Arsène Wenger has been playing with my emotions today which I don't take too kindly to. Yesterday we were told that Alexis would be out of tomorrow's north London derby, which I found rather upsetting. As well as we played against Villa it was still a bitter pill to swallow. I mean how lucky could they be to not have Alexis starting against them in both fixtures this season. But in today's press conference, Arsène gave us all a flicker of hope when he said that he would see how the player does today. Judging by Arsène's comments which I'm sure you've read more than once, Alexis is not conceding defeat very easily and is desperate to get on the pitch.
Watching his team mates dismantle Aston Villa at the Emirates would have been a pinch for him I'm sure. When your team play so well and play good football it would pain that you were not a part of that no matter how happy he would have been for the result, so I suspect he is pushing himself further to get back on the pitch, especially in a game that is so important.
As much as we all want him to dribble past three Spurs defenders and smash the ball past Loris Arsène will be thinking about what is most important. Is it worth having Alexis play 60 minutes and then snapping his hamstring again thus putting him out for 4-6 weeks? If his hamstring is not healed properly then that is quite likely to happen. Remember a few years back on the last day of the season we faced Newcastle at St James' Park. The race for 4th went right down to the final day, victory would give us 4th. Mikel Arteta had a thigh injury I think and was clearly not ready to return, whatever his injury was on the day, it flared up and he had to go off. It was the last day of the season so it didn't matter so much but the risk of losing a player for longer is high if you make decisions based purely on emotion.
So with that in mind, I hope he is fully fit physically because we are a better team with him. Our new defensive emphasis allows him to have the freedom to go and win tight games with his brilliance if we need it. But if he isn't fully fit then Arsène has to step in and put his foot down whether the player likes it or not. I want Alexis fit for all the games coming up.
In other Arsène press conference news, the manager confirmed that both Francis Coquelin and Chuba Akpom have signed new deals with the club which is bloody brilliant news if you ask me. Even if you don't ask me it is still brilliant news.
Both players would have had a pretty strong hand going into negotiations. Coquelin could have thought that he only got a chance because no other Midfielders were left so he is going to find another club. Akpom who was also close to the end of his contract could have got a big contract at somewhere like Liverpool and had an easier route to the first team. But Arsène can convince you that you are a dragon in a pink dress and you'd probably start doubting yourself. Not that Arsenal is not the perfect place for the two of them. The manager has been sculpting this squad for a few years now, we've let go of a lot of players and kept a collection of young talents with good characters. Akpom and Coquelin fit this perfectly and hopefully they all grow and develop together into top performers.
Now that Welbeck is back in the squad, it will be interesting to see who is next in line to take the centre forward spot if Giroud comes off or is injured. Will Akpom make the bench tomorrow? All will be revealed soon I guess.
I can't be bothered to write about the Wilshere smoking thing, Yeah I know I am writing about it now. It's boring and not about football so it doesn't interest me very much.
Before I go, I just want to have a quick chuckle at the ridiculous stories in the last few days about Alexis wanting to leave because he is upset that Santi got voted man of the match by the Arsenal fans. Hahahaha! Seriously, is sports journalism really plummeting that low?
Doesn't that open up a completely new can of worms? Why not 'Alexis could eat a poo sandwich because Santi took penalty kick ahead of Chilean'? is there much difference?
What is scary is that it was picked up and copied by all the major sports news outlets. I know the standard isn't high these days but come on, it's got to be some weird in joke or something. I despair, I really do.
Anyway, that's all for today. Back tomorrow with the match preview and all the rest of the match day stuff.