Good news to start the morning with confirmation from Wales boss Chris Coleman that Aaron Ramsey will be fit to face Sp*rs in the North London derby this weekend. There were fears that his absence from the international squad was sparked by some kind of injury, but those were played down last night.
Speaking ahead of their game against Panama, an international manager displayed qualities you rarely find, like common sense and awareness of the player’s past injury problems, saying they had only called him up for one game – the 2-0 defeat to France last Friday.
I think coming into the camp because of what’s been happening with him at Arsenal in terms of his fitness we thought one game would be better than two. That was the thinking, he’s gone back to Arsenal. He will be available for them at the weekend.
At the moment Aaron is as supple and lithe as a baby gazelle, and we want him to stay that way.
And so say all of us. There’s still no word about Olivier Giroud but that will come later in the week. As for the rest, there are potentially a few players involved in tonight’s action, so fingers crossed they come back safe and sound the the manager has a big, full squad to choose from for the derby on Saturday.
There are some concerns of Laurent Koscielny who missed training for France with what sounds like a recurrence of his Achilles problem. That might not be the right word, because this is an issue which is chronic and for which he requires daily treatment, so right now it seems to be flaring up. I hope France don’t take any risks with him, and show similar restraint to Chris Coleman, because going into a game against Sp*rs without Koscielny would be a real blow. Fingers crossed.
I see many people were vexed yesterday by the appointment of Mike Dean as referee for Saturday’s game. I simply cannot understand this. Mr Dean is a man of impeccable character working for a refereeing organisation known the world over for its competence, integrity and moral rectitude. An upstanding man of unimpeachable character, Mr Dean will ensure that he is hardly noticed, for he is not the kind of chap who will take any opportunity to thrust himself into the limelight, preferring that the eleven stout fellows on each side are the ones on whom the focus lies.
Never once in his distinguished career has he made a decision which wasn’t as correct as as well-trained lady or gentleman using cutlery at a silver-service banquet, nor has he ever shown a card of discipline to a player with anything other than the most perfunctory display and certainly not with any kind of twirl or flourish that might make the watching public think he’s enjoying himself rather than being bereft inside at the lack of obedience for the rules of the game he holds sacrosanct.
I was going to look up his record when refereeing the North London derby, but I see that Tim from @7amkickoff has already done so:
That Tomas Rosicky goal was a bit good, eh? I love the fact that it goes down as an assist for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain despite the fact it was his mis-control that saw the ball fall into his teammate’s path. I think we need a term for accidental set-ups like that. A Bumblesist, perhaps?
Anyway, that goal remains the last time any Arsenal player has scored a winner against them in the league. Yes, there was that magical night when Mathieu Flamini got two at White Hart Lane in the League Cup, but that’s it. Since then we’ve had three draws and two Sp*rs wins which is two too many for my liking.
It means we got into this weekend’s game with a poor recent record against them, but knowing that we’re overdue a performance and a win. The games themselves have been pretty tedious affairs, last season’s home clash lacked any of the intensity you’d normally expect from a derby, so fingers crossed we can add some of that this Saturday. Anyway, more on that game to come as the week goes on.
There’s not a lot more to tell you this morning, unless you want me to go down the rabbit hole of commenting on spurious links to Lyon’s Nabil Fekir who, apparently, we’re readying a £60m swoop for. Transfer stories will become more prevalent over the coming weeks as we head towards January, and if results don’t go as well as we’d like we might find ourselves linked to all kinds of shiny new players.
Of course, while new players are very welcome – especially really good ones – our issues go a bit deeper than that. And anyway, we don’t have a Dick Law anymore. Maybe Ivan Gazidis could set up an office at the training ground or something, and re-imagine himself as the man who can make all the deals happen. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Right, nothing else but to leave you with yesterday’s 200th Arsecast Extra. Thank you all so much for listening, we really appreciate it, and if you wanted to leave us a rating/review on iTunes that’d be just swell. Till tomorrow.