The season’s not yet begun, but the nightmare is real
Johan Djourou is injured. He may not be seriously injured, but he is injured nonetheless. He left the Swiss camp and returned to the London with swelling in his kneecap and will not participate Switzerland’s friendly with Italy. While we have no idea about the severity of the injury it obviously doesn’t bode well for Djourou’s chance of starting on Saturday.
There’s nothing funny about Djourou’s injury, but I found some irony in the comments made by Swiss national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. Regarding the precautionary nature of Djourou’s return to London, Hitzfeld told the Swiss FA’s official website: “We don’t want to take an unnecessary risk shortly before the start of his club’s season.” Naturally, no one wants to take an unnecessary risk shortly before the start of the club season. No one…except for the pusillanimous bastards at Fifa of course.
Playing a friendly three days before the start of the league season automatically qualifies as an unnecessary risk. It puts players and coaches alike in untenable situations. Fabio Cappello should be commended for his decision not to play several key England players, but with those players left out, and others worried about staying fit for the weekend, you have to wonder about the timing of these fixtures. Once again, Fifa proves that it has no respect or consideration for the business of football that ultimately supports the popularity of their events.
If Johan Djourou is unable to start the match at Goodison Park on saturday, then the nightmare scenario may already have come to fruition. Arsene Wenger claims that Vermaelen is ready to make his full debut on Saturday, but he is coming off a minor injury and is certainly lacking match fitness having missed the final few preseason contests. If Vermaelen is also unable to start, then we will kickoff the season with the scrumpious choice of Alex Song or Mikael Silvestre in the center of defense paired with William Gallas. Not exactly the central defense of a title contender. And let’s not forget that if Alex Song is drafted into the defense, then we will have to rely on one of our less appealing defensive midfielders to take his place in the center of the park.
The Djourou injury, no matter how minor, just reminds us how important it is that we sign another defender before the transfer window closes. Injuries are a reality in football and seemingly more so at Arsenal. And if it only take a few injuries to leave us with Silvestre as a starting centre-back, then we need another defender.
Apparently Arsene Wenger is also recognizing the importance of bolstering the defense. Today some reports emerged suggesting that Wenger has given Fulham 48 hours to clarify whether Hangeland would be permitted to come to the Emirates. I’m cannot confirm their authenticity obviously but it sounds imposing.
Arsene Wenger doesn’t appear to be relying entirely on the Fulham defender as an option to bolster the squad. According to the Daily Mail, Chief executive Ivan Gazidis was in Germany on Monday ready to make a £12m offer for 20-year-old Serbian defender Neven Subotic. Admittedly I know little about the Serb, but he does have an ominous sounding name. This is another report that doesn’t include any corroborating evidence. Twelve million Pounds sounds like a bit much for our budget, but how can you doubt something that you read online regarding transfers? It must be true.
It’s also possible that Phillipe Senderos will not be going anywhere after all. Everton have rejected Lescott’s transfer request and it seems unlikely that Senderos will leave for Goodison Park if Lescott fails to secure a move to Manchester City. So all things considered, we may be able to rely on Senderos’ services until at least January. Whether that’s the solution we require is another matter entirely.
In young Gunner news, Jack Wilshere played 30 minutes for the England under-21 squad in a friendly against Holland on Tuesday. It’s a big step for the 17-year-old and inevitably the start of a long and storied international career. I didn’t see the match, but apparently Wilshere wasn’t able to have much of an impact during his half-hour cameo. Nacer Barazite, however, reportedly tormented the England team on several occasions and was at the center of most of Holland’s incisive moves. Certainly good to hear that.
And that’s about all that’s happening at the moment. It’s possible that Wenger’s warning that we would not bring players in before the start of the season was a smoke screen and that Chamakh and Hangeland or Subotic will arrive before Saturday. But more than likely, we’ll be waiting a while longer to see what transpires. With Djourou’s injury, however, it’s more obvious than ever that we could use reinforcements at the back. Here’s hoping they arrive.
Theo Walcott will not play against Holland so we dodge any potential bullet there. But there are Arsenal players on internation duty tomorrow so fingers crossed that they come through it unscathed. For those of you that are interested, the most important game on this side of the globe will be taking place at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City today and can be seen live on Directv channel 203 for free. The USA has never won on that hallowed ground, but due to Mexico’s recent struggles, many pundits are giving the American’s a chance in this match. I’m not as optomistic, but I’m excited to watch.
Enjoy the games while simultaneously rooting for no Arsenal-related injuries.