Good morning everyone, and a big thank you to everyone who came out last night to see the Arsecast Live event at the Garage in Highbury & Islington. James and I really appreciate it, the support is fantastic, and thanks also to our brilliant guests Amy Lawrence, Stuart MacFarlane and Philippe Auclair.
Unfortunately, there was a slight technical issue where the very start of the podcast wasn’t recorded, in particular an excellent tale from Amy who, on the way in, overheard somebody talking about the podcast in general, lamenting the fact it’s ‘not as funny as it used to be’. Which was pretty funny.
Still, we’ve got a good hour and twenty minutes of Arsenal related chat for you today, and you can listen, download and stream at the bottom of this post.
So, after the three obviously difficult games in November ended without defeat, we start to look ahead to Sunday’s game against Bournemouth. On paper a much more winnable fixture, but even though we haven’t lost a game for quite some time, there are some concerns about the way we’re playing right now.
What is our best midfield combination? What is going on with Granit Xhaka? How do we get ourselves going again in terms of the fast, fluid flowing football we were playing not so long ago. There was a lot to be encouraged about by the football we saw, and clearly the quality of recent opposition makes it more challenging, but it really feels like we need to start clicking again.
Maybe those will be questions when Arsene Wenger meets the press later today, but perhaps Bournemouth are the perfect opposition for us at this point. While Eddie Howe will no doubt have looked at how Boro and others have frustrated Arsenal this season, he seems to be a more naturally adventurous/attacking coach, so there might well be space for us to exploit. Anyway, we can look more at this over the weekend.
Laurent Koscielny, meanwhile, has given his backing to Olivier Giroud after his second goal in as many games. The French international was given just his second start of the season against PSG and brought us level after Alexis Sanchez’s dive won us a penalty. He said:
Olivier showed last weekend he has a big mentality in a situation a bit complicated, when he hasn’t had much game time. The little time he spends on the pitch is quality time, because he scores goals. So let’s hope it carries on for him and for us.
The conundrum the manager has is if he reverts to the system that hasn’t always worked quite as well as he’d have liked with Giroud up front, or retaining Alexis up there which has been the conduit for our best football in quite some time.
What made that work though, was the effectiveness of the wide players, with Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott providing genuine threat, while Alexis was both creating and scoring. It would be fair to say that those chaps haven’t quite been at that level in recent games, so the more traditional approach with a big man up top is something akin to a safety net. We’ll see what he does.
Anyway, let’s get on with the Arsecast, and this week’s show was recorded live at The Garage in Highbury & Islington with special guests Amy Lawrence, Philippe Auclair and Stuart MacFarlane joining myself and James for an evening of Arsenal chat. We discuss PSG, the Champions League, our current form, November and lots more, before we take questions from the audience in part two.
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.
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 press conference news over on Arseblog News throughout the day, and for some extra reading this morning Tim Stillman’s column this week discusses the increasingly touchy subject of Aaron Ramsey.
Have a good one!