Relax. Saliba will be fine. Just not by Saturday.

No, no Emile, it is the crap webites I shush.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole industry dedicated to exploiting, manipulating, and—above all—cashing in on fans’ fears. Our latest installment in How To Pretend To Be A Real News Source comes courtesy of the usual suspects such as The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Metro, and the countless fly-by-night websites that spread like the Cordyceps that spreads across the screen in the pre-credits to The Last of Us. Yes, Saliba is injured. No, he’s not on his deathbed. Relax.

Sadly, like the Cordyceps fungus, these clickbait articles infect too many minds in the same way, turning readers into brainless beasts whose only purpose is to help the original fungus infect even more brains. The original half-baked “article”—which this post, at about 100 words—already exceeds, relies on heavily distorted headlines with lurid, ALL-CAPS WORDS, and peppers those 100 words with a similar number of pop-up ads, interstitials, autoplay embedded videos, invitations to subscribe and receive notifications…and gets thousands upon thousands of pageviews. But I digress.

Ever since news of Saliba’s back injury emerged about two weeks ago, the speculation has been running with all the reckless abandon of a herd of wildebeests that snorted a dozen lines of crack. They have large noses, after all, so they could snort a lot in a short time. The resulting breathless (on account of all the running) reportage has painted a dark portrait of a squad shattering into a million pieces and a club folding in on itself like Sauron after he’s been stabbed by Éowyn except for the part where Sauron is evil because he represents the Arsenal in this particular scenario.

Where was I? Ah, yes—Saliba’s injury. To be clear, injuries are never good, and we’re well-versed with poorly timed injuries that derail campaigns. This is not one of those. Arteta is famously secretive, guarded, and cautious when it comes to player-injuries (something he probably learned during his time as a player here). I’m not saying he’ll surprise Leeds by naming Saliba to the starting XI. I doubt he’ll even make the bench. We’ll probably get a guarded, non-committal answer from Arteta during his prematch presser on Friday.

Until then, it’s probably best to trust Paul Anka on this.

Still here? Good. I’ll be repeating this at the end of posts for the next few weeks: enter a raffle for a £25 Arsenal Direct gift card by commenting. The more often you comment, the better your chances at winning. Yes, I’m trying to think of creative ways to boost engagement and build a community. Don’t like it? Tell me so in the comments-section below (heh heh heh…).

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9 thoughts on “Relax. Saliba will be fine. Just not by Saturday.

  1. Maya

    amen! I cant stand these leeches and parasites that suck the joy out of football. “Just the facts” after all. Saliba will be back when he’s ready. Wenger used to trust the players too much and let them come back from injuries too soon. I trust Arteta to handle this more carefully.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      well-said, Maya. I should have mentioned Wenger’s tendency to trust the players and/or rush them back from injury. I hope you like the new blog layout and have tallied your comment for the raffle…

  2. Eoin ó Conchobhair

    just curious, Jon, how do you justify your own clickbait, ALL CAPS titles from time to time?

    really, though, it’s ridiculous these other sites that make money off of birdcage liner articles that don’t really say anything.

    as for Saliba, I’m not worried. Holding can slot in just fine against Leeds, maybe even against Liverpool as well. I trust Arteta to handle the rotations & injuries just fine.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Hey, Eoin, long time no see. I’d like to think that my dalliances with the ALL CAPS clickbait titles come across as parody or satire followed by (what I hope is) something more substantive than what you’ll get from El Metro and others.

      I will say this: when I lead with that sort of title, traffic to this little blog increases ten-fold if not more. It’s frustrating to put in the time & effort to compose a thoughtful post, proofread it, and then see it get a fraction of the attention that some “ITK” post gets for five minutes of “effort”. I hope I’ve earned the right to occasionally stoop to their level.

  3. palladio43

    There are all sorts of options without Saliba although not they may not be that good. He has Holding or is he still at right back in Tomiyasu’s spot? What about Tierney or even why not put Jakub Kiwior (he needs to be in one of these days)? My concern, although you might chalk it off to rustiness and so much time off, is whether Gabriel Jesus will ever score again. It seems so long ago and, when they speak of lack of confidence, he may soon become the poster child. Little by little clubs are seizing on this and only worrying about Saka or Martinelli. Do we opt for Trossard?

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Well, here’s a blast from the past! Good points made, too. I think we’ll be fine with Holding or Kiwior at CB. Both could use the minutes, and Leeds shouldn’t offer too much resistance even if Bamford is up top. Just give him a Diego Costa mask and tell Holding it’s an FA Cup final.

      As for Jesus, I’ll resist the urge to make religious puns, but I believe he’ll score soon enough. I suspect Arteta is easing him back slowly. Instead of starting, he’ll come on at the 70th minute or so. I do like Trossard starting as CF; he’ likes go get wide to create space for Martinelli to slot in and this disrupts defenders.

      In any case, we really should take all three points and hope that Liverpool get some kind of result to boot.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Certainly for Leeds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make the bench if not start for Liverpool. Should we and they both win on Saturday, that gives us a little more leeway to rest him .

      Congrats by the way on enttering the raffle. Keep the comments coming!

  4. Pingback: Arsenal’s injury crisis? Leeds: Hold my beer. |

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