After a hard day it is a welcome relief to put the feet up in front of another Arsene press conference. Thankfully busy today, I have missed the reaction to another masterpiece of him sharing himself with his audience while saying absolutely nothing. I watch him closely these days, and smile when he puts on his bemused expression. He uses his face to offer instant feedback to his inquisitors what he thinks of their question.
Today we learned that he thinks Brighton are a good side, Suarez is a good player, we are working on finding new signings in this window, but at the same time we don’t need anybody. Oh, and Barca won’t sell us David Villa, even though he hasn’t said we want him. I think that just about covers it. Arsene’s priorities have never included full and frank revelations of every last detail about the day to day goings on at the club. People will continue to form their own opinions based on very little factual information. C’est la vie.
We welcome Thomas Vermaelen back to the squad for the midweek fixture with Liverpool, a match of some significance for both clubs as we currently trail our respective neighbours in the hunt for European qualifying places. They too are strengthened, particularly defensively, by returns for Jose Reina, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson (lock up your toilet seats). The key for us will be to keep the loathesome Suarez quiet. Regardless of his failings the Uruguayan remains a gifted goalscorer with a return bettered only by van Stapleton this season. With him in mind I have a sneaking suspicion that the skipper may well start the match.
In midfield Arsene may decide to retain Aaron Ramsey, back to form and perhaps even surprising himself in the deep-lying ‘Arteta’ role. Abou Diaby may remain fit but a little short of match practice to start such a critical fixture. Jack Wilshere took it a little easier on Saturday and Santi Cazorla had a day off. Both should be refreshed and ready to produce against the scousers. The form trio should start up front, and that means Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, and Lukas Podolski.
That the match will be a tense and close encounter, I don’t doubt. Providing nobody gives Suarez the opportunity to suffer another inner ear infection in the box I rather fancy a good old-fashioned 1-0 to the Arsenal, and have plumped for that as the ‘holic pound. Don’t forget Gunners Gaming are still running their competition for Box seats at the Aston Villa home match. Click on the banner above to learn more about how to win this fabulous prize. Thank you.
Ticket Prices Frozen for 2013-14
Most of you will have seen this announcement by now. The timing of the announcement is interesting, given that the Liverpool game went to general sale, and as I type members can still purchase on Ticket Exchange in 22 of 32 lower tier blocks, and all but three upper tier blocks around the stadium. Liverpool on a weekend afternoon may well warrant elevated status. On a cold January Wednesday they are clearly less of an attraction.
Whilst season-ticket holders continue to get reasonable value, those Junior Gunners, silver and red members (yes, and away supporters) most being being squeezed will continue to feel the effects of the cost of attending the Category A matches, and will continue to seethe at the number of empty seats they will see on the live television broadcast.
Whilst any freeze has to be welcomed let us hope that the club will consider looking at using a proportion of the increased television and commercial revenues to ease the burdens on the supporter base that has dug so deep to help the club reach this position. In a world of increasing income from other sources, allied to the annual reporting of profits (albeit as a result of selling the best players), there is a feeling that the club is in a position to achieve the hitherto impossible task of cutting prices for certain groups of supporter whilst correcting the under-investment in the team.
These two things are no longer mutually exclusive.
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