A brief summary of Arsenal news from April’s fools games
It’s not proper football, but it involves Arsenal players. That’s about all I have to say about the games today. Yes the USA beat Trinidad and Tobago and England won etc. etc. It just doesn’t get my blood flowing. I watched the USA match today as well as Russia, Holland, England, Spain, Italy and Germany. I watched them all. The only thing it left me was depressed and bored. Of all the matches that took place today, the only really interesting one happened in the altitude of Bolivia. Mike Tyson once famously predicted that he would some day fade “into Bolivia.” Well Maradonna is probably feeling like that happened to him today. Argentina were destroyed 6-1 in a match suggests Maradonna’s appointment as manager may yet become the disaster we all expected. Other than that, the internationals are only interesting to me when an Arsenal player either:
a) plays well
b) plays poorly
c) leaves injured
d) doesn’t leave injured
Like most multiple choice tests, “c” is often the correct answer in this one. But enough foreplay, let’s get to our brief summary of the day’s Arsenal related events.
Andrei the giant played well today in Russia’s match with Lichtenstein. In an interesting side note, Arshavin and Lichtenstein are roughly the same size. Although he didn’t score, much of the creative work was done by the man wearing the number 10 and he provided the assist for the only goal of the match. Andrei played 90 minutes.
William Gallas, Barcary Sagna
Both played for France in the mirror image match against Lithuania. Once again it finished 1-0 with Franck Ribery providing the lone goal. Again, Lithuania really never troubled the French back four and both Gallas and Sagna had some nice cameos in attack. Clichy was named to the subs bench and did not feature in the match. Diaby missed the match with a hip injury and Samir Nasri apparently was unable to play due to a virus. I’ve tried to find more information about Samir, but nothing credible to report.
Ramsey started for Wales in their match against Germany. I thought he played well, and the Welsh might consider themselves slightly unlucky not to get something from this match, losing 2-0. Ballack’s opening strike was sepectacular and the second was an unfortunate own goal. Wales had some chances but couldn’t convert. After two 90-minute appearances this week, Ramsey must be regaining some of his confidence.
I guess his knee didn’t need “rest rest” after all. Bendtner came on after 33 minutes in Denmark’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Albania. He finished the match and there were no reports of any further injury. This is good news for the gunners. With Van Persie possibly sidelined for a match or two with a groin injury and both Eduardo and Adebayor just returning to match fitness, Bendtner will come in handy against Manchester City this weekend.
Eduardo played all 90 minutes for Croatia in their 2-0 victory over Andorra in a game marred by interruptions due to fans throwing flares. Eduardo scored the second goal for the Croats in the 35th minutes and even picked up a yellow card just two minutes earlier. It’s good to see him playing a full match, although I’d rather see him do it wearing his Arsenal shirt.
Poor poor Lukasz. He gets called up to the Polish national team, gets the starting nod against San Marino, and how does he repay his coach? He didn’t even score a single goal. That’s right, Fabianski didn’t score a single goal in Poland’s 10-0 drubbing of San Marino. I suppose we’ll give him a pass this time since he is the goal keeper after all. Just don’t let it happen again Lukasz.
Unless I’m forgetting something (which is possible given my current state of sleep deprivation) that’s all the news. We should know more about Van Persie, Nasri and Diaby tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious to derail our march to full fitness.
For those of you that think having all of our players healthy will be wonderful, just put yourself in Arsene Wenger’s shoes trying to pick six starters from this list:
Adebayor, Van Persie, Eduardo, Bendtner, Vela, Nasri, Arshavin, Fabregas, Walcott, Diaby, Song, Denilson, Eboue, (Rosicky)
You know that Van Persie, Nasri, Arshavin, and Fabregas will all be first choice starters. I suspect that Walcott makes the cut. Adebayor is probably a first choice starter. But those six can’t really all be starters. If they are, it would certainly be an attack minded team, but lacking a holding midfielder. Will Wenger favor the 4-5-1 with only Van Persie up front and sacrifice Adebayor? Unlikely. That’s not RVP’s bet role. Will he player Adebayor alone up front? Then RVP is relegated to the bench. Not likely to increase his chance of re-signing with the gunners. Walcott is probably first to miss out. He is great off the bench and that would leave room for Denilson, Song or Diaby in the holding role. But most Arsenal fans agree that Walcott gives us a quality we lack when he’s on the bench.
Any way you look at it, there’s a lot of talent fighting for spots and that is usually a good thing. God only knows what happens when Rosicky makes it back into the squad. One thing seems clear; some very very good players will be sitting on the subs bench as we wind down the season. Song, Diaby and Denilson will soon find it very hard to crack the starting lineup as often as they have in recent months. It will be a little easier in Europe where Arshavin in unavailable, but the selection nightmare in the domestic competitions will make Wenger’s head spin. It certainly makes for an interesting summer.
While Arsenal fans have been complaining that there isn’t enough talent in midfield, I’m curious where they think a new signing would find playing time. The obvious answer is holding midfield, but every new body relegates one more to the bench. I’m hoping everyone is healthy at some point before the season ends so that we might catch a glimpse of how the team could shape up for next season.
Sometimes it seems that the injuries almost make life a bit easier for Wenger, providing him with reasons to justify not starting certain players. Your point is a good one and I find myself looking around the EPL at other squads in an attempt to locate any other manager facing a similar problem. Man U is of course an easy pick, with such depth, however it is interesting to note that SAF has players of a much wider range of experience and age. This allows him to justify squad selection without upsetting player ego or fan opinion. Wenger must juggle a group of relatively young players, which, if not terribly difficult for the players themselves to accept, opens the door for controversial discussions usually instigated by agents(scum), or impatient fans. Spoilt for choice we Gunners fans.For me the “oversupply” of midfield talent causes me to cringe as my dream signing, Franck Ribery becomes less a possibilty. Someone with deep pockets is going to steer him away from Germany and I know that short of selling some of our talented youngsters, we will not get to see him in an Arsenal kit. I rank him as one of the top 5 players in the world and one that would excel in our system. Ah well, to dream.