9 points, 8 goals, 3 clean sheets, and an 8 point swing against the swamp-dwellers in 3 Premier League games. Throw in the swagger and flashes of Wengerball, as well as the team ethic. Mix in a determined defensive trio and it’s hard to fault the team’s current form or mental strength ahead of United’s visit.
We have another chance to get up close and personal; a third win in three against United at home cuts the gap to them to just a point.
They’re calling it the first £1 billion football match in the world. Who knows; Super Saturday obviously isn’t hyperbolic enough. I believe someone just added up the revenues of the two clubs from last year and had a light bulb moment…forgetting that Real Madrid play Barcelona every year and probably passed that mark a decade ago.
It only seems like yesterday when the Gunners blew United out of the park, smashing in 3 goals without reply in one of the best 45 minutes of football we’ve seen in recent years. The form continued last year with a 2 – 0 victory; let’s keep faith with the conventional wisdom which says good things come in threes.
It is this hope that makes you wake up bright and early, willing the hours to pass by quickly so that we can get on with it. You damn well know that it’s also the same hope that will kill you depending on which Arsenal turn up tomorrow.
Alan Sugar and the nonsense ‘power shift’ talk by the media did the team talk for Arsène a fortnight ago. Mourinho coming to town should also be enough of a team talk; just post his mug shot in the dressing room, I say.
The Silly Season Is Round The Corner
Few can argue against the reality that Arsenal is indeed going through a purple patch. In the mini-top 6 league, it’s still early to judge whether a corner has been turned.
We’ve only played one of the top 6 at home and bagged the 3 points and bragging rights. It is imperative that we beat United, Chelsea, City and Liverpool at home, a task we’ve done well in the last few years.
My sense is that not being in the Champions League and having the option to play the 2nd string in the Europa League has helped us so far, despite the indifferent form at the beginning of the season.
It’s hard these days though, to pick up a paper or read any article online without the mention of Alexis and Ozil’s contract situation. It doesn’t matter what the article is about.
A story on Santi Carzola’s operation will have the pro-forma paragraph in there about the two contract renegades. An article on FC Koln being fined for the crowd trouble they brought with them to the Emirates, and that ubiquitous paragraph of Alexis and Ozil not signing contracts is there.
Mind you, the transfer window isn’t open yet. I’m reconciled with the fact that the duo will leave at the end of the season, but the incessant noise about when they’ll leave or where they’ll go is now becoming annoying.
Of course we’re likely to lose money, but if the duo play like they are doing and inspire the team for the rest of the season, who is to say that letting them go on a free wasn’t a good thing. One has to wonder what effect all the “will they stay or will they go” talk has on the other players. It did with Arsène’s situation…
From Russia With…Well, Something
Not exactly the picture of Sean Connery cosying up to Bond girl Daniela Bianchi, the world of sport turns to Russia today. As if all the attention from the Olympic doping saga wasn’t enough for Russian sport, there’s just that small matter of the draw for next summer’s World Cup.
As Jack Wilshere looks at today’s events, his thoughts must turn to his lack of pitch time in this Arsenal team. If he wants to play for England, he’s going to have to leave Arsenal. Who can blame him? No player in the world would want to miss out on Russia 2018 if there’s the slightest chance they can grease themselves through the door.
I don’t blame Li’l Jack. I would be begging for another loan so I can get more playing time to increase my chances of selection. A club like Burnley maybe, if they’ll have him. Rumours that Arsenal is still chasing 21-year-old Udinese playmaker Jakub Jankto don’t help. That Arsène tried to sign him this summer twist the knife a little more. Jankto is more likely an alternative for Wilshere than for Ozil.
A few years ago, there was a picture captured of Gibbs, Jenkinson, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott all trudging off the pitch together. They were the future of England, a core that Arsène will nurture. That sure feels like a very long time ago, all five dropping out of the radar of every England manager.
I do feel Walcott should at least get the chance to represent England at a World Cup. Sven Goran-Erikkson didn’t do him any favours by calling him up at 16, drawing unnecessary attention to him. He was injured for one and Fabio Capello didn’t pick him for another, preferring Aaron Lennon. That decision went well.
One would hope for Wilshere and Walcott, that the absolute hunger that they have to get to Russia 2018 will galvanize and inspire them to have a season of their lives for Arsenal. One would hope that they can be that extra muscle that pushes us over the line in salvaging the season and making a mark in the Premier League. They have to get the chance first, but there’s plenty of games coming up with the Europa League and the two domestic cups.
It isn’t the failure which kills us; football people can deal with that. It’s the hope which eventually does for us.
Have a great weekend good people.