Had the media or the man a sense of humour, the notes of the Death March would fill the air as Arsène walked into this morning’s press conference. Or he could be dressed as the Grim Reaper…
That’s if anyone can get there. With barely half-a-inch of snow laying on the ground, it’s not so much the ‘beast from the east’ around him as a little tabby cat of a storm around here. The place has still ground to halt mind you; it always does. I don’t remember these issues growing up, but then I never paid attention. It was just one big snowball fight which of course you can’t have these days due to the worst four words in the English language: health and f****** safety.
Thinking about it, I recall a missive being circulated around our school which forbade the art of packing snow around stones on the occasions of snowball fights on the school fields. The school nurse was overrun by cuts and bruises which made a change from dealing with a puking child, I suppose.
Not that it will be a problem in the future. English football is to have a mid-season break except it won’t be a proper break; football will still be ongoing. A fudge only the FA could construct. Arsenal’s answer to force a mid-season break was to exit the FA Cup in humiliating fashion which seemed to work…
Which brings us to the question of tomorrow: on, off, do you care? The biggest danger is the stadium environs and if you were Arsenal, remembering Sunday’s performance, would you bother clearing steps? It will be a small crowd if the number of ‘spares’ flying around is a yardstick.
The question we’re all asking – with or without question marks, smart arses – is how will Arsène get essentially the same team to play better? Mkhitaryan will no doubt slot into the side while Nacho Monreal’s run of goalscoring form is probably at an end thanks to the knock picked up on Sunday. Wenger’s options are limited; he could drop Mustafi but that seems unlikely.
Options are at best, limited.
With the weather set to wreak havoc on the fixture list, the television companies showed how it is done. Four fixture changes in April with two moved to Monday night. But not including the transport-friendly away trip to Newcastle; that’s a 1.30 kick-off on a Sunday. Nice early start for the intrepid travellers; bravo Sky.
A shame Comcast is promising to pretty much alone although Disney could lighten things up if they took over. Half-time entertainment for the whole family. You could have a bit of fun, I suppose. When a substitution is made, Captain Hook could appear on screen or there must be a Donald Duck cartoon with him being hooked from some show or other; he was Disney’s favourite stooge.
Bambi would be quite a versatile film to use. When Dele Alli dives, the moment when everyone’s favourite fawn steps onto the ice hits the big screen. Their back catalogue provides plenty of opportunity for such moments.
Or maybe not; you can have too much razzmatazz.
This Arsenal team is struggling to get the basics of football right. It’s easy to say that’s what they need to get back to bute how they do so quickly is the issue. We’ve never been a side which reacts well to defeats; expecting that to change this week is a step too far.