Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Now I can see, some laughter, and early EFL Cup waffle

I went to the opticians yesterday. He puffed air in my eyes, which was unpleasant but aside from that it was all fine aside from the fact I need to get glasses.

I have no real problems, things just get a bit blurry when they’re up close, but I can see like a hawk in the distance. If you’re a vole or a squirrel I could spot you from miles away before swooping in and eating you, so watch out voles or squirrels.

He told me, as he was shining a bright light and looking at my retinas, that they can spot diabetes by the way your blood vessels are at the back of your eye. That’s pretty damn cool. I don’t have diabetes but I really dig this diagnostic process. It’s like checking someone’s fingernails and being able to tell them they’ve got Scarlet Fever, or looking at someone’s earlobes and diagnosing Membranous Croup.

The human body is a weird and wonderful thing. Anyway, I get my glasses at the end of the week and I suppose I’ll have to wear them doing the blog, because it’s sort of ‘up close’, but then because I’m wearing glasses it will be more studious and have an air of intelligence. Which, to be frank, is long overdue in the near 15 years this thing has been running. I’m sure you’ll all notice the difference.

Meanwhile, I was troubled yesterday by the idea that I didn’t spend enough time laughing at Jose Mourinho for his sending off. Sorry about that. When it comes to Arsenal I’m generally an optimist, but when it comes to our problems I tend to look at them as difficulties we might never overcome. Conversely, the troubles of others always look to be quite surmountable indeed.

It will take them little or no effort to make everything good again, and not only that, they’ll improve things significantly. That makes it more important to seize the day and enjoy their misery while it happens. So, I will watch Match of the Day 2 today, and revel in the fact he has, apparently, had as many sendings-off this season as he does home wins.

That statistic will certainly change. And, while I would love his pain and relatively ineffective management to continue with the squad he only spent a piffling £150m on in the transfer window he had months and months to prepare for and in which he did his business nice and early allowing him to work with pretty much his full squad from the moment he arrived, I’m sure he’ll start getting better results.

For now though, haha you piglet-eyed wanker. Haha.

It’s EFL Cup week, of course, and we face Southampton. I’m sort of torn because I quite like this competition as it allows us to play some players we don’t normally see, and gives some youngsters a chance at first team football. It’s also a trophy, and nobody can really turn their noses up at that. However, as we’re now in the quarter-final stage, we’re a game away from the semi-final, and as we discussed on the Arsecast Extra yesterday, that adds to what’s already a hectic schedule in early-January.

Check this fixture list out.

Sunday January 1st – Crystal Palace (H)

Tuesday January 3rd – Bournemouth (A)

Saturday January 7th – FA Cup Round 3

Tue/Weds January 10th/11th – EFL Cup semi-final 1st leg

Saturday January 14th – Swansea (A)

So, potentially 5 games in 10 13/14 days if we get through this week. Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t try and get through, but it surely has to remain a competition in which we play the youngsters and fringe players in need of some game time. Unless we get to the final then play the strongest possible team to try and win it.

Also, two-legged semi-finals are a bit ridiculous aren’t they? There’s no need for that. One game, wham bam thank you ma’am. Tomorrow night we ought to rest as many as possible who have been carrying the heaviest burden in recent weeks. That means no Koscielny, Mustafi, Alexis, Ozil etc, but there will have to be a smattering of experience, particularly in the midfield.

The issue there is that we don’t really know who our first choice midfielders are, so who do we protect? It might be a game for Aaron Ramsey, perhaps, to get some minutes under his belt, while the likes of Gabriel, Rob Holding, The Jeff and others should get a chance. There’s also talk of a return to action after injury for Lucas Perez so having him back would add some depth to the attacking side of our squad.

Anyway, we can preview that game in more detail tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be much else going on this morning, although in Germany our on-loan Japanese striker Takuma Asano got himself a goal and an assist in the Bundesliga 2 – The Rebundening.

Just time to remind you to listen to this week’s Arsecast Extra in which James and I discuss the win over Bournemouth, the two goals from Alexis, why footballers should now apologise for having babies, and lots more. Check it out below.

It’s also episode 150, so if you felt like leaving us a nice review over on iTunes that would be just swell.


This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL.

Right, that’s your lot for today, and if anyone has any nice vole/squirrel recipes, please get in touch.

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