Morning all.

Liverpool dropped three points against Leicester City last night which is not only great for Man City, but the rest of the clubs floating around the top four too. As was Southampton, playing with ten men from the 39 minute mark, holding Toots to a draw.

There is now just six points between Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and we still have to play both clubs. I know there’s a big difference between going to Ellen Road and Stamford Bridge, but Arsenal should look at that table and believe that hunting down second spot is doable. Beat Man City on New Year’s Day and… ok, I’m getting carried away.

The club has a decision to make, although I’d like to think they’ve already made it and that’s whether to stick with the squad they have until the end of the season, or add to it in January. It has to be the latter surely? Speculate to accumulate and make sure that this time, the top four in May has Arsenal’s name in it.

The three clubs above us have Champions League fixtures to focus on in a few weeks time and two of the three below us, have Europa League fixtures to get through and at least one postponed fixture to fit in. As do we, along with a two-legged League Cup semi-final. Plus, the FA Cup kicks off next month.

Whilst the fixtures have been hectic over the festive period, January is set to be even more busy for Arsenal with six matches in 22 days. If we beat Notts Forest in our first FA Cup fixture of this campaign then we’ll have another match on the 5th February but if not, we’re scheduled to have a two week break. That’s if Covid-19 doesn’t cause more postponements which I’m sure it will.

Granit Xhaka has been talking about the current captaincy situation and according to The Athletic, has said:

At the moment Laca is our captain and I am more than happy for him. He is a very important person for us on and off the pitch. He is a lovely boy. He has a lot of respect from other players and a lot of experience over the years. I believe you need a player like this: He is always here. He is never too late. A lot of discipline. He is a funny guy. He is very open and you can speak with him whenever you want. I believe at the moment he is the right person to be our captain.

If ever I read a sly dig at a fellow teammate, it’s in the above statement. Lacazette has discipline, he’s not late and he’s clearly well respected. I know Xhaka had his issues when wearing the armband but I hope by now, The Emirates faithful have forgiven him a tad and if reports about the atmosphere with the ground are anything to go by, perhaps many of them have. Berating players during a game does the team no good whatsoever.  Mikel Arteta has the fans right behind the team and that’s how it’ll stay all the time the team/squad are giving their all.

Long term though, Mikel Arteta will need to appoint a different captain as Lacazette will be gone. That’s for another day though, another year too. For now, all we can ask for is more of the same from the Frenchman.

As for Xhaka, well he reflected on his own time as captain under Unai Emery and how there’s still a way back for Aubameyang:

I have been in this situation and I know how he is feeling, Mine is a different story, with different problems to Auba. Sometimes, maybe, this is not a step back but is a step forward. I think Auba is strong enough and has enough experience to be back and to be better than before.

I believe everything happens for a reason. It doesn’t have to be something to bring you down. You have to think positive and believe you can turn it around. I believe he can. I had some very, very dark days and nights. Everyone can run away. That’s so simple, you open the door and walk out. But I was never that type of person. I knew I was the right person for this football club. I want to give them something. I will do everything for this football club to win games and with a lot of passion.

Xhaka has his faults, plenty of them but can any of us honestly say that he ever looks like he’s not trying to help the team? Would we be better with a quicker, stronger and more dynamic midfielder instead of him? Yes, I’m sure we would but are we better, with the squad as it is, with him in the team than we are without him?

That’s the million dollar question….

Guys, the next couple of weeks are a bit crazy for me so posts are likely to be few and far between. I’m sure you’ll chat amongst yourselves though, it’s what you good people do.

See you in the comments.