Morning all, welcome to Friday and we can get on with the important business of looking ahead to tomorrow’s game against Sunderland. It’s an early kick off away from home, so the team will be travelling up there today after Arsene Wenger holds his press conference this morning.
One man who won’t make the plane, train or automobile, is Lucas Perez who is reportedly going to miss 6 weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Reading the EFL Cup. Royals sub Danzell Gravenberch is the man to thank for that, it was a fairly snide, unnecessary challenge, and the Spaniard looks as if he’s going to be sidelined for a few weeks at least.
We should get more information from the manager this morning, but that would be a real blow to the player if true. With Alexis in fine form up front, he was finding it difficult to feature as much as he would like, but as he showed against Ludogorets with two nice assists for Mesut Ozil, he’s a smart player who can add a little bit of craft and experience when we need it.
An injury setback like this is the last thing he needed, especially with Olivier Giroud on the comeback trail adding more competition for places up front. If there is a silver lining though, it is that the French international is available again. One door closes, another opens. Welcome to the circle of Arsenal injury life.
It will be interesting to see how the manager uses Giroud over the coming weeks. When we face teams that defend the way Boro did last weekend he will, of course, be a fairly obvious Plan B. When defences are packed, bringing on a player who can win headers and score goals from crosses will be pretty important. He’s pretty effective off the bench too.
Last season when Wenger was trying Theo Walcott up front, Giroud was the man to make way, but his response to that was to come off the bench and score goals. A ‘Look, here I am!’ kinda reaction. In the early part of the campaign he got goals against Stoke, Leicester, Watford and Bayern Munich despite not being picked from the start. So having a player who can quickly get into the rhythm of a game, and change the way we attack too, could well be very useful over the next few weeks.
For some extra reading, check out Tim Stillman’s column which looks at Alex Iwobi and the way his presence in the team allows others to flourish. It’s clear the young man has become a very important part of this latest iteration of Wenger’s Arsenal, and the manager holds him in very high regard indeed. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few weeks go for him. There have been signs that the first flush of footballing youth, when a player makes his breakthrough, have worn off a little.
Opponents become wiser to who you are and what you do, and while not exactly a roadblock, it’s something young players have to overcome. He seems a clever guy though, and you’d certainly back him to start making an significant impact again. The boss’s call for him to add some goals to his game might well provide the focus he needs.
Right, time now for this week’s Arsecast and in this book heavy edition I’m joined by the brilliant David Squires to talk about his new book ‘The Illustrated History of Football‘ – out next week – and the rest of his superb cartoon work which appears on the Guardian amongst other places. You can also win one of two copies of the book in a competition! There’s also some Arsenal chat with Goonerholic as we look ahead to tomorrow’s game against Sunderland, an exclusive audio extract from a former player’s upcoming autobiography, plus all the usual guff, nonsense and waffle.
There’s also one-day Fantasy Football with FanDuel in which you can win real cash. Sign up with FanDuel use the code ‘ARSEBLOG‘ when you do and they’ll refund your up to £10 if you don’t win with your first try. Check it out!
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.
Right, we’ll have all the team news etc from the press conference over on Arseblog News, and The Gent will be here later with his weekly round-up.
Enjoy the podcast, more here tomorrow as we preview the Sunderland game and all the rest. Have a good one.