So Happy New Year to you all – I’ve been away and was, as it turns out, rather fortunate to miss the televisual treat that was our defeat in Yorkshire.
All of Arsenal’s weaknesses made their pre-New Year appearances, and there was Wenger at the end of it all with a typically upbeat assessment of what was, let’s be frank, another dispiriting defeat.
We’ve lost five league games by January 1st, one less than last year. I suppose that’s progress of sorts.
We did have a lot of players out, it’s true, and that was a factor. What is also becoming clearer is that some of the second string are probably not going to make it at Arsenal beyond the end of this season. Aliadière, for one, will be lucky to make it through the transfer window untransferred. Hoyte is currently blowing colder than hotter, though given Eboue’s frailties and Lauren’s injuries, he has no immediate need to sweat. They’re not the only two either – Baptista seems to have fallen out of favour before even falling into it.
What I’m finding particularly strange about this season is that we’re pulling some cracking victories – or at least accomplished performances – out of the hat one week, and the next we’re struggling against the usual culprits. The year is 2PV (Post Vieira) and it’s still happening.
As far as hopes for the new year go, I can’t think of anything more useful and pressing than having all of the following available for selection; Henry, Lauren, Gallas, Hleb, Adebayor, Walcott, Ljungberg, Djourou, Eboue and Diaby. That’s a lot of players to miss.
There’s also a good opportunity to strengthen over the next month, but I can see why Wenger is reluctant to do so. Firstly, buying someone would cramp the progress of players who could yet become brilliant. And secondly, the January market is swamped with new money, all going for a limited pot of talent. If Wenger dips into the market you can guarantee he can expect to pay a premium for whoever he goes for, unless of course he plucks some athletic 17-yr-old all-rounder from somewhere random.
So all in all, I don’t think this will be a month of frenzied transfer activity for Arsenal, at least not unless we flog a few bodies first.
Tomorrow it’s the visit of the struggling Addicks, a team who, again, you’d expect us to dispatch at home. But with a new manager they’ve taken four points from six, and that changes things slightly.
Come on you depleted reds…