some Amaury Bischoff PI, why Jose Mourinho talks bollocks and all the usual waffle in there too.

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 the Arsecast directly, use the link below the player, and if you are a regular listener via iTunes, if you would be so kind as to leave a review/rating that would be greatly appreciated.

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So that’s just about that, all the team news ahead of tomorrow’s game and all the other press conference news on Arseblog News throughout the day. And remember, you can still get tickets for the live Arsecast Extra recording on Monday Oct 5th right here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to shuffle off and get some breakfast.


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