Evening all. Although not yet confirmed by the club, widespread reports today claim Santi Cazorla’s knee injury will keep him out of action for ‘at least the next three months’.
There’s not much more to add really, given the news is far from unexpected and I’ve gone over what our Santi-less options are over the last couple of days.
All I will say is that Aaron Ramsey now needs to really step up in the Spaniard’s absence and prove he’s worthy of playing there long-term, by helping us win enough games to sustain our title challenge for the rest of the season. One man’s misery can be another’s opportunity, or something.
Moving on from our injury woes and onto something a little more positive now, and Nacho Monreal has been speaking with the Arsenal Weekly podcast about how he’s settled into life in London following his move from Malaga almost two years ago. He said:
Everything feels right. I can say that I feel at home on and off the pitch. If you don’t feel good off the pitch and in life in general, obviously you can’t give 100 per cent. However, at the moment, I love England, I love London and I love my team-mates so everything is positive. When I arrived here I knew that the first thing I had to do was learn English because, if you want to speak to your team-mates, the staff and anyone here, you need to learn the language. It was difficult for me because I’m very bad with different languages but I am trying. Mikel, Santi and Hector were very helpful for me because I didn’t speak English when I arrived, I didn’t understand anything, so every time I had a problem or didn’t understand something they explained it to me. Even in the evenings, sometimes you have nothing to do and you can spend your time with them. They helped me a lot.
Meanwhile, Gabriel, who like Monreal the year before, joined the club in the January transfer window last season, has been discussing his stand-out memory of his first year in North London. He told Arsenal Player:
It is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life, winning my first trophy with Arsenal, and the most important of my career. I spent a whole week just thinking about this game, and the fact that it was at Wembley, a stadium that everyone around the world knows. The thought of setting foot on such a legendary pitch, in this magnificent stadium, was amazing. I was lucky enough to play in the semi-final and the final was very emotional for me too. It was great to win a trophy so soon after arriving at the club, and also very important for my family. It was great to see the whole squad so happy at achieving our goal.
Although managers often bemoan the lack of options available in the winter window, Monreal and Gabriel are proof that quality can be purchased if you look hard enough and do your homework before hand. Considering how stretched our squad has become in recent weeks due to injuries, we clearly have an urgent need to strengthen in midfield in next month’s market.
With Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini in the final year of their contracts, there’s no worry over becoming over-stocked in that area once the likes of Cazorla, Coquelin and Wilshere regain full fitness. We need at least one new central midfielder, lets make sure we pay what’s required and get him in as early as possible after the New Year.