Yesterday was another mammoth press conference from Arsene and he spoke about a huge range of topics… I’ll bring you the highlights shortly, but first take a look ahead to the today’s game. For us, we need to build on the start to the season we’ve had so far, which sees second in the table. We’ve had a tougher start than table toppers Chelsea and dropped points away to Liverpool and Sunderland, but today’s game is a home game against newly promoted West Brom.
The game has come too soon for the likes of Cesc or Thomas Vermaelen, both who will miss this game and mostly the midweek game. Abou Diaby is back in the squad after injury and Alex Song returns after a suspension. The rotation will continue and we’ll probably see Almunia, Squillaci, Chamakh and Arshavin restored to the starting line-up. One player who I thought would get rested for the midweek game was Jack Wilshere as he has been involved in virtually every game this season – but he’s just got better and better!
So the line-up tomorrow could well be:
Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Nasri – Diaby – Arshavin
With a bench of Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Lansbury, Denilson, Rosicky and Vela
There are fitness doubts over Denilson and Rosicky and news is that Diaby will have a fitness test later today too. We have a few injuries to key players at the moment, so even though Nasri and Wilshere played 120 minutes midweek, they are both in line to start again this weekend. And if they do, then I can see Denilson and Rosicky replacing them mid-week against Partizan. Nasri did have a tight calf against Sp*rs, but news is that he’s shaken it off.
I’ll be down at the Emirates for tomorrow’s game and I’m really looking forward to it – for those of you on twitter, I’ll be tweeting away as usual, @worldofarsenal – and two regular writers, @kieran_delaney and @debsgooner are both on twitter too and often give their opinions of everything Arsenal too!
Arsene Wenger took a little time out and talked about the various subjects in the news – including the news yesterday that we made a record profit of £56m – yep, amazing news. And for those of you who aren’t in the know – read this. Amazing stuff when you consider what we’ve done in the last 5 years – compare that to the many false dawns of the likes of Liverpool etc and to think that every club that has built a new stadium has been relegated puts our feat into perspective.
Arsene spoke heavily on the policy that he’s been so forthright in pushing – the youth project – and how the fact that buying a player for big money means he has to play him and that means not playing a younger player. We’ve seen the likes of Gibbs, Wilshere, etc come through recently and you have to admit that if we did sign Ozil, would Wilshere have been thrown into the first team?
“I take this pressure with a distance,” he said. “For example you [the media] reproach me for not buying players but if I buy players Jack Wilshere doesn’t come out into the first team. You cannot have everything and I know that and I’m long enough in the job to have a development policy to educate the players. The most difficult thing is to play them and to stand up for it. Nobody else in the world [brings through as many young players]. I’ll give you one day the list of those at the top level who have made careers with me and you will see. You will be absolutely astonished. Take the list of the players who started here, for example Djourou, Senderos, Clichy, Gibbs, Fabregas and Song. Diaby is another who had basically never played before at the top level. Ashley Cole too. Of course people say always to buy but you cannot make careers and lives of people and on top of that buy everytime you have an injured player. We make a profit because we don’t spend – it’s as simple as that. What is unbelievable is that people reproach me for making a profit but no-one says a word about people who lose money. I manage in a safe way – but it looks like we are in a business where the quality is to lose money.”
And that last sentence sticks in my mind – we are in a business where the quality is to lose money – and you’ve seen that with the implosions of Leeds, Pompey, Southampton etc – spend big and pay for it later twice over. I for one, am absolutely delighted with the way the club is being run – the architecture of the business – the careful putting together of the finances – it’s like we’re in completely different world to most of the clubs in the Premiership – heck, most of the clubs in the world.
I don’t know how long it will take for us to pay off the stadium, to be completely debt free – but it will be sooner than originally anticipated and when we have – we’ll suddenly be a very very rich club – it’s going to be a very interesting future, and we should all be very glad to have such a good management structure in place!
Anyway, we’ve got a game to play – time to prepare myself for the match – come on you Reds!!!