Nighttime goings-on + Koscielny and our central defenders

The new puppy has a bark cycle. She is like a wind-up toy. Once she starts she has to run through the cycle without interruption. At times this can be a bit endearing. At other times, like at 2.47am when she is demonstrating this ‘talent’ outside the bedroom door, not so much.

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Then she will give smaller little huff-wuffs and that will be that unless she starts the cycle again in which case it’s …

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… all over again. Because she is a puppy, I’m aware that despite being perfectly well house trained, she might get caught short and this barking is her way of saying ‘Please open the door before I let loose my bowels/bladder all over the floor because I don’t want to do that and you certainly don’t want me to do that’.

So, I get up, I go to the back door thinking she needs to go for a wee or whatever, but then I realise why she’s barking. Standing directly in front of us, glass the only separation, is a fox. A big lanky massive tailed fox. I’m not sure if this mister is fantastic, but he was definitely a fox. And it occurs to me the puppy doesn’t need to do anything toilet related, she is now in the ‘HYPER AWARE OF EVERYTHING OUTSIDE’ phase of her life.

She looks at him. He looks at her. She makes a kind of weird quivering sound. And so, I do what anyone would do – I open the door. The fox, smart guy that he is, takes off running like Hector Bellerin in his prime, zooming towards the end of the garden and the back patio bit where he leaps over the wall and to safety. Lana, who is not yet quite as nimble, gives chase, making a noise that is somewhere between a dog barking and the noise you’d imagine a hippo would make giving birth to a piano.

The fox is free, she does not catch her prey, but returns to the back door as proud as punch having seen off this threat to her territory. Her tail wags as she looks for confirmation that she is a good girl and of course I tell her she’s a good girl. I go back to bed, hoping that will be that and she will be quiet. She is for a time, until she takes a look out the window and sees a cloud scudding gently across the sky:

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And so it goes.

Interesting stuff yesterday from Laurent Koscielny’s agent who more or less confirmed that had the Frenchman not suffered that terrible Achilles injury at the end of last season, he’d have looked to leave the club in the summer. Speaking to France Football, he said:

Laurent was perhaps playing the final matches of his Arsenal career. He had started thinking about a possible departure from Arsenal at the same time as Arsene Wenger. It was the right moment, the final moment to leave with the arrival of the new manager.

We were open to different options, China as much as France. He could not see himself playing for another English team other than Arsenal. Since the approach from Marseille least season, the notion of returning to Ligue 1 entered his thinking. It was a genuine possibility.

I guess you can understand why he might have thought it was the right time. At 32, and with the man who signed him for the club and who was such a large part of his Arsenal experience on the way out, the timing for one last move somewhere else in his career was probably right.

Now, I’m not going to say that I’m glad he got injured, but I am glad he’s still at the club because the centre of our defence remains far from convincing. So much so that a player who will be 33 in a few days time, returning from a traumatic injury at a point in his career when recovery can often be slow and difficult, would make me feel quite a bit better about what we’ve got going on at the back.

Unfortunately, he’s not going to be playing again until November at the earliest according to the medical updates on the official site, so what we have we hold until then. I suppose the interesting thing about the games we have coming up is that the Europa League and the Carabao Cup will give both Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos a chance to play.

The former has been on the bench for most our fixtures this season, the young Greek has yet to make the squad, and while hopes are high for him, we don’t really have the ability to make anything more than a superficial judgement on him. He’s a good size and adds some height and physicality to proceedings, but we’ve only seen him play three times in end of season runarounds, and he got sent off in one.

I know there’s the whole ‘Well anything would be better than what we’ve got’ refrain you hear quite often, but the unfortunate thing is that maybe it’s not. Maybe what we’re playing right now is the best that we’ve got, despite its flaws, and that’s something we really have to consider.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving the young guys a chance, and if they can perform, put pressure on the more experienced defenders we have and take their opportunity to fight for, and then take, a place in the team, I’d be absolutely delighted. It’d be brilliant to see a new generation come through, but as much as I’d like that to happen, my gut feeling is that’s something of a long-shot.

Perhaps the Carabao Cup will give us more to work with, it might ease my gut, but I also think the best defender we have is currently in rehab after his Achilles tendon was snapped in two, and that’s something that Unai Emery and the men who do the recruitment/squad building for Arsenal now need to think long and hard about.

Right, that’s it from me for a little while. I’m away for ten days or so, to soak up a bit of sun in the land of Santi Cazorla where I will eat a lot of Jamon Ruffles. Tom and Andrew Allen will be holding the fort here on the blog, and of course things will continue as normal over on Arseblog News where we’ll have all the Interlull goings-on for you.

Catch you the far side folks, take it easy.