Morning all.

Theres a full Premier League fixture list tonight, bar one. Arsenal v Man City, which was postponed so that we could play our Europa fixture against PSV Eindhoven tomorrow evening. For once, I think this might work in our favour, not because I think we’re not capable of getting something from a fixture against Man City but because our ‘first team’ players will have had a bit of a breather before heading to Southampton at the weekend. The fixture pileup will catch up with every Premier League club, especially those involved in European competitions. Being in the Europa League is helping our plight because Mikel Arteta has been able to play a second string team barring the odd 2/3 players, whereas the likes of Man City, Totts and Liverpool have according to reports, needed to field strong teams.

A draw against PSV tomorrow night would guarantee a place in the knockout stage because Bodo/Glimt wouldn’t be able to catch us regardless of what happens in their final two fixtures, but there’s no way Mikel Arteta will be thinking about anything other than securing three points which would leave us just one point off from ensuring we end this group phase of the competition in first place. 

Things have changed in a very short space of time for certain players at Arsenal. This time last year, Takehiro Tomiyasu was Mikel Arteta’s first choice right-back and Kieran Tierney, left-back but now, the Scotsman has mainly being playing the Europa fixtures and in the absence of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Tomiyasu has been playing at left-back and playing very well I hasten to add. Ben White was diving into challenges centrally yet now he’s one of the best right-backs in the league. Sambi Lokonga, after starting a number of previous fixtures, dropped to the bench with Pepe filling the numerical deficit. 

I very much doubt life has been tough for Sambi Lokonga since arriving at Arsenal last summer but as those of us who watched ‘All Or Nothing’ know, he wasn’t impressed by his lack of first team opportunities as the season went on. That’s changed this season because of the Europa League and whilst he might think he should be starting In the Premier League, he, just like every other young player in the game, has to be patient. If reports in the Evening Standard as well as other newspapers are genuine quotes from the player, he thought about leaving Arsenal back in the summer.

Honestly, it’s difficult. I’m at one of the best clubs in England. I could have played somewhere else every weekend, but that wouldn’t have been the right solution for me. It’s a personal decision [to stay at Arsenal]. I wanted to give myself another year to stay at Arsenal and then see what happens. At the end of last season, I almost snapped, I called my agent to ask him if staying at Arsenal was a good idea. He comforted me in my choice, even though I know I need to start more often to develop.

I always believe that talking to the media is the worst thing any player can do if what’s he’s got to say is negative about the club or manager. Especially when that manager and club is Arsenal because it’s become very clear that Mikel Arteta won’t hesitate to get rid of any player who isn’t toeing the line. Sambi is clearly a talented player but he’s still young and the best thing he can do is keep working hard, improve and as said, be patient. Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny will very soon need replacing and if Lokonga is smart, he’ll realise the potential is there for him to have a big career at Arsenal. Keep talking negatively to the media though, and the choice of staying in north London or not, might be taken away from him.

Lastly, well done to the Under 21’s who came back from a goal down to beat Northampton 3-1 last night in the Papa Johns Trophy, and good luck to the ladies team who are up against Lyon in the Champions League tonight.

See you in the comments.