Evening all and welcome back. For those interested in a spot of skiving off work first thing in the morning, Arsene Wenger’s press conference will be streamed live on the official from 9am UK time tomorrow. But the boss did provide his customary Thursday update on injury news to Arsenal.com earlier today.
Thankfully, we have everybody fit from last weekend’s squad who drew at West Ham, whilst the prognoses for our injured quartet of Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky sound promising. Here’s what Arsene said:
Next week they (Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla) will be back maybe, they are not back in full training yet. Jack and Tomas are playing today for the under-21s. They have had no reaction from last Friday’s game and they look alright. From last Saturday’s game against West Ham, we should have everyone available who was in the squad.
Whilst it’s obviously great to hear we’re nearing full fitness as a squad, with so little of the season left to play it’s unlikely any of those four players will have any significant role to play this season. Clearly, I hope I’m wrong, and Wilshere plays it to Cazorla who finds Rosicky to tee up the Ox for a title-clinching goal on the last day of the season, but you know…
Which means the onus to perform will firmly be on those who have helped us to impressive wins at Everton and at home to Watford, as well as that draw with the Hammers in recent weeks – which I’m quite happy with if I’m honest.
Despite the Andy Carroll-caused defensive shenanigans for ten minutes either side of half time at Upton Park, we’ve looked a fluent, dangerous side recently and I’d back them to win our remaining games, with the possible exception of Manchester City away, although they of course will hopefully be preoccupied by their European run.
Moving on now though and Per Metesacker and Laurent Koscielny have both been speaking to Arsenal Player. The former discussed the importance of defensive discipline between now and the end of the season, saying:
[We need] discipline. We lacked a bit of that desperation, even when 2-0 up at West Ham, to defend and get everyone behind the ball. To come back to that level is absolutely important in the Premier League, and if you don’t you will get punished. These details are very important to us and everyone can see it, it is obvious. We want to win every single match now, to put the teams in front of us under pressure. We have got the belief we can win every single one and that is the task from now on: to concentrate on the next one. When something is going against us in a game, we have to focus on ourselves and not get distracted by anything else. The focus and the mindset is really important. There are fast changes, even in a single game and also throughout the stretch of the season. We have to be ready and concentrate on ourselves and our games – anything can happen in football. We need to be there, when there is space and teams are dropping points. But that is not our business, we are just talking about ourselves and trying to win every single game.
Whilst Koscielny praised January signing Mohamed Elneny’s impact on the team. He said:
When he signed I could see he was a good player with the ball and how he could make good passes. He is not a player who takes the ball and goes from box to box with it, but he can help the team go higher up the pitch and keep the ball, which is very important. He doesn’t lose many balls during a game, he has scored and he has played well. He signed three months ago so his adaption to our philosophy at Arsenal and [to life] in England… I am very impressed with it.
As are we Laurent. Although Aaron Ramsey, and other central midfielders on Arsenal’s books, may just be sh*ting themselves a little bit whilst wondering how exactly they force their way back into the team. And if they’re not, they should be such has been the Egyptian’s start to life at the club. Keep it up Mo!
See you on Friday folks.