Sunday, November 27, 2022

More weekend thoughts, stamping, Wilshere to Newcastle?

Having enjoyed the Premier League weekend until yesterday, I thought I would try and preserve that by not watching Sunday’s games. Given they featured Sp*rs and Man Utd that was not a difficult decision to make. I went to the seaside with the dog.

I put the very end of the United game while I was cooking later on and heard goal sounds coming from the sitting room, never pleasant. They won 4-0 so that puts them top of the league. Does it mean that they’re good or that West Ham are bad? Probably.

There was also another red card, this time in the Newcastle v Sp*rs game. I suspect that Jonjo Shelvey will be very disappointed in himself this morning. If you are going to get sent off for ‘stamping’ on Dele Alli then you’d bitterly regret doing it in such a half-hearted manner. Not that I’m advocating violence, you understand. Just saying that while you shouldn’t stamp on anyone, if you do stamp you should really stamp rather than tread lightly, otherwise what’s the point?

I can’t stress highly enough though, that nobody should commit acts of violence – regardless of how irritating their opponent is, and even if they have a bit of previous for nasty tackles. That’s not relevant. But if you do, you ought to do it in a manner which won’t leave you feeling like you’ve missed an opportunity in some way.

It’s worth stressing, however, trying to hurt a fellow professional is wrong. The world is already a difficult enough place with people doing harm to one another, and as football is an escape from that these guys should really try and set an example, especially to all the kids who watch the game and view footballers as heroes. They can learn sportsmanship and fair play, and to see a man lose his cool and attempt to damage the ankle of another man is profoundly disappointing in the grand scheme of things.

But, all things considered, I’m merely saying that if you have that moment of madness, you should make it count lest you go down in history as the bloke who got sent off for tripping the light fandango on Dele Alli rather than being the hard as nails hatchet man you think you could have been.

When it comes right down to it though, don’t stamp on anyone. But if you do …

From an Arsenal point of view it’s relatively quiet, although now that they’re missing Shelvey, Newcastle’s need for a midfielder increases and over the weekend they’ve been linked with a move for Jack Wilshere. Our need to move players on is obvious, and he is one of the candidates. I also understand he’s been in talks with some clubs abroad, so it really depends on what he wants to do.

All the same, while his fitness record is clearly questionable and it’s almost impossible to be in any way reliant on him, his presence in the squad at least adds some depth in central midfield. Arsene Wenger spoke at the weekend about how difficult it’s going to be for him to keep all his forwards happy after Olivier Giroud decided to stay. Even if we accept that Lucas Perez will move on at some point, he’s still got Welbeck, Lacazette, Walcott, Iwobi, Ozil, and Alexis for that front three, so there’ll be some disgruntlement along the way.

In midfield though, I worry that the depth is not there. There’s quality with Xhaka and Ramsey, decent back-up in Coquelin and Elneny, but it only takes an injury or two, or a suspension on top of that – perhaps for stamping on Dele Alli (something none of our players should do, but if they do etc etc) – and we’re down to bare bones. Or no bones at all, and as a wise man once said ‘you can’t make stock from no bones’.

Still, it seems very much as if we’re in a situation where there are unlikely to be any further arrivals until we see some departures, so let’s hope that a) this midfield issue is one that the manager is well aware of and b) we can start shifting some of the players we no longer want. That might bring in a few quid in transfer fees, but more importantly it will free up many thousands from the wage bill every week that can be redistributed more effectively.

Ok then, James and I will have an Arsecast Extra for you this morning, so if you have any questions or topics for us to discuss, please send them to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra. That will be ready for you before lunchtime, so until then have a good one.

No stamping. But if you do, you know …

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