perhaps it’s a bit like clutching at straws but the Shay Given thing hasn’t quite gone away. Speaking at a press conference ahead of Ireland’s game against Argentina on Wednesday evening Given said:
I haven’t joined City to sit on the bench or whatever. I’ve gone there to play. If that’s not the case, I suppose I’ll sit down on Monday with the club and see where to go after that.
You don’t want to miss any football so, for me, it’s very important that I play.
That he’s gone so public is quite interesting, particularly after the ‘exclusive’ appeared in the Mirror. He sounds like a man who knows the number 1 jersey is going to Joe Hart and wants to go to play regularly elsewhere. I’m still dubious that City would let him go to us but the door remains slightly ajar on this one.
If we are genuinely interested and he’s genuinely waiting to see who gets the nod on Saturday then it means we go to Anfield with what we’ve got. Sorry to induce fear plops so early in the morning but that’s what it is. More on that as the week progresses.
The manager spoke about the possibility of Cesc and Robin van Persie being involved and said:
They are a lot behind. Cesc goes to Mexico so he will not be able to practice. I will have to see how both are on Friday. But they are both short.
Cesc comes back on Thursday night or Friday, so we’ll have to see. I hope Van Persie will have a good week of preparation, but I think he will be short as well.
While I understand their pre-season preparations have been hit by the World Cup the fact that Denilson, Diaby and Song have not played a minute of pre-season football means we could be going to Liverpool with Frimpong and Wilshere in the side. They’ve done well in pre-season, no question, and I’ve got high hopes for them in the long-term, but we saw them a bit overrun against Legia. The Frimster in particular found it tough going. That game was more intense, more competitive, than any of the other pre-season games, and life became more difficult for them.
Sunday will be up another notch or two. They might well rise to the occasion but I think ruling out Cesc, in particular, would be foolish. It’s not as if he played every minute of every game in South Africa and the team needs him. Should none of the three injured players make it back in time I think the manager will have to assess the fact that it’s going to be a challenge to win at Anfield with a full team, let alone a couple of teenagers who have barely a handful of first team appearances between them.
One man who will hopefully continue his fine form in midfield is Samir Nasri who makes it quite clear how he’s viewing the season ahead:
I missed football for two-and-a-half months. I had a lot of time to rest and ask myself questions. I am not hungry now, I am starving.
And from benlyt on Twitter:
I’m not fighting Cesc for one position. We’ll prove Evra wrong, no men v boys this season.
I like that kind of attitude and hopefully it rubs off on some of the others in the squad. I’m told Nasri’s pre-season preparations were, even before he returned for training with us, intense. You can see there’s a seriousness about him and he looks focussed and driven. This can only be a good thing for us and I really think he’s going to be an important player this season. He’s away with France, fingers crossed he comes back intact, and hopefully there’s a better relationship between new coach Larry White and Arsene Wenger than there ever was with Domenech, the Russell Grant of French football.
Laurent Koscielny says he wants to play for France rather than Poland. On the patented ‘give a shit’ scale I score an epic 0.00000000001.
Liam Brady says it’s good news for the Arsenal academy that Gibbs and Wilshere have been called up to the English squad. One of the main aims of the academy has been to produce, not just players, but English players who are good enough to play at the top level. It’s taken a long time really. Ashley Cole is the only one who has come through in recent years, but there’s a wealth of talent bubbling under right now. Whether or not they all make it remains to be seen. They need the right combination of luck and hard work but Gibbs and Wilshere certainly have all the potential it takes. They’ve got to make the most of the chances they’re given this season and try and ignore the hype as much as possible.
Finally for today, a trip down memory lane with the ‘holic. When Arsenal fans are at each others throats it’s important to remember we’re all batting for the same team and gardening uphill together. You know it.
Right, that’ll do it for today. More tomorrow.