You can’t keep up. When you go to bed, the press claims Alexis Sanchez’s personal terms of £250,000 a week are agreed with Manchester City. When you wake up, Mourinho is convinced he can sign the Chilean and offer a better salary. The open season on Arsenal players would be farcical if Arsenal’s own board hadn’t redefined farce when it comes to transfer policy. Who gives a damn about Arsenal’s needs, eh? Even Man City players are throwing their two cents in, Kevin De Bruyne making sure we know Alexis is his preferred choice with Jesus – not that other one – unavailable for a few months.
What’s to stop Liverpool from taking pot shots at Arsenal? They have £145 million to burn and a Philippe Coutinho sized hole to fill. Yw – don’t be surprised if ACLF is quoted as the source that linked Alexis to a sensational Liverpool bid. Isn’t this how it starts? A writer sitting in a pub on Fleet Street racking his brain about how to fill the column inches and BOOM! – “I Know…Liverpool still has that Coutinho money they haven’t spent. They to must want someone like Sanchez”. The only thing we can be sure of is that Le Coq is a Valencia player. The rest is pretty much a circus.
Starve The Man And Flush Him Out They Say
What caught my attention this week is the cry in some corners of the internet Gooniverse. A hope for some that Arséne Wenger should be starved of January transfer funds and kicked out in the summer. The Daily Heil – yes, their guy in the pub – already linked Carlo Ancelotti as the right man to replace Wenger. Who Knows? Maybe they really get to talk to the managers who leak their plans. Ivanka Trump has more chance of becoming first woman President than newspapers knowing who the next Arsenal Manager is. As if Wenger will be kicked out.
What isn’t in question is the intensity that Arséne still has. Chelsea fans and the press corps saw him up close and personal on Wednesday night as he sat around them flanked by Jens Lehman and a few henchmen. Wenger kicked every ball of the game, slamming his fist on the table or guardrail in frustration when his players made a mistake or took the wrong decision. He didn’t show any signs of a man who might be receiving a P45 from Ivan any time soon. He totally blanked out the taunts from the Chelsea fans and gave the game an absolute laser focus; Lehman frequently attentive to his earpiece, acted as a conduit to the Arsenal bench.
Of Passing Clouds And Rising Stars
I hope Le Coq gets to progress his career in La Liga. He took his chance at Arsenal when we were down and out in midfield, his best performance marking him out as the spoiler we needed. With his departure comes the chance for rising stars like Ainsley Maitland-Niles. It’ll be good to finally see the young man take up a role in the centre of the park. Many Arsenal insiders aver that this is Maitland-Niles best position, his defensive input now more assured with his performances at left back. Can he be the defensive midfielder we’ve wanted for a long time?
Some would argue that we actually don’t play with a defensive midfielder; Xhaka, Li’l Jack, Elneny and Ramsey are ball players frequently engaged in attacking sorties. With Kolasinac and Monreal covering the left side of our defence, it makes sense to give Maitland-Niles his defensive midfielder role. The young man certainly has the confidence of the manager, Wenger personally telling him that he most admires his 1-2-1 defensive quality, footballing intelligence, speed and recovery ability.
It Ain’t Over, The Fat Lady Is Still In The Bath
Sunday’s defeat to Nottingham Forrest in the FA Cup left a very bitter taste in the mouth. I suppose going for three cups was a tall order. The FA Cup the most challenging with its full complement of big clubs. After Wednesday’s professional job at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, another high-intensity match against Chelsea and probably Man City if we get to Wembley, make the League Cup seem very attainable. There’s no excuse not to field a full-strength team for the return leg of the semi-final. At this stage, we have nothing to lose and no players to be patient with.
In the Europa League, seven games remain if we progress all the way, warrants a full-strength squad. Even if we aim to tie up Europa ties in the first leg and then ease off, options are there. It’s one thing to thumb your nose at the lesser cup, but at this stage doing so is cutting our nose to spite our face. We need the trophy, and we certainly need the option of winning the Europa league as a route back into the Champions League.
You do wonder though, even if we make it back to the Champions League, are we still avoiding the inevitable? I can’t tell you how tedious it was in that Bayern-Barcelona second round cycle. It didn’t matter whether we won our group, it was written that we would meet Bayern or Barcelona. If there’s one thing I’ll enjoy this season, it’s seeing Barcelona bitch-slap Chelsea for a change.
Have a great weekend good people.