Afternoon fellow Gooners,
Welcome to 2010. A new year and let’s hope 2010 brings us all the trophies that we want. Like Arsene, I’d prefer the Premier League to the FA Cup and in all honesty, as much as I would love a win against West Ham on Sunday, I’d prefer a win against Bolton on Wednesday.
So far we’ve had some highs and and some lows – but so far, we’ve played really well and if could play as well as we’ve done against the likes of Everton and Portsmouth, we can realistically form a title challenge. Of course, we have to be very careful with not going overboard, let’s focus on the next game not the hysteria about winning the title. We have winnable games and some tougher ones at the end of the month, and we’ve got to win both the “easy” and “hard” games – the league is played over 38 games and we’ve all got to play each other over the season.
Arsene’s obviously had a few too many bevvies this New Years, he’s been a bit contradictory in the press, initially saying that January will not be busy only to come out and say it will be very busy…
Arsene on Dec 18th:
“January won’t be busy because people don’t realise there is no money in football, in Europe, in general. We still live in dreamland in football because if you look at how many clubs are struggling in the Premier League and the Championship in England, it is time for us to get a wake up call and not think the situation will last as it has until now.”
“The transfer window will be busy because we have some massive clubs who need to buy players or who look like [they will]. You don’t imagine [Roberto] Mancini coming in at Manchester City in December without buying a player in January with the amount of money they have. If the big clubs move the smaller clubs move as well because they might have some income. So I think it will be busy.”
Strange from Arsene to contradict himself – but maybe because of Mancini’s arrival, the boss has changed his mind. Originally, the first statement I think was said to calm down the media / fans expectation, but the media do look like they’re doing their job and the news of Maxi Rodriguez to Liverpool and David Villa to Chelsea is prominent in all the papers, despite Liverpool not having any money and Chelsea saying their not in the transfer hunt for new players.
So, starting with West Ham – we will most likely play a bit of a reserve-ish squad. With Cesc and Denilson both out injured, and the rest of the main team needing a rest of some sort, I’d expect quite a lot of changes – let’s hear a bit about the rotation policy from Arsene…
“I will have to rest some players, that is for sure. We want to win, but we want to protect our home games against Bolton and Everton as well, to keep the momentum going. The Premier League is always more important [than the FA Cup], but, in the eyes of the fans, we are looking for trophies. However, the Premier League is so hard that you want to take care of your position. Two years ago we had a very good chance [at the title], and we were not far away. At the moment we have to keep our spirit and out attitude, then we have a chance.”
Based on this, it’s obvious that we have to rotate and keep our players fresh for the Premier League. I’d expect Arshavin and Nasri to be rested and also expect to see Song (as it’s his last game) and maybe Silvestre to keep him fresh as backup – and of course, Fabianski. If Arsene does go for a slighty more rested version of the team, we may even see Merida and Wilshere get a run out.
“A season is judged on the overall achievement, and people look to who has won the trophies – but I also look at how we have done and how consistently we have played. This team is enjoyable to watch, but also to manage because I want to win every game. For us, the Carling Cup is exclusively for young players and the FA Cup is one to win. But we have worked for that policy, and it is not a coincidence. There is four or five years of hard work and patience behind that. Players are better at 19 than they are at 18, and better at 21 than at 19. We have so many players that we have a hard time finding them a chance to play.”
Is it right for Arsene to rest some of the team for the Premier League or should he be going to all guns blaring to get through to the next round…? It’s a tricky one, but I think he is making the right decision… only time will tell.
Okie Dokie, that’s a wrap for today, have a good evening and we’ll catch up tomorrow for the West Ham preview… til then mes amigos, til then…