Hello everyone, welcome to another Friday. The weeks are just flying by, I don’t quite understand where all the time is going, but if you do please don’t tell me because it’s probably all complicated and something to do with continuums (continuua?!) and warps in the fabric of the universe. It’s too early to get my head around stuff like that.
We’ve got Boro tomorrow at home, a decent chance for another three points although the flamboyant pointing of Mike Dean is always a worry. I imagine him, when being asked to confirm which particular item it is he wants from a bakery, doing a pirouette before aiming one of his bony fingers at the custard slice he desires and saying in an old-timey accent, ‘I choose THAT one!’ The truth is probably much more mundane. I bet he doesn’t even like custard slices and exists solely on a diet of white rice and carrot shavings.
Anyway, enough of that terrible man and hopefully we’ll speak no more of him over this weekend. Let’s instead take some interesting stuff from Lucas Perez who says he’s aware he’ll have to bide his time and that he’ll play wherever Arsene Wenger wants him:
I can adapt to any position in the attack. I am here for every time the manager needs me. When I came to Arsenal I knew where I was coming. I know there are great players here. I have to wait for the opportunity.
Everyone wants to play, but the important thing is the team. The most important thing is to be ready to do my best when I have the chance.
What I find interesting about Perez is that if he hadn’t done much yet there’d be relative understanding about that. ‘He’s hardly played or been given a chance’, or ‘He needs a bit of time to adapt’, which wouldn’t necessarily be an unreasonable justification for that. And yet in the two starts and two substitute appearances since his arrival in August he’s scored twice, and got three assists to his name.
When we looked for questions for the Arsecast Extra on Monday there were a number asking if he might be a ‘new Park’, because he hadn’t really featured much. I don’t think that could be further from the truth though. The Spaniard is producing, despite being afforded limited time on the pitch – for understandable reasons too. The team is playing well, certain games haven’t really allowed for attacking substitutions, but look at his stats. That’s end product.
He looks a clever player, strong and quick, and the two assists for Ozil were actual assists – not simply the final pass before the goalscorer does all the work. The first showed his pace and the ball from the left allowed the German to bobble-finish over the keeper. The second was a perfectly lofted ball over the defender to provide a chance to finish on the volley which Ozil took.
He also appears mobile enough to fit into this current iteration of the Arsenal attack. While I’m sure Olivier Giroud will have a part to play over the course of this season, Perez can play up top and you’d feel pretty confident about him being able to do a job from either flank. Perhaps that versatility will help him get more minutes, but based on what we’ve seen so far from him, he looks a fairly canny signing. I’m curious to see how much he can contribute this season.
On a wider scale, you’d have to say that one of the hallmarks of this season is how effective the ‘depth’ has been. If players like Lucas, Elneny, Gibbs, and even Oxlade-Chamberlain have been sidelined to an extent, they haven’t let us down when called upon. The integration of Xhaka has been pretty successful – bar Swansea – while at the back Shkodran Mustafi has slotted in brilliantly alongside Koscielny. He seems to have real personality too (see here), so having that bit of intelligence back there is an important thing, I think.
I remain cautious, but I have to say I’m cautiously optimistic also. The signs are promising, so hopefully we can build on what we’ve done in the last few weeks because we’ll need that momentum to take us into a much trickier run of games.
Right then, time now for this week’s Arsecast and to look back at the week that was I’m joined by Jim Campbell of the Football Ramble podcast (and now book), to discuss Mesut Ozil’s finishing, dressing room pictures that drive crotchety old pros mad, Lucas Perez, our recent run of form and much more, as well as the new Football Ramble book that was released just yesterday. As well that there’s the Angriest Man on Twitter, some disturbing bus related imagery, a look ahead to the Boro game, and all the usual waffle.
There’s also one-day Fantasy Football with FanDuel in which you can win real cash. Sign up with FanDuel use the code ‘ARSECAST‘ when you do and they’ll give you a bonus credit of £5 in your account (will arrive within 3 working days). Good luck!
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.
We will have all the team news and everything else from the manager’s press conference this morning over on Arseblog News throughout the day. For some bonus reading this morning, check out Tim Stillman’s column looking at the pros and cons of our midfielders.
I’ll be back here tomorrow to preview the Boro game. Enjoy the podcast, until then.
Oh, and very finally, a big thanks to George Frost – an Arsenal fan, of course – who has created his own rum. I have tried this rum, and it is delicious. You can check it out here. Have a rummy Friday folks!