Rather than one major story being out there it looks as though there are a lot of little ones, and so please find a summary of what has caught the eye since Sunday.
Nacho Montreal Extends His Contract
Back in June I was lucky enough to meet Nacho at the Puma 2015/16 home kit launch. There is no doubt that last season he blossomed after opening the season as an emergency central defender. So much so that he ensured that the left-back berth became his by right. The mutterings this season that Atletico Bilbao were poised to pounce for his services were a little concerning, so the announcement on Tuesday that Nacho had extended his contract at Arsenal came as a welcome relief. If we are to have title aspirations beyond this season we need to keep our best players, and there is no doubt that the consistent Spaniard is a first team fixture by right. Thank you Nacho.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles On Target
The on-loan youngster started for Ipswich Town at Portsmouth in an FA Cup 3rd round replay and scored an absolute beauty from the edge of the box. Sadly for Ainsley Pompey were two up at the time and held on to record an impressive victory. Go to 38 seconds to see the superb left foot strike.
Theo Celebrates A Decade At Arsenal
Theo Walcott’s arrival at Arsenal as a sixteen year old on January 20th 2006 was a high profile affair, made all the more remarkable during that summer when he was called into the England squad for the World Cup in Germany. In the ensuing decade Theo has enjoyed mixed fortunes, making no less than 30 appearances in each of his first eight full seasons at the club. A serious knee injury sustained against the neighbours in an FA Cup tie would cost Theo the next year, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The form of Olivier Giroud, and a calf injury sustained at Sheffield Wednesday have restricted his appearances again this season. Nonetheless Theo’s record at Arsenal bears scrutiny. He has notched 81 goals in 326 appearances and will surely become a Gunners centurion in the next couple of years. Thanks Theo.
Petr Cech On Fractured Skull
Ahead of Sunday’s big match against the bus stop in Fulham the goalkeeper they so generously gifted us in the summer, Petr Cech, has been talking to arsenal.com about the skull fracture he suffered against Reading, also a decade ago now. If anybody doubted the extent of his recovery then they only have to look at his form this season with the cannon on his chest. There is no doubt he has played a major role in our rise to the top of the Premier League. Let’s hope we are still there on Sunday night, for to achieve that we will almost certainly have to beat his former employers, and watching him one cannot help but get the impression that he would enjoy that every bit as much as the rest of us.
Come back on Saturday for a much fuller preview of the match of the weekend. Thank you.