It’s Hamburg tonight at the Grove and it’s a must win. There are all sorts of permutations but the best outcome tonight, and I’ll stand to be corrected on this, is that we win and CSKA Moscow beat Porto. If Porto win and we win we could face the prospect of going out in Portugal unless we take points from the home side. Still, let’s concentrate on tonight.
We’ll be without William Gallas who will be out for several weeks after pulling up with a thigh injury in training. It’s a blow because he’s been consistently good since he joined but centre-half is probably the area where we have the most cover. It’s not like losing Cesc or Thierry. I’d imagine Philippe Senderos will step in and he’ll be determined and motivated to take his chance having seen his first team place taken by the new arrival.
There was good news about Robin van Persie, who is fit to play, and Gilberto who has returned from Brazil and is likely to start. Given our recent frustrations at home you feel it’s going to take a couple of games where we score a couple or three goals to make a difference and give the side the confidence they need. At Highbury you always felt a goal could come at any time when we were chasing a game. At the Grove you feel like there are days we couldn’t score if we played till 4 in the morning. At this point I’m not too concerned about performance but I’d love to see some names on the scoresheet.
It would be nice to see some midfielders get amongst the goals because when the forwards are struggling to score you want your other players to pick it up a bit. Look at Liverpool the other week. Flamini, Gallas, Toure. Three goalscorers nobody really would have expected and without them we’d have struggled. When you consider the quality of Hleb, Cesc and Rosicky (when fit) you’ve got to be looking at at least 20-25 goals from those three players combined over the course of the season.
Arsene Wenger has again spoken about the potential of the team and how he feels they’re a ‘fraction’ away from being where he wants them to be. And I think that’s what frustrates so many fans. We can all see the potential, we’ve seen performances like the one at Reading, like United away, but there’s just something hindering the consistency of our performances. No doubt that’s down to the youth of the side. There really is a lot to be said for experience and having been through many different situations time and again but there’s no question this Arsenal side is learning, sometimes the hard way.
On a personal level the manager wants to win every game and it hurts when we don’t. He says:
I always say it still hurts the same no matter how long you have been in the game. For me my desire is stronger than it was. Every time we don’t win a game it hurts me so much. Every game we do not win is a real disaster.
And I don’t suppose you can be a top flight manager if you can chalk off defeats as just one of those days. Hopefully tonight won’t be a real disaster.
In other news Gael Clichy says he wants to continue playing well for Arsenal and to win a call up to the French national squad. I’m sure Arsene Wenger will be delighted another of his players will be under the control of Domenatrix. Sky Sports are linking us with some Nigerian striker called Chinedu Ogbuke. I am enormously underwhelmed.
Not much else to report. Do remember you can leave your own personal message or comment about the team, the site, someone’s mother or anything else for this Friday’s Arsecast by going here and recording via your own computer. It can be like that programme where cunts ring up Sky Sports and they get some cunt to answer their questions. You can be the ringing up cunts and I’ll be some cunt. It’ll be marvellous.
So there you go. Fingers crossed ahead of tonight. An early goal for us and not giving them one as welcome to our new stadium present would be the order of the day. Till tomorrow.