Southampton’s journey to the EFL Cup Final has robbed us of a weekend fixture so the internet is rife with speculation rather than much hard news. Injuries continue to be the most tangible snippets out there. Reports that Santi Cazorla is out for the remainder of the season will surprise few, but it is desperately sad news for the Gunners who it’s fair to say have missed him a lot since he went in the fetlock back in October. Let’s hope he can recover fully and return to complete a full season 2017/18.
Out for three weeks is Mohamed Elneny just as it looked as though he might be making a regular starting spot his own. The timing could not be worse for him with Aaron Ramsey thought to be on the cusp of returning to training. Laurent Koscielny is also expected to be back in full training prior to the visit to Anfield on Saturday week.
The midfield has been seriously misfiring in recent weeks and it will be interesting to see if we can repair the area of the team that is so crucial to the football that Arsene Wenger wants to play. Numerous combinations have been tried and it may well be that we are about to see a fairly settled spell of Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, if they can avoid the twin threats of further injury and suspension.
I prefer to steer clear of speculation but there have been more reports following the Mundo Deportivo revelation yesterday that Hector Bellerin remains Barcelona’s number one defensive target in the summer. The article suggested that Barca hope Hector may agitate for a move away from the club should Arsene Wenger leave at the end of the season. I’m sceptical as he signed a new long-term deal, reported to be over six years, in October. He has also said repeatedly he is happy at Arsenal. I’m keeping my glass half full on this one.
Finally Arsenal.com carried an interview with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain today talking about the importance of the supporters getting behind the team. He also shows appreciation of the fact that the team having to lift themselves as well.
“People have been doubting us and it’s important that we pick ourselves up to try to turn the tide into a more positive one. Our fans are great home and away. They’re very loud so we hear them when they’re happy and we hear them when they’re frustrated, but that’s part and parcel of being at a massive club like Arsenal.”
Every day it seems that one player or another is making all the right noises, and hopefully for the remainder of the season we can produce a run of improved form and results that will deliver a greater unity around the club.