Good morning, it’s Friday, that means press conference which means there’s an actual game tomorrow which means that football is back which means that we’re all happy. Until the football begins at which point we’ll become terrified again and afterwards we’ll either be happy or furious but at least we can all feel SOMETHING again.
There was an injury update yesterday and there’s a mix of good news and bad. In terms of good, a positive update on Jack Wilshere, about whom Arsene Wenger said:
It is his first week back in full training and we’ll see how he responds to that, but the first signs are quite good. We’ll assess our options next week.
Obviously when it comes to Jack anything that doesn’t involve the words ‘setback’ or ‘delay’ is a positive, and hopefully he is on the mend and ready to play again soon. However, until such time as he does that, and gets a succession of uninterrupted games under his belt, then it’s hard to be anything other than cautiously optimistic. There’s talk of him playing an U21 game next week, so let’s see what happens.
It’s also nice that Rosicky’s latest problem hasn’t ended his Arsenal career the way it was feared at the time. We’ve missed players with the qualities that he and Wilshere bring to the side, so if they can make some kind of contribution to this season – albeit too little too late – I suppose that’s something.
Meanwhile, Santi Cazorla Tweeted a couple of weeks ago that he was due back at the start of April, however that doesn’t seem likely with this latest update:
Santi Cazorla is running again outside so it should be three to four weeks more.
That takes us to the end of April, and at that point we’ll have just two more games. It’s not his knee now, it’s an Achilles issue I believe, and they can be a real pain to try and solve. Fingers crossed it’s a little sooner for him. As for the rest, there’s a measure of doubt over Petr Cech for tomorrow:
Cech is going back to normal training. It’s too early to say if he will be available for the weekend. He might be a bit short to be competitive.
But if I had to put a fiver on it, I’d say he’ll play. Which is probably why he won’t play because pretty much everything I bet on loses. Apart from Conor McGregor. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still out, and we’ll wait to see if there are any Interlull casualties at the press conference this morning. Hopefully not.
Elsewhere, Mesut Ozil has spoken about the rumours linking him to Real Madrid, and said:
I am only thinking about Arsenal. There is no truth in the speculation linking me with a return to Spain.
Before doing that most footballer of things and leaving it all wide open:
In football you can never say never. Currently, however, I focus exclusively on the current Premier League season, and then to the European Championship. What happens in the next or the next season, we will see.
I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It’s standard fare, especially for a player who is currently in talks with the club about a contract extension. He was also brutally honest about our season, saying:
Looking at our season so far, we have to be honest and admit that we screwed up ourselves. But we still have a chance of winning the title. We have to hope Leicester and Tottenham slip up and then make the most of it.
As we go into these final eight games, that has to be the mindset. As improbable and unlikely as it is that Leicester will have a poor run and drop points, coupled with the fact that we’ll probably also need to win every game, I don’t think there’s any other way to approach it. Football and sport can be weird and unpredictable at times. The very fact Leicester are favourites for the league is evidence of that.
It’s a huge long shot that this season could provide yet another twist, and one that works in our favour, but what else is there but to try and win our games and see what happens?
Extra reading for you this morning from Tim Stillman who looks at George Graham and Arsene Wenger, and why people feel the need to compare them. It really doesn’t have to be one or the other, you can like two things which are sort of the same. Like a burger and a cheeseburger. Or a ham sandwich and a toasted ham sandwich. The same applies to football.
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and I’m joined by Goonerholic and NorthBankLower to chat about David Rocastle, the return of Premier League action and what it might take for something good to happen for Arsenal, as well as injury news, the Watford game and more. As well as that I get some lovely email, and there’s 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.
As I said there is a press conference this morning at which we’ll get any more team news, and whatever else crops up, ahead of the Watford game tomorrow. As ever you can find all the news and updates over on Arseblog News.
Back tomorrow with a preview of the game, and all the matchday stuff at which hopefully there’ll be a good atmosphere to kill off the need for the club’s latest rather odd plan.