Can we just play West Ham every week? It's hilarious to think that Big Sam once thought that his teams were Wenger's bogey opponents.

Now, the only bogey is the one dripping from Sam's nose as he cries while looking at West Ham's recent record against us.

Playing West Ham of late has been like Christmas come early with Big Sam playing the role of a beer drinking, foul mouthed Santa slipping 3 points under the Arsenal Xmas tree. Big Sam in a Santa suit. What a sight that would be.

We digress.

Giroud the beautiful

Taking this Christmas tree metaphor somewhat too far, based on Saturday, Giroud is the star at the very top. His overall play on Saturday was as perfect as that jawline of his, which looks like it's been sculpted by the hands of a great god.

If there's one thing that Giroud likes (apart from looking at himself in the mirror and yelling OH YES), it's a flick. When they don't come off, he does look like a bit of an uncoordinated, yet beautiful, donkey. When they do, he looks like an elegant swan, perfectly prancing across a still salt lake.

On the up

It seems results, barring a few anomalies, have improved since a number of our players have returned from injury. Obviously adding the quality that Ozil, Sanchez, Koscielny and the rest possess is a positive thing. Even Jamie Redknapp can see that.

But it seems that competition for places is the real driver behind our surge up the table.


When Wenger was asked by journalists about who is likely to start against Monaco, he responded with 'you do well not to ask me.'

Now, a lot is made of having a strong squad rather than just 11 adequate players. The ability to rotate gives you the opportunity to keep players fresh and it also means you can tailor your line up to the opposition you’re facing.

However more importantly, competition keeps players motivated. If you're a player that doesn't adequately perform, you know there's someone lurking in the shadows like Kolo Toure peering through a steamy shower, waiting to step in.

If you're one of those players waiting on sidelines, when you get your chance to shine, you try to take it. The strongest characters thrive in these circumstances.

It's true that sometimes players grow frustrated in such a system, and can become alienated. Podolski is evidence of that.

But I would suggest that if a player isn't willing to fight and improve in order to be picked (or continue to be picked) then they clearly lack the mental toughness that you need at this level. When players are picked on merit rather than reputation, competition creates the best results and only the mentally weakest want to jump ship - no big deal if they do.

The Invincibles were made up of a group of winners, clearly. But more importantly that team was made up of fighters willing to battle for a starting spot. It's unbelievable to think a player of Edu's quality wasn't guaranteed a start at the time.

Walcott worry

It's for that reason that Walcott's contract situation doesn't bother me too much. It would be painful to have invested so much time and effort in watching Walcott run into things for years only for him to depart when he should be paying us back.

Like a girl that you go out with for years, only for her to dump you after she's aged like a fine wine. But frankly, if Walcott isn't willing to stay and fight for his spot, then he doesn't have the type of character that I want to see in our club.

Tomorrow will perhaps give us an insight into how mentally tough this group of players is. Pass it, and well, I will likely become mentally unstable.

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