First things first and my apologies for getting a few of the scores wrong in yesterday’s blog, I have no excuse. I will say that I wrote that bit at about 3 in the morning after a few of Amsterdam’s finest and that it didn’t impinge on the point I was trying to make, but I was still wrong.
There, I said it. Can we move on now?
A point that I think was lost amongst my negativity over the past few days was that I was not intending to detract from our win, nor, as I said, do I think that this side is bad in any way. I have supported them over the past few years when many were writing them off and screaming for wholesale changes. I have stood behind players when practically no-one who supported Arsenal ever wanted to see them take to the field again.
I have not all of a sudden started doubting this team, far from it. What I’ve seen this year tells me that they have had a mentality adjustment. I just think it could do with a tweak from time to time.
Anyways. No more time for dwelling on that when we have a Champions League match on its way is there? Chalk it down to a bad weekend on my part and let’s put it behind us. The chocolates and flowers are in the post, if you don’t get them, take it up with Royal Mail.
Ahead of the trip to the Ukraine, ex-Arsenal favourite Eduardo has been speaking to UEFA. It would be fantastic to be able to report what he said but whatever way you try and access the article on the official site all you receive for your efforts is a blank page.
It’s a pity as I love hearing what he has to say.
The snippet that I was able to glean from the extract on the main page was that he was warning us about being complacent (very nice of him) and also speaking about the mixed reactions he had upon scoring at the Emirates two weeks ago. Beyond that you will have to make the rest up yourself I’m afraid.
There are some mixed reports coming out regarding Cesc’s ability to play due that pesky hamstring (shakes fist while growling) with some outlets saying he’s fit to travel and play and others saying they aren’t quite that sure. Throw in to the mix that Song seems to have a bit of a problem (altitude sickness from being too far up the pitch perhaps?) and you start to say ‘thank feck our 18 year old Jack is back.’
A Jack that will be playing will an all new bumper contract which ties him to the club until who knows when (probably 2015 although that hasn’t been confirmed). On signing his new deal, Jack said:
“Arsenal Football Club has been like a second home for me and my family since I was nine years old. To be offered a new contract means everything to me.”
He is a player who, despite only being 18, has already been at Arsenal for the guts of 10 years. There is no reason why he can’t spend his entire career with us. Superb news.
In concerning news it seems that Chesney’s contract negotiations have stalled with the young Pole refusing to discuss extending his deal until he is given assurances that he will get game time between now and the end of the season.
While it would be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to this (who me?) it is worth noting that all he is asking for is game time. He has said:
“There was some offers, but I am not interested right now. It’s not that I don’t want to extend the contract, I just don’t want to hold talks at this point. I have enough money to live and I can’t complain about that, but I will only be happy if I play.”
“Everything depends on how many games I play. I admit that I want to play at Arsenal as long as they want me. If I can earn my place in goal I won’t even consider any other offers.”
Pay attention to that last paragraph, and can you really blame him? Let’s look at it, this way, regardless of your age, how would you feel if someone of the competence level of Almunia was seen as ahead of you and more likely to get chosen? How would Cesc have felt if, at 20 he had to sit on the bench or in the reserves while we continued to field Denilson (poor comparison, Almunia is a worse standard of keeper than Denilson is a bad midfielder but you get my point).
So what are our options? Do we give in to his ‘demands’? Well I say we do. Why? What are our other options? Let the best goalkeeping talent in Europe walk away on a free because we’d rather play Almunia? There is no doubting that Chesney is at worst the second best keeper at the club and a very strong argument could be made that he is the best.
Please don’t tell me it doesn’t matter about Chesney as we have Mannone, that really is the goalkeeping equivalent of letting Cesc go because we have Denilson (and I don’t mean to disparage Denilson, a player I like and rate, but compared to Cesc, well, he doesn’t really, but then who does). Mannone is far from the answer and I would be willing to stake money on him not making it Arsenal. Chesney has the talent to make it at any club in the world. Give the Carling Cup, FA Cup and any ‘dead rubbers’ in the Champions League.
We need to keep players like that.
Thank you to Young Guns Blog for breaking in this story.
Speaking of Denilson, and given some of the comparisons I’ve made above, it should be only fair to point out that Wenger has been saying had it not been for Denilson then we would likely not be seeing the all-new Songinho. It is the actual Brazilian’s ability to hold when our defensive midfielder goes rampaging up the pitch which has ensured that breakaways, the kind of which we have witnessed all too frequently over recent seasons have been cut out.
I get that people don’t like him, I can see why, his languid style irks many a fan, but there is always one player in the team who becomes the ‘whipping boy’ – the one fans love to hate. For a while it was Eboue, now it seems it is Denilson, but I believe he is a far more valuable member of the squad than many will give him credit for.
“Song changes when he plays with Denilson because Denilson plays more of a holding role and he [Song] goes forward more,” said Wenger.
“I don’t stop him because Denilson sits naturally. After the change with Samir Nasri [when Denilson was substituted and Nasri moved to a central role], I was concerned that we could get caught on the break because Song kept going and Nasri goes as well. On two or three occasions we were a bit short in midfield.
“Song wants to get forward. Sometimes defensive midfielders just want to defend but it’s not his only role and he does [attack] well in fairness.”
Will he become good enough to be a first team starter like Cesc? I don’t know. He is only 22 remember and competing against Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, Diaby and Song (not forgetting Ramsey when he’s back) for a place in there. It’s going to be tough, but if he keeps on improving the way he has he won’t be far off.
You might want to watch this great video by TacticalReenog showing the great work of our midfield:
Which brings us nicely on to Aaron who Wenger has said will need at least a month with the reserves after he returns to training this Friday before he’s ready for the first team. That’s understandable. If an upside can be found for the horrendous leg breaks we have suffered as a club then it is that we have learnt how best to bring players back from such serious injuries as well as what not to do. You could point to the length of time it has taken Diaby to get back from his (some might even argue that he still hasn’t fully recovered) and Eduardo having to be moved on, but each player is different and there can be no doubt over Aaron’s mental strength. Well, that’s what the club are telling us.
Timing is everything in football and it seems as if Aaron could be back and in contention for our home game against Stoke on 18th December if everything goes to plan. Even if it does, how about we leave him out? Then again, would you want to make a statement against the Neanderthals of the north? It’s a nice thought, but the thought of Aaron back on one pieve and staying that was is an even nicer one.
And with that, I’m off. See you tomorrow for a closer look at the match against Shaktar.
Interesting from Twitter:
RT @Orbinho: Cesc Fabregas has made 10 successful through balls – more than any other Premier League player this season.
RT @Orbinho: Arsenal have fired in more shots on target (70) than any other team in the Premier League.
RT @jack_wilshere: So happy to sign new long term contract at the club I love! Hopefully for some trophies now!
RT @jack_wilshere: Dreams can come true…..night Twitter (sent last night prior to today’s announcement)
RT @Gingers4Limpar: Off-topic, Ryan Sh*wcross completed 6 passes in 90 minutes against Everton. Seriously – 6. One every quarter of an hour. (get your F**K STOKE Tshirt by clicking the link below)
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