“So why did you leave Barcelona?”
“As I said at the time, I was tired. I worked long hours and needed a rest. To take it easy and have no pressure.”
“Oh, so that’s why you took the Arsenal job.”
Luis Enrique announced his candidacy to replace Arsène and did the Arsenal board a huge favour in the process. The Spanish soap opera seems favoured to play out with the manager of the third place team moving to the one currently at the top of the table. Jorge Sampaoli’s Arsenal cheerleaders are likely to be disappointed; labelled a “Bielsa disciple”, he’s seen as the next Pep.
It saves Ivan & co worrying about the Argentinean’s grasp of English.
No doubt there’s a slew of articles being penned which tell us which Barcelona players Enrique should sign when he becomes Arsenal manager. Well, duh…
Does that increase the pressure on Arsène to reveal his future? Only superficially. The media, ourselves will ponder the question. Wenger won’t discuss the issue, seemingly irritable with the media this morning:
So, no announcement this weekend, much to the relief of Sky who took a punt on collaring Wenger first after his announcement. Wenger relented later though,
So, over to you Ivan. As if.
More important than any of that though, is the visit to Liverpool on Saturday. If you’re planning to travel by train, keep an eye on the latest on the disruption which affect your journeys.
You probably won’t bump into Mesut Özil. He was sent home from training yesterday, although Arsène hedged his bets on the German for the weekend,
“We’ll see, I don’t know. he should be OK.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement but Koscielny and Ramsey were both gambolling around London Colney, back from their respective hamstring and calf injuries. No Santi Cazorla, of course. Wenger commented that he hadn’t seen the Spaniard, “not even in fitness training”. He should read the papers more often; there are enough photos of Santi in his hospital bed recently.
Liverpool were so inept at Leicester that they are bound to be vastly improved on Saturday. That’s without factoring in our ability to make distinctly average teams look like world-beaters. Wenger believes the players “owe themselves” a big performance after the defeat in Munich.
Danny Welbeck has suffered “ups and downs” in his recovery but having missed Sutton due to the pitch, he has to be in contention. Özil’s performances in the ‘big’ away games leave a lot to be desired, that can’t detract from poor performances generally. The German is ‘everyone’s favourite scapegoat’ although I am sure Ox and Aaron Ramsey will make sterling efforts this weekend to steal his crown.
Welbeck would add pace to the attack and that’s something Liverpool are vulnerable to, unless they change their formation and personnel from Monday night.
The Endgame May Not Be The One You Expect
There is a sense that the football is becoming a by-product. The main event is fast becoming Wenger’s future, if it wasn’t already. It maybe something we are tired with, but until the decision is public it’s always there. This isn’t an elephant in a room, it’s a herd.
Defiance shone through Wenger’s words this morning, and you wouldn’t expect anything less. Two decades of his life devoted to the club, why should he walk away? He observed that he is “objective enough” to decide what was best for Arsenal. We shall see.