Match preview: Eyes on the prize and Arshavin

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Although we appear to be bedding down ahead of close season hibernation, we shouldn’t get too comfy just yet. With one point required to guarantee third and two games in which to get it, tying the hanky round the head, rolling up the trousers and heading off to the seaside in our socks and sandals (as all right-thinking Englishmen do) will have to wait a little longer.

Tonight we play Blackburn at Ewood Park, an exciting prospect if only because it couldn’t realistically be any worse than the turgid fayre served up last weekend against Man City. That would be beyond the realm of the possible. The only way is up.

There’s been a lot of hot transfer air but not much else this week, so we can be thankful to the eccentricities of our pocket Russian, Andrei Arshavin, for talking points.

Maybe I’ve come down with a dose of lethargy-inducing endofseasonitis, but I can’t work myself up into a lather about his purported eyelash fluttering in the direction of Catalonia. I’ve seen it all a million times with footballers – they’re a breed apart.

The bottom line with all footballers is that if they want to go somewhere else then they will. They hold all the power. Short of a club sticking a player in the reserves out of sheer stubbornness – which for financial and morale reasons will never happen, especially not at Arsenal where £20m would go a long way – the player knows he can get what he wants. Life would move on.

Now of course, this could well be much ado about nothing, or rather more benign than we think. Perhaps he’s desperate to stay but wants to put the willies up Arsenal so they give him the money he’s asking for. Perhaps this is mere mischief.

I think he’s a fabulous player, a maverick who can change a game. Sure, he’s had a worse second season than first, but there are mitigating circumstances. And yes, he rather likes the sound of his own voice.

But really, how bad has he been? He’s third in our scoring chart with 11 goals, behind Fabregas and Bendtner (19 and 12). If he was the only Arsenal player whose previous season was better than their current one then fine. But he’s not.

I hope he stays because he’s a magnificent footballer and if anyone’s wavering because he’s gobby and has had an average season then look here for four good reasons why he should be at Arsenal next season.

Anyway, onto tonight and there’ll be no surprises – Gibbs and Djourou are fit but not match fit – so expect the same squad as last time. It doesn’t look as if Arshavin will be back either, though it’d be nice to see him. If he’s a small risk then take it I say – it’s not like he’s got a World Cup to worry about.

What I want most is some fluid attacking play and some ruthlessness in front of goal. Our last win – 1-0 v Wolves – was a last-minute job and it would be nice not to have to rely on that kind of late assault for the points. I wouldn’t say we are struggling for goals but they’ve definitely dried up a bit.

Time for a rousing win.

16.27 egg on face update

Djourou and Gibbs on bench. Wenger you old dawg.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. arsene wenger

    why the hell would barca want arshavin? mesi would really enjoy having to double his trackback workload while that tall midget scatches his arse, he will need to take gael clichey with him, recieve the ball, play it up the line stand still watch gael run, thats him

  2. RotorGoat

    Would you honestly be happy to see the back of him? He might not be perfect but he’s got the potential to be a game changer, he’s experienced and the opposition are scared of him. Gotta stay, surely.

  3. manziket

    Charlie Nicholas was the last Arsenal “Star” left in the reserves for a season, I think. Valencia tried something similar while Koeman was in charge…

  4. RotorGoat

    Was Champagne Charlie left to rot in the reserves? I don’t remember that, though he did fall out of favour, it’s true.

  5. Rabs

    Please, let him go… A soldier go a soldier come barrack is still barrack.

  6. Gilford NH

    Arhsavin has probably read about Cesc’s new deal. He’s upset about the exchange rate making his earnings less in Euros and is seeing what he can get.

    If I was Wenger, I’d give him Helb’s phone number.

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