Crystal Palace Home Sat 17h00

It’s as Lee Hurley from the Daily Cannon writes, “It’s the hope that kills you”. Lee is referring to all things Arsenal and as all us long suffering fans know, we have so much hope that eventually, over time our dreams are dashed to leave us with just thoughts of what could have been. And so it is that Arsenal extend this form of torture from our performances on the pitch onto our transfer activities. The hope that is out there, with regards to the Arsenal players, current and future, allows for dreams of super teams being created yet end with broken promises and those players that are recruited being immediately sent out on loan. Windows close with little to no movement and at worse see players move away with no replacement brought in. Some years, it is the reverse. Take 2012 for example when we bought Giroud, Podolski, Bellerin and Cazorla in the summer and Nacho in the winter. That’s the thing about hope, sometimes it comes off, but more often than not it doesn’t, so one always believes in the possibility but usually one has to realize the disappointment.

And so we find ourselves in the middle of some crazy transfer reporting. We have all accepted that Sanchez was outward bound and most of us thought to the blue side of Manchester. The fact that the red side hi-jacked the deal and have added another angle on the deal with a possible player swap has added a further dimension to this soapie-like saga. We’re still worried about Ozil and his future at the club but for the time being, at least until the end of the season, he remains an Arsenal player. At least that is what we are led to believe. And finally, good news was received about Jack signing a contract extension. Rumours are that it is at a reduced wage with additional incentives, however it’s a binding contract which means that we’ll get more money for him when we sell him at the end of the season. (That’s a joke by the way). And now for when the hope kicks in. The following three players have been linked with Arsenal, Aubameyeng, Malcolm and Mkhitarian. Now I don’t claim to be all knowledgeable about these players and before January, I’d never heard of this Malcolm fella but by all accounts it would be a major coup if we got all three of them. Compare that to the business we did in January 2014, where we managed to bring in, on loan, a player that was undergoing back rehabilitation from Spartak Moscow and was eventually able to play his first game for us almost two months later. Kim Kallstrom was his name and he managed to play in a total of four games for us until his loan spell ended at the end of that season! We all hope that we get these three new players, even two of them would be half decent and one would be better than January 2014. What will happen? No one will really know for sure until 11pm on 31st January 2018. Let’s hope for the best!

Walcott is a done deal with his move to Everton and there are possible moves for Giroud and Welbeck on the cards. A lot has been said about these three players however I don’t foresee much sadness with the departure of the two ‘W’s and only Giroud who has become a savior as of late would be missed. There has been a lot of respect going Walcott’s way with his departure and I’m making this evaluation from what I’ve seen on Twitter but it seems almost two-faced with there having been a large number of negative comments over the past year or so on his performances. Either way, he’s gone and unlike the RVP’s, Nasri’s and Fabregas’s, he will get a good welcome if ever he appears back at The Emirates.

Crystal Palace are our next opponents and they’ll be visiting The Emirates this Saturday. It wasn’t too long ago that we played them in a late mid-week match at the back end of December which we won 3-2. Sanchez was our savior then with two second half goals and unless something quite crazy happens between now and Saturday, he certainly won’t be our savior this time round. Since that game, Palace have had some reasonable results, beating Burnley at home and Southampton away and also held Citeh to a 0-0 draw. Arsenal have not won a match since that game.

It will be interesting to see the side we put out. The current back three do not inspire confidence and the return of Koscielny and Nacho with Kolasinac back down the left would make me feel a lot better. Hopefully Ozil is also fit and Ramsey needs to start but I’m unsure how that will work with Wilshere in such good form. I can see Welbeck dropping to the bench if not completely out of the squad if the transfer rumours are correct and Iwobi has not been on top form either so I would suggest he also warms the bench. So, does Lacazette, Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere and Xhaka work together on the pitch? Doesn’t feel right to me and I can’t remember the last time Wilshere and Ramsey played together. (Other than the game last week when Ramsey came on in the 74th minute, it apparently was in our 5-2 win at Everton, but Ozil left the field 5 minutes after Wilshere had come on in the 77th minute.) If we played a back four then maybe they could play together but it doesn’t make too much sense changing our formation so that we can accommodate two similar players. So I would go for Ramsey rather than Wilshere, plus Jack is due for a rest. With Iwobi’s poor form and his slowness of movement, this could be an opportunity for Maitland-Niles to play in midfield. He has shown a lot of potential and he is growing in confidence every game. It would also be nice to have Giroud available in the mix, as that super-sub we have missed these past few games. He may also be able to put a cracker under Lacazette and motivate him back into goal scoring form.

It’s going to be a tough game. Palace are no mugs and they have performed amazingly well after not picking up a single point in their first seven games. This means that they have accumulated 25 points in their last 16 matches. Arsenal have managed 26 points over their last 16 matches, so there really is not too much between these two sides.

A bit of feedback on the fantasy leagues that are running. In the FPL, there’s been no change at the top, it’s just getting a bit tighter with Earle Brown’s Cannon Hill FC holding a 57 point lead over Eugene Cardoso’s JELLYS NPO. Adrian Garden’s Adriatic Gunners XI were top scorers for the week with 90 points, moving them up to seventh position. The top three look as follows:

Cannon Hill FC (Earle Brown)                   1361
JELLYS NPO (Eugene Cardoso)                  1304
Utete Rockets (Justice Utete)                      1303

In the Superbru league, the top three are filled by the same people with second and third positions swapping around. Grandpa was top scorer this week with 7 correct results which moved him up 7 positions to 39th:

tphato                                                               188.0
Joffie B                                                             187.5
MAC 10                                                            185.91

It wasn’t the greatest turnout at the Brazenhead last week so let’s try and up our attendance. Even if the team is not exciting, there are all the other Arsenal supporters that you can discuss the pending transfers with and whether Wenger has another season in him. The game is at 5pm on Saturday, so SA Gooners, why dontcha c’mon down to The Brazenhead and have yourselves some fun?

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