11 October 2013

Pobga, Khedira, Llorente, Song, Sanabria, Guzan...

I'm almost afraid to reveal the findings of my top-secret, spy-vs-spy, international intrigue, undercover operation—but I have to. I'm not proud of what I've had to do to unearth this earth-shattering secret, but after all I've been through—the costumes, the bribes, the double-dealing, the compromising situations from which I've narrowly escaped with my dignity if not my sense of self intact (don't ask me about that night in Stuttgart when my fraulein costume very nearly failed me)—I have to. I owe it to you, faithful reader, to divulge this ghastly discovery, hoping that it will not shake you to your very core. We're only six days removed from our last match, only six day in to the interlull and eight days still to pass before our next match, eight days to fill with something, anything related to Arsenal, however vague or tenuous.

Therefore, gentle reader, I hope you are sitting down. I have prepared smelling salts and a fainting couch should you need them, but I have wasted enough of your time already. For this I apologize. Here, forthwith, are my shock-findings: the interlull exists [inhales deeply and steadies self by placing hand on desk. Readers will notice that the palm slides slightly due to a nervous sweat that has formed] to make...money.

I'll give you a moment. I know it's a lot to take in. Do you need the salts? Very well.

I'm not referring to FIFA or Blatter or these others. They're penny-ante players in this game. The larger game being played includes characters even more nefarious, even more dastardly and underhanded. It's the tabloids and second-string blogs that link us to Pogba or Llorente, that suggest that Alex Song wants a return to Arsenal, or that we're pursuing Barcelona starlet Antonio Sanabria. It's they who have hijacked the league season, creating for themselves a two-week period during which we, craving Arsenal news, will click on anything that has "Arsenal" in its headline, no matter how preposterous. Blatter and his boys are patsies, I tell you. Patsies! They're unwitting pawns, moved around like so many pawns on a chessboard by the real movers and shakers out there, shadowy figures who ply their "breaking news" and "exclusive" updates. Now that I've lifted the veil, there's no turning back. I just hope I can continue my intrepid reporting before the hired goons squeeze my spine into an accordion, and play a polka on me with brass knuckles.

So Alex Song wants out. Fine. Good for him. We don't need him, and even if we did, I'm not sure I'd want him back. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is open to offers for Paul Pgoba? My stars. There's mutterings about us pursuing Brad Guzan, Sami Khedira, and Fernando Llorente, all of which makes as much sense as predicting the weather four months out. Before any signings could be made official, we have no less than 17 matches to play, so there's plenty of time for thumb-twiddling and rumor-mongering.

In terms of actual news, of course, we have the good news that Rosický has been dropped from the Czech Republic's matches, the somewhat more-worrying news that Koscielny has picked up a calf injury, and the sensational news that Wilshere may be dropped from England's qualifier against Montenegro. I say "sensational" in the double-sense that (a) it's still in the sensationalist, unconfirmed stage and (b) this would be great news for him. He's taken a beating in the press after they set him up as a straw-man to be knocked down, and I think he could afford a bit of incognito-time, not to mention rest. Beyond that, it's slim-pickin's. Cazorla may be back to face Norwich, and as tantalizing as it is to imagine he and Özil together, we'll have to wait and see.

Between now and then, there's very little to distract. Ireland, much as my heart belongs to them, look to get railroaded by Germany tonight. Here's a quick run-down of other Gunners' commitments:

  • England v. Montenegro: Gibbs will start, but Wilshere may be dropped.
  • England U-21 v. San Marino U-21: Jenkinson got his first U-21 call-up for Thursday's match.
  • Ukraine v. Poland: Szczesny and Fabianki will travel to face Ukraine but will likely watch from the bench.
  • Germany v. Ireland: Per and Özil have been named to the squad
  • France v. Australia: Giroud and Kos have been named to the squad, but Kos may not play.
  • Croatia v. Belgium: Vermaelen has been called up.
  • Wales v. Macedonia: Ramsey is in the squad.
  • Spain v. Belarus: it looks like only Monreal is in the squad as Spain's crowded midfield continues to ignore Arteta. 
  • Denmark v. Italy: Bendtner has been called up, but with Denmark needing to win here, he may not feature. I'd like to see him get time on the pitch to force him back to fitness.
  • Ghana v. Egypt: Frimpong travels to face Egypt (unless the venue is changed due to the deteriorating security situation in Cairo).
Safe travels and best of luck to all of them, of course. Until next time, thanks for stopping by. Before you go, please consider voting for Woolwich 1886 in the Football Blogging Awards' "best new blog" category. You can click here to here to vote via twitter or here to receive an email ballot. Thanks!