Before I leave Monday night behind I would like to say one more thing about "tough-guy" Darren Fletcher. You will recall him getting all puffed up mid-way through the first-half when Jack Wilshere decided to give him some back. The funniest thing, for me, in the whole match was watching Fletcher acting like the big-fella against the much shorter Wilshere, only to go completely Cristiano Ronaldo when Squillaci arrived on the scene. I honestly hadn't seen anyone back off quite so quickly since Ronaldo ran away from the melee in 2003. What a tosser. It's just a shame that the other Arsenal players failed to notice what a cowardly little yellow-belly the Scotsman was and take advantage of it for the rest of the game.
The Arsenal U18s lifted my gloom somewhat last night when I saw their FA Youth Cup result - a six-goal mauling of Darlington. Chuks Aneke grabbed a hat-trick and Benik Afobe (allowed to play for Arsenal despite being on loan at Huddersfield Town) got two. There are high hopes for both of these players at Arsenal, but Afobe seems to be a major talent in the making. He already has three goals in the Football League since joining Huddersfield, and to be loaned out while still so young shows me that Wenger is getting him in to competitive football early on. I know a lot of people scoff at the youth-team doing well and will, quite correctly, say that only the first-team really matter, but if the academy can produce for us a top class goalscorer, or two, over the next five years then it will save the Club millions. I think Afobe is a real "watch this space" talent.
I saw a strange transfer rumour this morning (and transfer gossip is utter crap 99.9% of the time) but this one intrigued me. According to the story Gael Clichy is in line for a swap deal with Karim Benzema. Arsenal have long been linked with the Frenchman and a move involving an Arsenal player who is on a downward spiral has some merit to it. On paper we don't need a striker, but Benzema is clearly a better player than either Vela or Bendtner, so would be an immediate improvement. The loss of Clichy would leave us short on the left side of defence, particularly as our only other left-back (with Traore at Juventus for the season) is the brittle Kieran Gibbs. If Clichy was released, with an experienced man coming in (Leighton Baines is a fine Premier League player at Everton) and Benzema replacing one, or both, of those mentioned, it might just make good business for Arsenal. I strongly doubt it will happen (it's not difficult to doubt a transfer rumour, I grant you) but I wouldn't be against such moves taking place.
The next post will most likely be at some time on Friday, assuming there is nothing of note tomorrow morning/afternoon. I have the office Christmas party tomorrow night so intend to enjoy the mineral water whilst watching other people make complete arses of themselves.