Welcome back. We begin our defence of the FA Cup on Saturday of course, when we welcome Sunderland to Emirates stadium, and as we build up to the game, Francis Coquelin has been discussing the competition with the Arsenal Weekly podcast.
Amongst other things, our tough-tackling midfielder revealed he was hungry for more silverware, having won his first major honour when we lifted the FA Cup back in May. He said:
It was my first major trophy with the club so I don’t want to sleep on this. I’m still hungry, even hungrier, and I want more, like everyone else at the club. The players are really stepping up and really want this silverware. It was a great moment but you need a little bit of the magic of the FA Cup to come back before the memories come back. When it does start, people will be looking at the pictures of themselves with the trophies and thinking that we need to hold it for a third time. What is nice is that the first round of the competition is at home and that’s great for the fans. It’s always going to be tough against Sunderland. They gave us a difficult game a couple of weeks ago, so we know it will be tough. They’re going to want to beat the champions as well, so they will be really, really motivated and beating us could give them a boost in their season as well. Everyone will be prepared for it. I don’t know if anyone’s ever held the FA Cup three times in a row before but it would mean something big for the club. We want to win any trophy so if we can get this one, we will.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Flamini has been praising team-mate – and BFF – Mesut Ozil, calling the German ‘easily one of the best’ players he’s ever played with. He said:
We all knew he was a top player but I’m glad he’s proving it every game. It’s very important to have him on our side because, as you can all see, he can make the difference at any time. He has been giving so many assists and has been making so much difference in the past few games, so it’s a pleasure to play next to him and it’s also a pleasure to watch him on the pitch. His vision is something that you don’t find very often, so he’s easily one of the best players I’ve ever played with. We are close friends and we have a good time on and off the pitch. That’s very important because, if you want to be able to perform, you have to feel happy in your head and feel confident off the pitch. I believe he is [happy] here and we have such a great atmosphere here that it makes it very easy for him to feel comfortable.
And finally for today it’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been speaking to Arsenal Player about the importance of versatility in a footballer, saying:
Versatility is an extra string to a player’s bow. Look at someone like Philipp Lahm, who is one of the best right backs in the world but can go into midfield and play as if he’s one of the best midfielders in the world. All through your career you will be asked to play in different positions here and there and obviously the needs of the team come first, so if you have to fill in in a different role, you will be expected to do that. If you look at our midfielders, they are often asked to play in different positions. Aaron has played out wide and he goes out there and puts his own spin on it and does a good job. Over the years I can remember Tomas Rosicky playing out wide as well. If people play in another position, maybe they will play it slightly differently to someone else but they will put their own spin on the game. So for everyone it is important to have a versatile side to your game.
Now normally, after a a quote, I’ll share my thoughts on what’s been said, agree or disagree etc etc. But today, I can’t be asked.
So I’ll see you tomorrow.