Good morning everyone. I feel like calling some bastardhead today for no particular reason, rest assured it’s not you, for you do not have the head of a bastard. I will save it for someone who really deserves it.
We’re heading into whatever the word for the one before penultimate is in terms of Premier League weekend. Pre-penultimate, propaneultimate, onlytreeleftimate, I dunno. But this weekend we play Norwich, next weekend we play Man City, then it’s Aston Villa and BAM – season done and dusted. I know it has been difficult, torturous and downright exasperating at times, but where the hell did all that time go?
It only seems like yesterday when we didn’t buy an outfield player last summer, and now here we are on the verge of another summer in which that kind of inertia will result in flaming pitchforks and placards saying ‘Careful now’ and ‘Down with that sort of thing.’ It really does feel like it’s whizzed by though.
Anyway, a quick look around at what’s happening this morning before the manager’s press conference later on. Jack Wilshere has been talking about suggestions he change his playing style in order to avoid injuries. We know he likes to nick the ball away from opponents at the last second to give him that space and time to exploit, but more than once it’s resulted in him getting clattered. He says that’s his game though, and he can’t change:
When I’m on the ball, I have to get close, which is going to cause him to attempt to tackle me or mistime it as we have seen in the past. That is part of my game. I don’t think I can change.
We don’t know what happened in that training ground incident that gave him the injury that meant he missed most of this season, but people will point to the Paddy McNair ‘tackle’ against Man United last season that also left him sidelined. His solution to that is interesting:
Maybe I should pass it a little bit more or a little bit quicker, but as soon as I get back on the ball and there is an opportunity for me to run at someone, that is what I want to do.
His idea is to do what he’s always done, but do it better, which is interesting. That said, I’ve always thought it was very strange that people were quick to blame Wilshere for that injury, as if him overrunning the ball slightly was justification for what was a really bad challenge. Even from some Arsenal fans the reaction was more about pointing the finger at Wilshere’s mistake than condemning what was a horrible piece of play from McNair.
We’re also heading towards transfer mayhem, and I think this summer is going to be more mayhemmy than ever before. There’s so much money sploshing around, there are so many teams who need to improve on what they did last summer, there are new managers coming in who will want to put their own mark their new clubs, I reckon we’ll see spending like never before across the Premier League [Insert your own joke about Arsenal right here, it’ll save me time].
Yesterday saw Theo Walcott linked with Man City, we take a look at that here. I’m doubtful that they’re interested, although their home-grown requirements might just force their hand a little bit in terms of what they need to do. City are also rumoured to be interested in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player whose future is uncertain, but there is one thing we do know for sure, and that’s that he’s got two years left on his contract this summer.
We know that this is a pivotal time in the course of a deal. If a club wants to keep a player, they don’t want them to get to the point where they have a year to go, and then the spectre of a Bosman looms its ugly head. You could end up selling a player with 12 months left to go because you don’t want him to go for free a year later.
It’s also the time when agents try to do the best deal possible for their clients. Part of that is by drumming up ‘interest’ from other clubs to strengthen their negotiating hand. So that would explain why we’ve heard all about how Southampton are keen to bring the Ox back and make him vice-captain; why he was ‘offered’ to West Ham; and why now both Manchester clubs are ‘keeping tabs’ on him. What the club end up doing is anyone’s guess at this point, but the negotiation game is being played here, no doubt about it.
Finally for today, some bonus reading: Tim Stillman on why our strikers have been not as good as expected.
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and with protest in the air, I chat with Tim about the campaign this weekend for supporters to show their displeasure at what’s happening. We discuss the wide-ranging nature of it, what impact it might have, and the implications of it. Aside from that there’s the Angriest Man on Twitter, an interesting email about season tickets, a terrible real life experience, and all the usual waffle.
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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We will have all the press conference news and updates for you over on Arseblog News. No doubt Arsene Wenger will be asked about the protest this weekend, so we’ll get you all the reaction over there.
Until then, have a good one.