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MNF, Swansea and a lil Theo

What is a Monday night without some Arsenal footy, we seem to be on the receiving end of fixture changes recently. FA Cup against United, the game against Hull and now Swansea. Considering all the rest of our domestic games are on Sunday already, who knows if we would be on the end of another fixture shift this season.

Saw a tweet from Arsenal fan that pretty much captures it correctly. He referred to how we always got the 12.45 kick offs when returning from away trips in the champions league. Maybe we could really have done with Monday night games then and not now that we play just once a week.

I have always wondered how playing the last game of the round of games affects players, on one hand, you know the results of other teams and know exactly what you are expected to do, but even this is dependent on your rival’s results. For instance, the race for second, which mental state would be better to be in going to a Monday night game? Knowing Man City have won and the pressure is on you to replicate a similar performance to keep up with them or knowing they has lost and a win for you would see you overtake them. Anyways, there is a reason the word “professional” is added in front of “footballer” when describing EPL players, they certainly would know how to deal with issues of these nature.

I think it’s just a matter of time before Monday night football becomes a regular weekly fixture. We already are scheduled to have Friday night games from 2016 and clubs in the Europa might fancy playing on Monday to give them time to recover. Clubs, The FA and TV companies are in bed together on issues like these that are guaranteed to generate more income and fans are on the lowest level of the chain when decisions are taken.

To more fan related issues , we host Swansea today and like us they are on a good run. I have some affection for Swansea, who wouldn’t? The story of their promotion to the Premier Leagues is amazing, they have a steady ownership and operate a self-sustaining structure, always willing to play good football and have a manager who is an ex-player of the club. My affection for them was slightly dampened when a Flamini own goal helped them manage to pull a draw at the Emirates last season that in my eyes effectively killed our title hopes last season.

We don’t expect too many changes to the squad except what the manager does with our right wing. Speaking to the press Wenger stated

We have an uncertainty about him, he got a big knock on his fibula and we’ll see about that. Yes [ he is 50/50]. No [he hasn’t trained this week], not at all. He has not been out yet.

 Ramsey is an excellent player and has shown his versatility during his stay at Arsenal. The manager certainly sees a lot in him and looks for every opportunity to get him to start for us. I must admit, I was worried the first time I saw Ramsey on the right against Liverpool. I felt it was a one-off tactical move to counter what Sterling had to offer but the fact that he has gone on to hold that position for a longer period has clearly repaid the faith the manager has in him by playing him there.

It gets more complicated when you see Theo on bench, who should be the ideal player for that position. Theo has been back for a little over two months now and we cannot still use of the excuse of him being slowly reintegrated into the team as the reason for him not getting game time. It has to be something deeper than that. The game today would be key, if Theo does start ahead of Ramsey who is supposed to be 50 percent ready and has hardly trained then the hand writing is surely on the wall.

Wenger also recently spoke on Theo,

“I bought him at Southampton when he was 17 because I believe in his qualities as a good finisher and the timing of his runs are very intelligent, “He’s at the best age now. Being 26 to 32 as a striker is the best age as a striker and I wouldn’t like to miss that golden age.

“I think his position will be striker. I work with him in both situations, as a striker and as a wide player. But the quality of the runs is so fantastic with the pace he has. When he was younger he was rushing his finishing but he is a good finisher now.

Like Wilshere, Theo has been with us for so long it is exceedingly hard to see him ply his trade somewhere else and I really hope he gets a run with this team. Like Wenger says, he is at a stage in his career where it has to happen for him, you cannot say Theo blossomed late in his career in the Drogba or Giroud mould as he has always played well when he is fit. He already has played 202 times for Arsenal which is no mean feat. The earlier he sorts out his contract situation the better for him and we have seen with Sterling and Adebayour how off the field issues can dramatically affect performance.

It should be a good game today, Swansea play open football and really haven’t had easy games against them even at the Emirates. Hopefully we come out with the regular, THREE POINTS TO THE ARSENAL!!.

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