Carabao Cup – Chelsea – Home Wed 22h00

A 4-1 victory over Palace and everything is suddenly smelling of roses again. Indeed, but for how long though is the question as we know that it is just a small sweetly odoured event in what has recently been an ever increasing descent into the depths of mediocrity. As van Morrison sings, “You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay”. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth of the situation and why clubs pay good managers so much money to maintain a high standard. Who, being an Arsenal supporter over the past decade would accept mediocrity, would accept mid-table anonymity? None I would wager and yet when we look at how close we are to being a mid-table club, we surely need to escape this quicksand that can slowly drag us into the quagmire of unwanted comfort. And, so it is a good thing that Sanchez has left the club (am I jumping the gun here? Will some unforeseen complication scupper the player swap with MFU?).  Arseblog published an article today where he highlights the fact that Arsenal give the ball away like a mid-table club and it does not make for good reading. Top of the offenders list is Sanchez (although there are some notable inclusions in this list that are almost as bad) and although you cannot point to this fact alone as to why I’m happy to see him leave, I believe now with hindsight that his poor performances and general negative attitude to both the playing time and overall morale at the club has been a major factor in why we found ourselves in a winter of discontent.

There seems to be a lot of transfer activity at the club at the moment and if everything that is spoken about is to be believed, we will have a completely different looking team come the beginning of February. However, Arsene has a bit of a reputation about him as far as the incomings are concerned and although I believe the Mkhitaryan swap will take place, it looks pretty definite that the Malcolm deal has turned sour and that the Aubameyang one still has a number of twists and turns left in it for Arsenal supporters to fill Twitter over the next week or so. I’m not sure why we are actually after him to be honest. For sure we would all like him in our team. We can only dream that Arsene would play him together with Lacazette, but as yesterday highlighted, do we really need to strengthen in this area, especially with Giroud warming the bench. Maybe with the departure of Walcott and (hopefully) Welbeck, we need another speedster up front and we can go forward with the logic of scoring more goals than conceding. It seems to be working for Liverpool. I’ve always wanted Arsene to go after Aubameyang and now that it is happening, yes, I’m happy about it, so don’t get me wrong there.

Maybe Arsene is building for what looks likely to be his final season next year. These two signings are both closer to thirty years in age and thus can’t be seen as building for the future. However, it has been a downfall of ours in the past to field a team with all youth and very little experience. These two could definitely help the club in the short term, maybe a little too late to rescue this season and I have major doubts as to us qualifying for the Champions League next year where they could be put to good use. So maybe it is just Arsene laying down the foundations for a handover that doesn’t leave the club in the same state as what Sir Alex left MFU in. Have no doubt, Arsene loves the club. He may not always make the right decisions but his intentions are good. Hopefully he can pull something spectacular off before his final farewell.

We have a small matter of Chelsea coming up on Wednesday in the Carabao cup semi-final second leg. They also scored four goals over the weekend away to Brighton so it is likely to be a humdinger of a match. Again, I presume the game will not be televised so will need to find some streaming site. Chelsea had no Morata or Pedro on Saturday and they were possibly the better for it as Hazard and Willian seemed to take up the reins with ease. Chelsea fans have even taken to Twitter praying for Morata’s ban to be extended, however it looks like both he and Pedro will be available for the clash. Chelsea have to worry about their FA Cup fourth round match against Newcastle closely followed by a home fixture against Bournemouth the Wednesday thereafter whilst Arsenal have no such worries having exited the FA Cup first time out a week ago. This means that Arsene should have no concerns around fatigue within his squad and should be able to pick the strongest side. To be honest, I’m not sure what that side currently is and if the Sanchez/Mkhitaryan swap is completed by Monday, are we looking at the same XI with Mkhitaryan in for Elneny? Will Ramsey be available? What was Nacho’s problem? All in all, I think we should be able to put out a team that can beat Chelsea. Wednesday awaits.

As indicated there is no weekend match so you can all put your feet up and support Yeovil Town (against MFU) on Friday, Newport County (against Sp*rs) on Saturday and Cardiff City (against Citeh) on Sunday. You can also go onto our website at arsenalsa.co.za I’ve posted a whole series of match photos that the Arsenal football club send through, plus you’ll find all these blogs/emails that I send out each week.

Right, I’m gonna put the kettle on and put my feet up now to watch Southampton give Sp*rs an absolute pasting. One can only hope! Have a good week and get onto those Twitter accounts.

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