By Tony Attwood
The latest from the source, (which is to say Arsenal) is that Gabriel is still a few weeks away from returning to training, Jack Wilshere is much closer to returning , there’s no date for Santi yet but he is “getting better every day”, and no one else is injured.
Except that the Telegraph has made a headline story out of the fact that Alexis not feeling well. Actually as an occasional visitor to Australia, I can well understand that. Flying around the world always leave me feeling decidedly dodgy, and although Alexis in the end only had to fly from Chile and had a private jet, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was under the weather.
Anyway, he’s not confined to bed or anything, so I doubt there is much in the story other than the chance to copy an instagram pic and then fill up another slot on the home page. Oh yes, and to use the word “Wantaway” which now seems to be a part of the language. I wonder, does anyone remember when the retired country gentlemen on their farms in Norfolk would have written outraged letters to the paper if the Telegraph had used such a word? Probably not, just me.
Alexis and Mustafi should be training on Sunday, but the Telegraph says “if Sanchez’s latest Instagram post is anything to go by, the former Barcelona striker’s reunion with his Arsenal teammates could be in doubt.”
And when one reads “if” and “could” in the same sentence in the Telegraph, it means “this is nonsense”. In a recent interview Mr Wenger confirmed that Alexis is staying.
Moving right along, the Elneny situation has become clearer. The bloggettas were adamant the he was in the squad to make up numbers, and saw Elneny’s move to the middle of the back three as proof, although I was never quite sure why that was proof or indeed what exactly it was proof of.
Mr Wenger confirmed that he thinks Mo is right in that position. “Elneny is a player who has a fantastic mentality and attitude, and his main target is to help the team. When he plays there, of course he does extremely well.
“Of course [he needs to learn the defensive side], but I always felt that a good central midfielder can be a good centre back. With the fact of course that when you’re playing in the back four you have to be decisive in the challenges, you have a bit more flexibility in the middle of a back three. He can do that.
“Overall on tour, I played players like Elneny in a back three and he coped very well. Maitland-Niles sometimes played at centre back as well, even in the big games against Chelsea.
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“You see their strengths and their weaknesses, and you learn a lot about your players and your combinations too. The advantage we have is that we have a good stability in our squad, so I already know who I can combine with who, more or less.”
That could be quite an important indicator. The suggestion is that no matter what injuries come along we ought to have a squad that can move around and slot in – just as we saw with Mertesacker in the FA Cup Final.
Meanwhile we played our match last night, and it ended in a 4-0 win on the new pitch at Borehamwood. Mathieu Debuchy, Chuba Akpom, Carl Jenkinson, and Jeff Reine-Adelaide all started, but not Gibbs. On Gibbs Mr Wenger said, “There are talks, yes. There is contact but we are not close.”
The team last night was
Debuchy, Bielik, Pleguzuelo.
Nketiah Akpom Mavididi
Eddie Nketiah won a penalty, Akpom converted. Mavididi got the second lobbing the keeper, Toral got the third and Mavididi got his second and the side’s fourth.
Elsewhere in youngster news Nathan Tormey (a “gifted pacy winger”) has signed a professional contract
In the most recent interview with Mr Wenger there was confirmation of the club’s “strong financial situation”. And a clear statement that “we want to keep our best players. You can see that there is a fight everywhere to get top players.”
The Daily Express tells us that “Thomas Lemar: Arsenal on brink of £45m signing, he wants deal sorted today” and we have a new name on the rumour list in Jean Michaël Seri, an Ivorian central midfielder with OGC Nice and prior to that Porto. He’s going to be signed. Allegedly.
Oh and 442 still has Mbappe to Arsenal as a possibility – maybe this week. Along with Mahrez, and Carvalho. Could be a busy few days.
The Index of Indexes
- The In Index: All the players tipped to be joining Arsenal this summer
- The Out Index: All the players tipped to be leaving Arsenal this summer
- The Purchase Index: All this summer’s player buying by the top 10 clubs of last season
- The Loan Index: The top clubs compared in terms of players loaned out
- Injury updates, who’s in favour, Alexis is ill, Elneny’s position, last night’s victory
- Alexis wants pay cut to force move; Bale coming to Arsenal; tonight’s team news
- What makes a pitch worth ‘a million dollars’? Arsenal’s deal secures its second stadium.
- Has Arsenal come to a dead stop in terms of transfers: indeed has everyone else?