Morning all.

Arsenal’s women battered Liverpool yesterday afternoon at their place. When any Arsenal team beat that lot it’s a reason to be happy in my opinion. Vivianne Miedema scored her first goal since returning from a long spell out injured and what a goal it was too. Admittedly, her shot from distance took a slight deflection but even so, it was a strike of beauty. The second was a tap in for Caitlin Foord after Alessia Russo had hot footed it down the right before playing a lovely ball across the box. Arsenal should have won by a greater margin but Liverpool, well, they never really looked like scoring.

Just like the mens team, they’re in the race for the League title. The men are 5 points adrift of Liverpool, the women, 3 points behind Chelsea. Plenty of time for both teams to catch up or better still, overtake them.

David Ornstein has suggested that Arsenal are interested in Brighton’s transfer target Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Leicester City are rumoured to want £30 million for their English midfielder but Brighton are already deep into negotiations. I’m sure we’d all like to see Arsenal bring a player or two in this month but do we really need another midfielder at this moment in time?

It was only a matter of time before a journalist somewhere linked Mikel Arteta to the upcoming managerial vacancy at Barcelona and the Spanish press have done just that according to The Mail, The Express and probably every other newspaper by now. Well, he has no plans to leave Arsenal at the end of the season Sky Sports News has been told.

Xavi on his Barcelona exit:

To explain a bit better, the feeling of being Barca coach is unpleasant, it’s cruel. You feel that often there is a lack of respect, you feel they do not value your work, and this wears you down terribly. It affects your mental health. I am a positive person but the energy goes down to a point where you think that there is no sense.

Why on earth would Mikel Arteta even want to consider a job at Barca right now? Honestly, he wouldn’t last five minutes in my opinion. Not because he’s a bad manager but expectations would be very different there. Fans demand silverware, the board too and if things get messy, no, not Messi, he’d be out the door. A bit like Graham Potter at Chelsea. There’s no promising jam tomorrow because it has to be on the table by teatime today! A five year plan at Barcelona probably doesn’t even exist because only yesterday’s result matters.

I strongly suspect Mikel Arteta’s pre Nottingham Forest press conference today will be different to what he might have expected 24 hours ago as the Barca rumours will be put to him. All eyes will be on his response and how he delivers it. Regardless of what he says, someone will twist his words I’m sure. Or perhaps his right eye will twitch when he says he’s staying at Arsenal because doesn’t that involuntary eye movement indicate a person is lying? Or is it the left eye, I’ve forgotten.

The only thing I’m interested in ahead of Mikel Arteta’s press conference is whether or not Declan Rice and Gabriel have recovered from their injuries because I couldn’t see either of them in the training photographs. Also, will Thomas Partey be in the squad having been involved training this week. Partey must be desperate to get back out on the pitch again. I know I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again because he’s such a big presence in the team.

It’s non stop football now until the next international break in the middle of March. 10 fixtures in just over a 6 week period starting with Nottingham Forest tomorrow night. More on that and Mikel Arteta’s press conference tomorrow.

Catch up in the comments.