Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sitting and staring …

Morning all, happy Friday to you.

How long did you last? I switched off when Phil Foden fell over and got a free kick which he then took and scored from via a deflection. That was enough for me, as if they need any more help. I felt I didn’t need to subject myself to any more of it, so I turned it off and sat there contemplating the vastness of the universe until I got a little freaked out and played some Rocket League on the PS5 instead. There’s nothing quite like exploding cars and a giant ball to bring you back to earth. So to speak.

City’s players didn’t look tired to me. Almost as if the extra couple of days rest they got really helped, and no doubt Pep’s personal chef cooked up some delicious meals with his special blend of 115 herbs and spices to put some zip back in their legs. They play again on Sunday when they visit Nottingham Forest, and after the last week, it’s going to be amazing to watch Ederson go full Harald Schumacher on Morgan Gibbs-White only for the VAR to send off Matt Turner even though he’s on the bench, and then for VAR to check it, and decide it’s actually 6 penalties for City. Can’t wait. Forest’s owner’s beard will catch fire with white hot rage.

It’s probably more interesting to talk about Brighton, just 1 win in their last 8 games. Lots of injuries, sure, but still not a great record. Will Robert de Zerbi be under some pressure now? They’re safely ensconced in mid-table, and there are mitigating circumstances because being without important players like Karou Mitoma, Solly March etc isn’t helpful. Nor is the fact that Evan Ferguson (also injured right now) hasn’t scored a goal since November, but still.

It wasn’t long ago people were talking about which exciting talents the big Premier League clubs were going to pay massive money to Brighton for. Now though, you’d look at nearly every player there and just have pause for thought that they were all beneficiaries of a de Zerbi purple patch to some extent. At the very least, Brighton might have to lower their asking prices, but beyond Mitoma (and even that would be a very, very slim chance), I don’t think we’ll be doing any shopping there in the summer. And having written all that down, I realise it’s not really that much more interesting talking about Brighton. Sorry about that.

Mikel Arteta will meet the press later this afternoon ahead of the North London derby on Sunday. So much depends on this game, it could put some pressure on City if we get the right result. There is another side to this but it’s not one I even want to think about a few days away from kick-off, let alone as we get closer. There is only one outcome on Sunday. That’s it. We’ll have press conference stories etc over on Arseblog News.

Elsewhere, I saw that Kieran Tierney has picked up another injury during his loan spell at Real Sociedad. I’ve written quite a bit about left-back, and our need to address this position in the summer, and every time I do there are comments about why Tierney couldn’t return and be the more conventional left-back that people want to see at times. I guess this goes a long way to explain it. So far this season he’s been unavailable for 20+ games (club and country), and by the sounds of it, this one might be a season-ender given how close we are – just 6 La Liga games left.

For all the talk of Mikel Arteta, rotation, the need to use the depth etc, there’s a through-line between our best players in terms of quality and availability. He leans on both, because he knows – having been through it as a player himself and with various teammates – that you can’t afford to rely on players who are in and out of the squad the way some of them are. And unfortunately Kieran Tierney has always been one of those. Anyway, good luck to him in his recovery and hopefully he’s ok for Scotland for the Euros.

Ok, that’s just about it for this morning, but let me remind you for a final time that this month we are donating every penny from our Patreon revenue to UNICEF, to help kids all around the world. This morning we’ll have an episode The 30, our Premier League review podcast, and tomorrow we’ll have our preview podcast for Sunday’s game for you too. If you want instant access to that, and everything we do on Patreon, you can sign up here – patreon.com/arseblog – and in doing so you’ll help a great cause too.

There’s no commitment beyond a month either, so you can sign up, know your subscription will help vulnerable children impacted by war, famine, and disease, and leave it at that. We’re also backing our friends at the ArsenalVision Podcast who are raising funds for the Arsenal Foundation, and who so far have generated £140,000 – with extra donations to come which match whatever you contribute. If you can help – and only if you can – it would be hugely appreciated, and the work the foundation do at Zaatari Refugee camp is genuinely life-changing for the people there. Here’s the link: https://www.justgiving.com/page/avp

Right, have a good Friday folks.

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