Ralph’s off. Thanks Ralph.

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Some things are getting clearer, at least.

Ljungberg, whose form has tailed off due to injuries and whose goals have dried up thanks to a lack of Pires, will not be going anywhere this transfer window. Personally, I’m glad of that as a fit Freddie is still a dynamic player. Whether he stays beyond the summer is doubtful, but he’s not going anywhere just yet.

Aliadière looks set to stay too. His performance was outstanding on Tuesday, and if he plays like that he has something to offer. I admire him for sticking to his gunners, but even on that kind of form, who do you drop to let him in? Not van Persie, who is having an excellent season, not Henry, for obvious reasons, and in the tricky games where we need a muscular striker who can hold the forward line, then Ade Cool gets the nod. So Jezza’s staying for now, but like Freddie, his long-term future is somewhat clouded.

Not so Lauren, who has no future at Arsenal and will leave, probably this month but if not in the summer. Of course it’s a shame that a player with such ability and experience will leave in such a low-key way, but football can be like that. He’s been a fabulous servant of the club, not moaning, and consistently putting in solid performances at his adopted home of right-back. I wish him well wherever he goes.

Now Wenger can concentrate on moulding Eboue and Hoyte. I accept that I may have been too quick to judge both of those players at times this season.

Both are still young, and have very little Premiership experience. Eboue has 24 league starts since August 2005, and Hoyte about 45, of which only 13 have been for Arsenal.

They do need to improve, and have been doing so. Eboue needs to defend better and cut out the nonsense, while the level-headed Hoyte needs all-round improvement on his game too. So I can see Wenger’s logic, even if it is no consolation for Lauren. Can Hoyte and Eboue improve? Of course they can, and they will.

This evening we’re off to the north-west for yet another test of our travelling mettle. Buffalo Gallas is still out, but Ade Cool returns.

My prediction is that we will win 3,999-1.

There will be 4,000 goals in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Terrible and predictable, I know. Sorry.


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