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Q&A with Arsenal Blog The Short Fuse

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Halftime Ice Cream break = brain freeze.  Either that or his job his hanging by a thread.
Halftime Ice Cream break = brain freeze. Either that or his job his hanging by a thread.

Prior to our upcoming match with the RVPs Arsenal, I sat down and exchanged questions that you (well two of you) had with SB Nation's Arsenal blog, The Short Fuse. In exchange for them answering our questions, I also answered a few of their questions in the lead up to our game this Saturday. Below is the exchange. Feel free to comment on it if you want further clarification, perhaps an Arsenal fan or two will pop in to answer it.

If you'd like to check out my answers to their questions, click here.

Thanks again to Ted at The Short Fuse for humoring our questions.

AA: How do you rate the youth at Arsenal? Is Wenger still as reliant ongrowing talent as he used to be since he and/or the board are obviously quite frugal?

TSF: I rate the youth at Arsenal pretty highly. Those now on the fringes of the first team (Frances Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Nico Yennaris, Ignasi Miquel) have all performed well at times for the squad this year, while there are some promising talents on loan currently (Kyle Bartley, Henri Lansbury). There are a few up and comers who also look quite promising (Martin Angha, Oguzhan Ozyakup, Benik Afobe, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Eisfeld). It's still a big part of Arsenal's picture, even as they may look to spend a little more going forward.

AA: How do you and most fans feel about Wenger? Should this be his last season in charge? Do you think it will be? If so, who do you have in mind as a replacement?

TSF: I personally feel he should manage as long as he wants to, even if there are legitimate complaints about how he's done things, especially this year. Nobody really knows how much of that is his own doing, and how much is the board's, and it's been a tough year, but still. The qualities that people take him to task for, such as being stubborn and too loyal (to players on the fringes), are also qualities that can be very positive--such as not being so whimsical that inconsistency stems from it. Tactically, he's very stubborn, and this is sometimes problematic, but overall, I feel he's still the best for the job, even if many supporters do not, reasonably or otherwise.

AA: How confident are you of making the UCL? What is the likelihood that RVP leaves if you fail to make the top 4? (You had to see this question coming.)

TSF: Right now, I personally am, oh, like 50% confident of finishing fourth. This Arsenal team is so inconsistent, it's hard to say. 5-2 against Spurs a week after a 2-0 horrorshow against Sunderland...which was three days after a terrible match against Milan...and then the teams around Arsenal in the table have faltered for stretches...yeah, 50/50 feels about right. If they press like they did against Spurs, I think fourth should be achievable. If they don't, it'll be very hard.

If they fail to make the top four, van Persie could leave. There's no chance he does if Arsenal make the top four, but if they don't, he may start to ask when his last shot at getting a contract from a UCL title contender will come. That being said, he's really settled in London now and has a family there, he loves Arsenal and working with Wenger, money doesn't seem to be a huge concern for him, and he only has Feyenoord DNA, not Barcelona DNA.

AA: Arsenal recently reported profits for the past 6 months but was due largely to sales of Nasri and Cesc, how will FFP play into Arsenal’s future transfer dealings? Do they have any new naming right’s contracts in the works, etc?

TSF: FFP shouldn't affect Arsenal's dealings too much in the future--if anything, the rules would allow them to spend far more than they do right now. Sponsorships are Arsenal's main revenue weakness at the moment, as a club like Liverpool makes about five times what Arsenal do with their new kit contract with Warrior, for instance. I'm terrible at money stuff, though; those interested would be well served to take a look at this piece by Swiss Ramble, who's a genius.

AA: How was the Henry loan perceived by the Arsenal supporters? Will he now get another statue?

TSF: It was brilliant. I'd build him ten statues.

AA: Sorry to bring this up, but what happened in the AC Milan match? Do you think Arsenal has a chance to overcome the 4 goal deficit? Will the derby victory "spur" Arsenal on or was it a fluke?

TSF: Arsenal simply didn't set up tactically to take advantage of Milan's main weakness: defending on the flanks. They also elected to somehow ignore both pressing Mark van Bommel in possession and marking Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Kevin Prince Boateng in possession, giving Milan all the impetus in midfield. Every player had a shocker both technique- and effort-wise. I do think they have a chance to overturn the deficit--I'm far more optimistic about this than are 99.999999% of football fans out there--but it will be a huge shock if they do, considering how well-organized Milan is. Putting four past them without conceding is a huge, huge problem.
The derby victory is not a fluke at all, but whether or not it will spur Arsenal on is impossible to say. They really are unpredictable.

AA: Prediction for the game?
TSF: I like a 1-1 draw; Anfield is just such a tough place to get a lot of goals right now.