How does the Arsenal squad refocus for today’s visit of Swansea given the relative rollercoaster of a week at the club?
After a tumultuous seven days that has seen glorious highs, young stars emerge, and old farts disgrace themselves, a mid-afternoon Premier League clash with struggling Swansea seems positively boring in comparison.
Against that sort of backdrop, any of us could be forgiven for taking our eyes off the ball but, quite simply, Arsenal can’t afford such a luxury. With some testing fixtures rapidly approaching, this afternoon’s match is a must win if we hope to stay in touch ahead of what is going to be a difficult period.
The Watford debacle aside, Arsenal have done pretty well in the last few months, with nine wins, a defeat, and a draw clocked up since their drubbing at Anfield in August. In fact, if the team had done as it should at Vicarage Road, we could have been looking at a run of 11 games without defeat.
Still, we remain in a decent position despite the bitter sound of Troy Deeney’s ‘cojones’ comments still lingering in the background. Another win this afternoon will make for a fairly successful autumn for the team – even if we haven’t had the trickiest or most testing of runs.
I would be absolutely flabbergasted if the team hadn’t taken notice of the utter farce that was the club’s annual general meeting on Thursday but, as awful as it was, it shouldn’t really prevent them from going about their business today.
Whatever humiliations various board members inflicted upon themselves, the players have but one expectation upon their shoulders, to go out and perform to the best of their abilities on the pitch.
It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that this club is run in the most amateurish way, with a staggering arrogance towards the fans, but that isn’t something the players need concern themselves with when Saturday comes, as the saying goes.
For all its flaws and foibles, this team should have plenty in the tank to dispatch the likes of Swansea and I would, in all honesty, expect them to do that today. I am genuinely excited to see Alexandre Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil take to the pitch again, and I think they can do some real damage as they learn to play together.
If £100million-worth of talent doesn’t strike fear into you as a defender, while simultaneously inspiring those playing behind them, then I don’t think anything will. Another showing in the same vein as that seen at Everton last week will bolster the triumvirates’ reputation and really put the turbo boosters on our campaign.
They only thing they will need is confidence that the guys bringing up the rear are disciplined and organised enough to let them perform with the sort of freedom they need to be at their most effective.
Given the team’s midweek exploits, I don’t see there being any changes to the side that did so well at Goodison Park last weekend. Whether David Ospina is fit enough to take his spot on the bench remains to be seen but, after a pretty impressive performance against Norwich in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, I don’t have too many problems with Matt Macey deputising if needs must.
It wonder also if Matthieu Debuchy might have earned himself a place on the bench for the match, given how well he has performed in his last two outings, albeit against inferior opposition.
I guess that depends on where Arsene Wenger sees his compatriot’s future and whether he is simply preparing him for sale, rather than trying to reintroduce him back into the fold. Time will tell, but I don’t think it would hurt to give him a spot on the bench for now.
As weeks go, this one has been a real doozey for the club but I am confident (yes, I know) that we can end it on a high by doing the business against the Swans.
Come on you Gunners!