Just a quick one as we slide back into the second half of the football season. So, we find ourselves definitely out of one competition and looking at the league table, with 16 games remaining, if we win all of them, Citeh would need only win 6 more to end above us. So let’s say we’re definitely out of that competition. That leaves just the two cups and a top four place to play for. The Carabao cup is alive and based on our first leg semi final result, it is also kicking, but as we saw earlier this year Chelsea are no walkover when they visited the Emirates and it will be a battle to qualify for the final. The Europa Cup recommences on 15th February against Swedish giant killers Ostersunds FK and I believe we have as much chance as any of the other teams of winning that one.
So this weekend we see our team contend for a top four place and although we are unlikely to move out of sixth place it is possible that we can move closer to that fourth place. The reason for this is that, although I always believe we will win every one of our league matches (the eternal optimist) there is the small matter of Citeh visiting Anfield. Now, normally, if there were no extenuating circumstance, I would want Citeh to grind Liverpool into the dust so as to enhance our top four opportunities. But there is a very big extenuating circumstance being our unbeaten run that is coming under threat and due to this and the fact that the opportunities of any team being able to beat Citeh are becoming limited by the week, I will be shouting and screaming for Liverpool this weekend.
So it’s AFC Bournemouth on Sunday and our last visit there, which happened to be our second ever visit to the Vitality Stadium, was a fraught 3-3 draw which saw us 3 goals down approaching the 70th minute of the match. Giroud was our savior in that match with an extra time leveler and hopefully things will not come to that this time round. Bournemouth are definitely not the same team as last season and are struggling, one point above the relegation zone. This means absolutely nothing when it comes to Arsenal and looking at the results against the bottom 5 teams this season, it shows two wins (both by a single goal), two draws and a loss. Not exactly top four results. Let’s hope we can improve on that.
We’re slap bang in the middle of the January transfer window and I’m not going to add fire to any speculation out there. What is a fact is that it’s bye bye le Coq. You served us well and we have a lot to thank you for. Good luck with your future at Valencia. The other fact is that it’s hello to Konstantinos Mavropanos. Time will tell with this youngster and it will be interesting to see whether our new recruitment team has struck gold or not. I’m sure this won’t be the end of the January activity. Personally, I want Sanchez to stay until the end of the season, even though it means he will go on a ‘free’. I think the £20-25m that we may get for him is insignificant in the bigger picture and if we have any hope of achieving that fourth position, we would need the likes of Sanchez, Ozil and Lacazette playing every game. Walcott can go as I don’t think there is a future left for him at the club except for filling a position on the bench. So, if that is the only activity that takes place then I’d be happy with that. One doesn’t normally get many bargains or good players during January unless you are willing to pay over the odds which is not Wenger’s style. The other talking point is Wenger and his future at the club. Talk abounds with regards to whether this is his last season. Personally, based on the nature of the guy, I think he’ll see out his contract which means that he’ll be about next season. Let’s see.
So, welcome back everyone, I expect most of you are back at home and have probably put in a few days at work this year. We will be meeting at the Brazenhead this Sunday so come on round, we need your support.