Good day to you all.
Some interesting news coming from Arsene’s pre-match press conference yesterday. Alex Hleb is not for sale, and Mattie Flamini’s deadline has been extended to Monday due to ‘negotiation problems’. For me that basically means Arsenal are, as I suggested yesterday, succumbing to the threat of him leaving on a free and are trying to convince him otherwise by revising their original offer. Who knows – we’ll have to wait and see.
Good to hear that Alex Hleb is not for sale, although I very much doubt that this statement will stop the press making up stories about him going to Inter, Juve etc etc. Indeed we are linked with Niko Kranjcar of Portsmouth, whose father says Wenger ‘has been tracking for some time’ (if you say so, Mr Kranjcar senior), and that he would be the perfect replacement for Hleb.
It is something we Gooners have come to live with in recent summers. ‘Cesc is off to Barca’, ‘Hleb to Italy’, ‘Adebayor to Italy’. We know it is coming, but the bottom line is all these players are contracted to the club, and cannot go unless Arsenal is willing to sell. As the boss said yesterday, the only player free to leave the club is Flamini, although we’re all hopeful that won’t be the case come Monday.
It is, in my opinion, crucial that this team sticks together. All the progress we have made in recent seasons is down to the fact that the core players have remained with the club. We really don’t want an exodus of players this summer because it will mean we have to start again from scratch, which is not an option. If the team continues to improve at the same rate then we will be champions next season, but we do need this group to stick together in order for that to be possible.
Everton Team News
Everton tomorrow is our penultimate game of the season, and last home game. Team news sees the squad remaining more or less the same as against Derby, with Robin Van Persie being rested as a precautionary measure (thigh) and Flamini possibly returning to a place on the bench. I must say that RVP’s injury situation is of great concern. He is such a classy player but you can only be incredibly frustrated with his injury problems in recent seasons. If he had been fully fit all season perhaps we would be parading the league trophy tomorrow at the Emirates. RVP and Rosicky – we need them fit and strong next season, but if they cannot meet this requirement then we really need to think about replacing them with players who are more reliable in terms of fitness.
I think we can expect Fabianski to retain his place in goal, and with RVP not playing it seems likely that Ade and Bendtner will play up front. Theo should get another start alongside Eboue, Cesc and Denilson in midfield. The back four of Toure, Gallas, Song and Clichy will no doubt stay the same, although the Boss may well decide to give big Phil Senderos another chance after having not played since that miserable night at Anfield.
This game is not an easy one to predict. We pretty much have nothing to play for if Man Utd win against West Ham today, which is expected if we’re being honest with ourselves. However Everton are 3 points ahead of Villa in 5th, but with an inferior goal difference. With 5th place offering the only UEFA Cup spot this season Everton will be giving everything to take something from the game. If we are going to reach our target of 83 points this season we will need to be fully focussed and committed tomorrow or we will be punished. The game up at Goodison was one of my favourite away games attended this season, in spite of the fact that my car had been broken into when I returned to it after the game! Here’s a tip to those of you who go to the away games – use the travel club for the Liverpool matches!
Everton will be without Cahill and Arteta and this could be decisive in terms of the result. I fancy us to nick it, what do you reckon?