I hope everyone has been enjoying our victory over the swamp dwellers at the weekend as much as I have been. Somehow it just makes the start of the week so much better. But with footballs relentless schedule our time to bask in that particular glory is fading as we look ahead to our game on Thursday.
We’ve already done the hard bit in Athens, a 3-1 victory with 3 away goals has put us in a very healthy position going into this. On the face of it this represents a very good opportunity to rest some key players and hope that we do our job well enough to not need them. Personally I think if we score that should be it. So I expect heavy rotation from Arteta.
The one thing that I am curious about is what he does with Aubameyang tomorrow. We know that he was set to start in the North London Derby but was dropped for being late. It seems extreme to think this is a one off thing but it was a bold call for Arteta for a number of reasons, not the least that should we have lost he would’ve come under heavy fire. But having swerved that issue the more long term one remains. How will Aubameyang respond? At full time on Sunday he immediately jumped back in his Ferrari and left. It’s good in some ways to see a player annoyed about being left out but it also needs to be put to bed quickly. This is a real test of Arteta’s man management skills, if Aubameyang continues to strop and this has damaged his relationship with the manager then it will be a big own goal.
I think Aubameyang will be included tomorrow night in some way. I think he’ll get some time on the pitch and the best way to put all of these stories to bed is to put in a shift on the pitch. Make no mistake though, alongside the match itself, everyone will be watching the interactions between the manager and our star forward. Only time will tell.