I’m still feeling under the weather here, although slightly better than yesterday. I have a cough, aching legs, and a general fatigue that made me very surprised my Covid test came up negative. Maybe this a new version that the tests don’t pick up. Either way, it’s quite unpleasant and I don’t recommend it.
Also, I got up this morning, put the kettle and the coffee machine on, the lights flickered and the power went out. I thought I’d blown a fuse or something but it seems there’s a power outage in the area, which was supposed to be fixed at 7.45am (via the electric company’s website), but it’s 7.54am now and it’s not. I’m sitting in the dark tethering off my phone for some Internet, but I have not yet been able to have a Lemsip or a coffee.
I have a suspicion that being awake for longer than 15 minutes without topping up my caffeine levels could be part of why I’m not feeling so good either. I had a brainwave of going around to the local cafe to get some takeaway coffee, but then realised that unless they have an open fire and a cauldron, chances are they’re impacted by the power cut too.
Anyway, what news of stuff and things? I saw some chatter yesterday about how Gabriel Martinelli will sign a new contract with Arsenal until 2027, and while that’s obviously good, I don’t think this is any kind of super-exclusive. It comes from Catalan daily Sport, who make the claim in an article based around Barcelona’s interest in signing him. The decision to stay at Arsenal has been made etc etc so it’s bad luck Barca.
Two things: First, I don’t think they ever had the slightest chance of signing him given their financial issues. They’d need to activate a hundred economic levers, and cobble together all the change they find down the back of the sofa. Second, it’s all pretty much out in the open that this is a deal that everyone wants done. Martinelli said he just needs a pen, Mikel Arteta and Edu obviously want him to commit, and after that it’s just fine details. Which is to say I expect Martinelli to sign a new deal, but it wouldn’t suggest I was ITK if I said it out loud or wrote about it in a column. This is basic info that everyone knows.
I’ve also seen a lot of talk about Martinelli potentially being used as a centre-forward to give us some depth in the absence of Gabriel Jesus, and I just saw this:
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) December 21, 2022
Using the tactics board with Jamie Carragher, Arteta says of Martinelli, “He has to play on the last line and he needs to play wide.”
The player himself has spoken more than once about his preference for the wide position, rather than a central one. It doesn’t mean he can’t play central, it just means his deployment there would be something of a last resort. Which then begs the question about how we find depth at centre-forward with just Eddie in that position, but perhaps it’s a question Arteta will be asked in his press conference this week. And, to be fair, he might also go into in a bit more detail in the full interview.
With West Ham coming up on
Sunday Monday, there are reports of a behind closed doors game today against Luton. That makes sense to me. Martinelli and Bukayo Saka could probably do with a few minutes between the World Cup and the Premier League to get them going again, and it’s a chance for Mikel Arteta to fine-tune his plan for that game.
There are obviously still some injury issues and worries. Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Reiss Nelson the latest addition to the list which also includes Gabriel Jesus. Having had a pretty settled side for most of this season, it does look as if there are going to be a few decisions for the manager to make, but we can pay more attention to them in the days ahead.
As January looms closer, Shakhtar Donetsk’s sporting director says of Mykhalo Mudryk “There is interest from Arsenal, I cannot deny it.”
He says there have been no official bids yet though. Whether that means the clubs are still talking or things have gone quiet, we’ll have to wait and see. Usually though, when a club talks in the press as often as they do, it’s because they want everyone to know there’s a player available, so it’s probably just that.
Right, I still haven’t had coffee, I have no power, and I can’t even make a slice of toast. I’d really like toast now, that good scratch on a coughy throat. Argh.
Update 8.30am: Just as I’m about to hit publish, the power has come back on, and the world is right again – with a cacophony of house alarms going off. The neighbourhood, what sweet music she makes.