Lots to get through this Monday so let's get to it straight away with "Honest" Theo Walcott. You silly boy Theo. Nobody had noticed any semblance of a dive (perhaps indicating that he is damn good at it) so there was really no need to come out and admit to it - especially as we didn't get a penalty for it anyway. If Theo felt a need to come clean to the Manager or his Arsenal colleagues then fine, but why tell the press? If I was a referee I would be loathe to ever give him a decision again for fear that he was trying to con me. The only reason he hasn't been hung out to dry by the press is because he is English - can you imagine the fallout had Cesc Fabregas come out with something similar? Dimitar Berbatov, who clearly dived yesterday (the only person "fooled" was Howard Webb MBE - remember him?) has kept his mouth firmly shut. Let the public decide if you've dived and never give the opposition any ammunition. Incidentally I have just read that Ryan Babel has been charged by the FA for a Twitter outburst at Webb after what happened yesterday - typical of the FA to punish a player while allowing the (at best) incompetent referee to get away with another season defining error.
Arsene Wenger says he may be forced to sign a centre-back due to a hamstring injury to Sebastien Squillaci. It's unfortunate for Squillaci if he has a problem but, frankly, it's the best news Arsenal could possibly have. I doubt Wenger would be going anywhere near the transfer market if he didn't have to, but if this forces his hand then all the better. Squillaci and Koscielny appear well short of the required standard right now, so a bid for someone with Premier League experience would do me nicely. Phil Jagielka has been mentioned but regular readers will know I prefer Gary Cahill. With Carlos Vela wanted by Bolton on loan, and them being short of money, I would like to see Arsenal make a decent bid for the England man. If it costs £10 million then so be it - if we win the Title then the money is more than worth it. Keep your eye out for the latest on that situation.
The situation that developed at Liverpool on Saturday was very interesting. The Liverpool fans now have their wish and Kenny Dalglish is back in charge and giving unintelligible TV interviews. When he fails I fully expect him to walk away and leave someone else to take the blame - though this time it won't be Graeme Souness (in fairness it won't be his fault this time, but nor is it Roy Hodgson's). At times when a manager is sacked there is always much hand-wringing and genuine sympathy for the departed man. Indeed, Dalglish was generous in the compliments he paid Hodgson. Unlike scummy Sam Allardyce. The northern, walrus-faced toerag sat there on ITV yesterday and said how Hodgson had to go and how it was the best thing all round. There's nothing like standing up for your contemporaries is there? This kind of comment sums up prats like Allardyce who fail to realise that the only reason they are on TV, rather than in a dugout on FA Cup 3rd Round weekend, is that they are shit at their job and are currently unemployed having won nothing. Ever. To me it seemed a blatant attempt to ingratiate himself with Liverpool FC and their supporters, praising them to the hilt for their decisive action against Roy Hodgson, in order to put himself forward for the job. Had he put on a Yosser Hughes wig and moustache he couldn't have said "gissa job" any more clearly.
Talking of failed manager's ITV's other "expert" yesterday was Gareth Southgate. Steven Gerrard was correctly sent-off (give Howard Webb a round of applause for getting a decision right) but Southgate chose to excuse the disgraceful two-footed jump by the Liverpool captain. According to Southgate the foul was made "out of frustration" and, following an aborted (albeit similar had he gone through with it) tackle by Raphael, that "he wasn't going to have his players tackled like that." What utter drivel. It was on a par with Carig Burley dismissing the sending off of Tiote at Stevenage on Saturday night for something almost identical. The fact is that Gerrard has been getting away with these challenges for years and it's about time he suffered some of the consequences. The comments from Southgate are typical of the sycophantic rubbish dished out by studio pundits with regards to those players who get in the England team.
Finally in today's marathon is Thierry Henry. It probably surprises nobody to learn that he is training at Arsenal before he heads back to America for the MLS season. I have no problem with this arrangement whatsoever - the likes of Bendtner, Chamakh, Emmanuel-Thomas, Walcott and co will learn plenty from training alongside the master. To be honest, I'd ask New York Red Bulls if we could loan him for six weeks - he'd do a damn sight better job than people like Arshavin or Rosicky, even if he is well over the hill. Henry's reputation would be enough to scare the life out of defenders in the Premier League - imagine the panic in an opposition defence seeing him appear on the touchline twenty minutes before the end of a game.
The Reserves play at Aston Villa tonight but God knows what sort of line-up they will have out with the Carling Cup semi-final to be played on Wednesday and numerous players out on loan. There's live text commentaryof the Reserves at www.arsenal.com, and I'll be back tomorrow with a preview of the Ipswich game.