Happy Friday folks. I’ll start today with our new signing Mohamed Elneny, who has been speaking with Arsenal Player about his move to the Gunners and the Premier League.
Encouragingly, the Egyptian midfielder sounds like he’s got his feet firmly on the ground, is eager to improve and impress, and endeared himself to Gooners everywhere by labeling his new club ‘the best team in the Premier League’. He said:
I expect it to be a massive shift in my career and a big starting point. I would like to achieve a lot and prove to myself and everyone that I am capable of playing in the Premier League and any league around the world. Hopefully I can develop my skills more and more. I always work hard to develop all aspects of my skills to benefit the club I play for. As I mentioned before, Arsenal is a big club and I have to live up to this responsibility. That’s why I work hard to develop myself continuously. I can see that Arsenal are having one of their best seasons, that makes me very enthusiastic to play with the best team in the Premier League, both now and in the past. That is why I am very keen to accept this responsibility. I am very aware of this and I am well prepared for this task.
Having been an unused substitute for our game at Stoke last weekend, Elneny is of course yet to make his debut for Arsenal and it would have been nice to hear what Arsene thinks of his new recruit’s physical readiness for Premier League football. I mean, because of the winter break in Switzerland, Elneny hasn’t played a competitive game since early December.
Perhaps that might have been a better question for reporters to have put to Arsene at his press conference yesterday, rather than ‘are Chelsea specialists in failure?’. But of course, an update on Elneny’s match-fitness isn’t nearly as important to some sections of the press (Sky) as trying to instigate bad blood between Arsenal and Chelsea before they meet on Sunday.
Even if Elneny is ready to compete for a starting place though, my guess would be that the FA Cup game against Burnley next weekend might be deemed a better time to hand him his full debut by the boss, rather than in a high-pressure London derby. Then again, who knows? If he’s ready, he’s ready, and he could be our secret weapon to catch Chelsea’s midfield off-guard and run rings around the likes of John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic. We’ll see.
Moving on and as we prepare to play the first of three home games in our next four Premier League fixtures, Laurent Koscielny has been discussing the importance for taking maximum points at Emirates stadium if Arsenal are to be crowned champions. The defender told Arsenal Player:
If you want to win the Premier League, you need to win all your home games. Our seven away games will be very difficult because we play against Man City, Man United, Tottenham, West Ham, Everton, so we need to do the job well at home so we have the points. We take each game and we will see. We want to play and win all games. We are in a period where we play many different competitions, we play the Champions League, the FA Cup, Premier League. This weekend is an important game and next weekend too, because it is the FA Cup and we won it twice and we want to continue like this. In February March, we will have Champions League so we need to take it game by game and that’s it.
You obviously don’t have to win all your home games to win the title but you know what Koscielny means. We have difficult tests ahead away from home so winning all our games at Emirates stadium from now until the end of the season would obviously help our cause no end.
Back tomorrow with a preview.