Good morning. I mean, I’m sure it’s good for some people but I will have to admit that there is a significant measure of *boilk* round these parts. Also, the sky looks like the kind of sky you’d see in a nuclear winter, so it’s an inauspicious start to the day. At least the puppy is racketing around chewing on things and making lots of noise so someone’s happy.

Arsenal take on Huddersfield at the Emirates today in what you might describe as a bread and butter game. Well, you would if you could think of a way to describe games against Sp*rs and Man United which fit into that food based metaphor but unfortunately I can’t because [refer readers to paragraph 1, line 2].

With Rob Holding’s cruciate knee ligament confirmed, ruling him out for the rest of the season, I suspect Unai Emery will revert to a back four today. We’re not replete with options at centre-half so trying to squeeze three of them into the side today would be tricky enough anyway. Sokratis and Mustafi will likely be the men at the back, which means an extra man further forward in midfield.

Granit Xhaka, who my Albanian taxi driver last night spoke fondly of on the way home (I think), returns from suspension and should come straight back into the team. Mesut Ozil was in the training pictures yesterday so he ought to be in contention and Huddersfield at home is the perfect kind of game for him. I seem to recall him taking this game by the scruff of the neck last season and after almost a month without playing he should be nice and fresh assuming the manager calls on him and his back is ok.

Up front, I wonder if we might give Aubameyang a rest and play Lacazette. We could use both, of course, but doing that leaves us with little on the bench should we need it. The absence of Danny Welbeck continues to reverberate, his versatility made him a real asset, and took some of the burden off the other two. With Aaron Ramsey also set to miss out today because of the ankle injury he picked up at Old Trafford, our options are pretty limited. It’s Iwobi or Mkhitaryan, or both, and we need them to produce.

The game on Wednesday at Old Trafford may have been frustrating for some, and Unai Emery says:

The draw is only good if we win against Huddersfield. We must work, prepare, respect, push with our supporters at the Emirates and feel the spirit with them.

And off the back of a fantastic atmosphere for the North London derby, the boss is calling for more of the same again today, saying of the fans:

We are working for them, they can be happy with us and proud of our work, with our victories. But every day you need to create a new feeling and Saturday, we want to give them the same energy and be connected with them. If we do that, they will respond with the same energy for us.

It’s a novelty 3pm kick off on a Saturday afternoon, so that’s something we’ll have to contend with but if we can produce a performance that comes close to matching the intensity of our last home game, then you have to be confident we can take all three points. It’s a simple equation:

Intensity of our last home minus the stupid mistakes at Old Trafford = 3 points.

As Pythagoras said, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Which would be completely relevant if we were a triangle but we’re not. I picture Arsenal as a hendecagon, but let’s not argue over shape until we see which formation Unai Emery sends him team out with today.

As ever, we’ll have live blog coverage for you, and all the post-match stuff on Arseblog News.

Not a lot else going on unless you want to pay attention to the story doing the rounds yesterday which emanated from The Sun. I don’t think emanated is the right word when it comes to that particular publication. Oozed, perhaps. Discharged. Excreted. I don’t know.

Look, players need to be professional and live their life to high standards when it comes to their recreational activity. We all know and understand that, but I thought it was quite interesting that despite a few comments here and there criticising them for having a bit of a jolly, most people were absolutely united in their opinion: which is that The Sun can stick it up their noxious, repellent, tabloid bum. When the story is picked up in sections of foreign media reporting than the Arsenal players were doing actual crack then it shows how irresponsible the reporting is.

There seems to be a really good spirit among the group this season, and while you wouldn’t want them to go round chuffing gas as a matter of course, we’re in the middle of a 20 game unbeaten run and when you see a story like this you need to ask why it’s being published. Critical thinking is important. A simple answer might well because The Sun are a bunch of c*nts, and there’s no need to think about it any further. Which is exactly what I’m going to do. Or not do. Whichever.

The final word on that particular story is here. Right, I’m going to go out into the actual air with the dogs and I’ll catch you later for the game.

Episode 504 – Best Fran Merida


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