All season we’ve been talking about our game in hand, and it seemed on Wednesday we could finally get it out of the way. Snow and ice intervened, however, so we’re still a game behind our rivals as we head into a busy period.
However, fate is allowing us to catch up, at least on Chelsea – their game at Hull is one of six Premiership matches already called off this weekend. Only two remain today, the visit of Everton to the Emirates and United’s trip to Birmingham. Given the forecast in the Midlands, the latter is still in danger.
To say it is brisk outside would be an understatement – not only are the temperatures stuck around freezing, but the wind has whipped up. It truly is one of those days where blocking a shot with your thigh will sting for the rest of the afternoon. Something tells me Vermaelen in particular will relish it, crazy fool that he is.
As for team news, Wilshere is out but it has been confirmed that Bendtner is only two weeks away from fitness, meaning he should be available for the crunch run of games that start at the end of the month. Rosicky is also available this afternoon, but is likely to be on the bench, with Ramsey getting the nod in midfield.
Being January, the papers are also filled with transfer rumours. Some have basis in reality, and some are dreamt up by reporters,desperate to fill column inches. Wenger was candid in yesterday’s press conference, dismissing links to Carlton Cole and Victor Moses, claiming Gignac was an interest but too expensive, while hinting that Campbell may yet sign a short term contract.
You can see why the media enjoy press conferences with the boss – he certainly feeds them plenty of information, which makes it even more unnecessary to pad out their papers with constant Cesc-leaving stories.
But a new signing is still a distance away, and while Wenger rules out a number of names, you have to imagine he has a private shortlist he keepsvery quiet. And there is every chance that the list contains defenders rather than the forwards the press seem so convinced we’re going for. With Senderos frozen out, the need for a centre back is paramount, and Wenger knows it – he likes to have four, and he knows even with a fit Djourou we are one short.
I think we’ll make a move by the end of the month, but I’d be willing to bet the player signed will not be one we’re currently hearing about.
Back to this afternoon, and Everton are a trickier proposition than on the opening day. Lescott was on his way out, the team was full of uncertainty, and we destroyed them. But there is no reason why we can’t pick up another three points today, moving to within one of Chelsea. It is a tantalising prospect.
Enjoy the game.