Injuries are, once more, the order of the day. Well, it wouldn’t be Arsenal really if they weren’t.
Cesc’s hamstring, you know, the evil one, has flared up again and while his removal from the squad for the trip to Shakhtar is being touted as precautionary rather than necessary you can’t help be concerned, especially when there is a ‘should’ attached to his availability for the weekend as well.
If I’m not mistaken, bar the broken leg at the end of last season, it has been hamstrings which have well, hamstrung our captain for quite a few matches – 5 and a half already this season with tomorrow’s making that 6 and half. Given that we’ve only played 15 matches, that’s more than a third of the season missed already. When you add in the time needed to return to fitness and form his hamstrings are indeed becoming a real concern.
There are also doubts over Song (calf), Denilson (groin) and Arshavin (midgititis). I joke about Arshavin but is it telling that the official site lists what is wrong with Cesc, Denilson and Song but simply says Andrei has a ‘little problem’? I hate it when Wenger uses that term ‘little’ – Vermaelen had a ‘little’ achilles problem remember? That was 12 matches ago.
Am I doubting Arshavin is injured? Well, I guess I am. For a start, as I’ve said, there is no mention of what the injury is and we can all agree his form has been patchy this season at best. He did work harder than he has done all season at the weekend and perhaps he needs a rest. Giving him it is no bad thing.
Hot on the heels of his ‘reported’ outburst yesterday the official site have moved to place Chesney plum centre on the home page where he talks about being ready to take whatever opportunity that comes his way. He is also critical of his performance early on against Newcastle, something you don’t normally hear from Arsenal goalkeepers. He said:
“I wasn’t quite there against Newcastle, there were obviously a couple of decisions I could have done better on, but I’ll put that down to inexperience and overall I think I’ve shown what I’m capable of.
“The match against Newcastle was a chance to prove myself to the boss, the fans and my team-mates as well. You don’t get to see goalkeepers in training, we have to play games. I’m really happy I finally got that chance.
“There’s a big difference between being on the bench and on the pitch – unless you’re actually playing people don’t really know what you’re about.”
The theme is still there – ‘unless you’re actually playing’
I know Wenger can have his moments of madness, he has demonstrated that very well at times, but it would be completely insane to reinstate Almunia ahead of Pole the Younger. Should he retain his place at number two that should be enough to see him re-sign.
I was asked in the comments yesterday just how I can justify saying that the Pole is as good as Cesc (relatively speaking) and I can’t. All I can say is give it time. It’s the same as when we first saw Jack, you just knew there was something different, something special about him, and a few years on we are seeing that come to fruition. Szczesny hasn’t been given that opportunity yet, but if he is, you will see that he is to goalkeeping what Cesc is to midfielders, or Jack is to the future of English football.
We all make judgement calls, how else do you state what you think a player is going to be like in the very near future unless you have a time machine? If you can’t see that Chesney is the future of goalkeeping, I can’t help you. If you can’t recognise that letting him go would be the same as letting Cesc leave at 18/19/20 then again, there is nothing I can do to change your mind or show you the error of your ways. You will have to wait.
And hope, along with the rest of us that he re-signs.
To those saying he is blackmailing the club I implore you to reconsider that viewpoint. He is a phenomenal talent and said no more than Jack did when he returned from Bolton – I want to play, play me or I will try and get my football elsewhere (on loan). I don’t remember Jack being accused of such treachery at the time (perhaps I missed it). Would you have been happy to say to Jack ‘You’re 18, bide your time, sit in the reserves, and if you don’t like it tough?’ Would you have been surprised if a player of his ability forced a move for more football if that had been the case?
The same applies here.
In ‘better’ news, Samir ‘Na na na na na’ Nasri has been voted ESPN PFA Fans Player of the Month for October and you can’t argue with that in the slightest. Seven in seven as well as match-running performances and the Marseille Magician is showing just why he was brought to Arsenal. I never understood his doubters last season, but hopefully they’ve all had a rethink.
Well done Sami.
After I had written the above I had the chance to watch Wenger’s press conference where he said that he didn’t not understand where the Szczesny comments came from as they are still in negotiations over a new deal and he believes it will all be sorted out soon.
Panic over then?
With the travelling squad still not confirmed I will have a look at that tomorrow, apparenlty the JET and Eastmond have travelled, but until then, I’m off to see a woman about some tshirts.
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