By Bulldog Drummond
Speaking of the position of Lacazette Mr Wenger confirmed that he felt the club was ready to see the best of him, “because I realise now that he was not himself for a while. That explains why his goals dried out. He was always adamant – ‘I’m OK, I’m OK’ – but players are like that.
“It was not traumatic, he was a good player but I think in the last seven, eight games he played he was not completely free with his knee. Unfortunately in our job you need your body and that’s why when you are not 100% you cannot play well.”
As we all know Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied, so Lacazette or Danny Welbeck are the two looking for the centre‑forward role against CSKA. Mr Wenger concluded “Lacazette is ready to start,” Wenger said. “I have not decided whether he will but he is available and ready to start.”
He then added…
“The mentality in the team is very good, very strong and very healthy as well. We recovered. You judge a team and the quality of a team on the way they come out of a crisis. On that front, I believe it’s very positive on our side. There is some extra pressure on us to do extremely well in this competition.”
And speaking of Europe, I have been quoting little bits on Russian football from The Calvert Journal, so here is one more to wrap it all up on the mentality of Russian players…
“Much ink has been spilled on the unique nature of the Russian soul, its predisposition towards both largesse and laziness. Russian football is a case in point. Despite having a decent league of their own, Russian footballers almost never make it on foreign soil. When the Iron Curtain came crashing down, dozens of ex-Soviet stars took the first plane out of the country, but only a few of them — notably Manchester United flyer Andrei Kanchelskis and Celta Vigo duo Alexander Mostovoy and Valery Karpin — managed to really make a name for themselves. The majority who have tried have been undone either by a flaky temperament, a taste for booze — or, most often, a bit of both.
“The most recent wave of emigration came after Russia’s moderate success at Euro 2008, when Andrei Arshavin, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov made their way to England. The talented quartet started promisingly, but quickly came unstuck. Largely they suffered from an unwillingness to demand more from themselves, both on and off the pitch.”
So there we are – a complete low down on football and Russia.
The result of our last ten games is a straight balance: five defeats and five wins.
|10 Feb 2018||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||L||1-0||Premier League|
|15 Feb 2018||Östersunds FK v Arsenal||W||0-3||UEFA Europa League|
|22 Feb 2018||Arsenal v Östersunds FK||L||1-2||UEFA Europa League|
|25 Feb 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-3||League Cup|
|01 Mar 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-3||Premier League|
|04 Mar 2018||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|08 Mar 2018||AC Milan v Arsenal||W||0-2||UEFA Europa League|
|11 Mar 2018||Arsenal v Watford||W||3-0||Premier League|
|15 Mar 2018||Arsenal v AC Milan||W||3-1||UEFA Europa League|
|01 Apr 2018||Arsenal v Stoke City||W||3-0||Premier League|
No one seems to be able to agree who plays in goal but otherwise the team looks moderately clear (or as moderately clear as it ever seems to get).
Overall in these ten matches we have scored 16 and conceded 12, so even with a high number of defeats the goals are still somewhat in our favour. And of course if we just consider the final four, it is four straight wins to balance the four straight defeats that preceded the run. In these four wins since 8 March the goal scoring is 11 for and one against.
And yes of course I know that Watford and Stoke are not the hardest of opponents to batter but even against weaker opposition you still have to score.
Cech or Ospina
Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Özil, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan
Welbeck or Lacazette
After all our pieces about Russian football and Russian fans we are told that CSKA Moscow are expected to bring under 500 fans which is a shame – but at least it means more space in the lower tier for Arsenal supporters, if all the other seats are sold.
However Talksport are saying that not every one of the supporters who bought a ticket is coming. The reason they say, “is the increase in political tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom.” Apparently Arsenal also is having a problem selling all of the 1000 tickets allocated for the return leg.
So that’s the roundup. If you missed any of it, here are the links.
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?