It has finally arrived. Arsenal day. All across the Gooner nation people are awaking from their internationally-induced slumber with smiles on their faces as they think about watching the only team they actually care about. Of course, just to tease us a little bit more, we have to wait until 5.30pm GMT for our kick-off, but sometimes, the waiting just makes it that much sweeter. This isn’t one of those times. But it could have been.
Our troops arrived back from their far-flung travels in various conditions. Koscielny will miss out after, well I’m not entirely sure what happened to him. He collided with Ribery’s knee in training, was ok to play in a meaningless friendly and then wasn’t ok. At least it solves Wenger’s ‘how the hell do I drop my captain’ dilemma.
Theo is still out with his bruised lung after being poleaxed by that crazy-assed keeper which is a real shame as he was becoming to substitutes what the Road Runner was to Wily Coyote – fast as feck with something to show for it at the end.
Fabianski, who was not on international duty, clearly felt like he was missing out, so after slipping on the ankles he found left lying around the dressing room when one Robin van Persie departed for traitor-land, he has managed to tear them up enough that he’ll be out for around three months. With Szczesny still out, lost in the Bermuda triangle of ‘two to three weeks’ it is to Vito Mannone we turn once again.
There is, of course, good news on the injury front. Despite Arsene saying that Jack wouldn’t be back until the Reading game in the Capital One Cup, his agent tweeted to let us al know that he’d been included in the squad which will travel to Carrow Road. I’m not overly sure why we need to include him, but I’m going to guess that the Arsenal medical team know more about his readiness than any of us do. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that he has been out for 15 months and that, when he first picked up his injury he didn’t bother telling anyone about it, as we all scream and giggle that we are looking at the very real possibility of an Arteta-Cazorla-Wilshere midfield sometime in the very near future. But caution is urged people. Niggles and strains will be par for the course of his return, we’ve seen this with Eduardo, Diaby, Rosicky and Ramsey after their long-term layoffs. Rosicky, incidentally, is just a fortnight away from joining in with the rest of the team as well.
Norwich sit in the drop zone, one place above the bottom with three points from their seven games and they’ve yet to register a win this season. It all sounds like it is perfectly set up for an Arsenal mauling, but I’m not so forgetful that I’ve let slip the Arsenal of recent-old who liked to practice care in the community by helping out newly-promoted teams with a few points just to help them get their season underway properly.
We will need 100% for 90 minutes and if we can manage that then we should come away with a strong win. Should we decide that ‘it’s just Norwich’ as we’ve done in the past with teams languishing at the bottom of the table, then we’ll be in for quite the frustrating afternoon. Thankfully, with a few older heads in the side, that sort of complacency doesn’t seem as if it might have such a strong hold over our side this season. Let’s hope that’s the case this afternoon.
If you’re about in Belfast, I’ll be in the back bar in Lavery’s Belfast (follow them on Twitter @LaverysBelfast) for the match. I’ve just started going there this season to watch Arsenal matches and we are undefeated when I do. Clearly it’s a place of magic and wonder. And beer. There’s lots of beer.
Come and join me if you’re about, and if you’re not, I’ll see you on Twitter.------------
If you’ve been having problems accessing this site on your work computer using the URLS globalgooners.com and gossip.globalgooners.com should sort that problem for you.
Get your free LadyArse app here for Android, BlackBerry and Windows phone [iPhone coming soon]
Get your free Arsenal wallpaper, Facebook covers and Twitter headers here