Some interesting and unexpected team news ahead of tomorrow.
While the returns of Gibbs, Bendtner are welcome, as is the news that Theo Walcott could also be involved, there’s a measure of confusion this morning over Cesc Fabregas who Arsene Wenger says is ‘very, very short’ for the Birmingham game.
The confusion stems from the fact that he was almost there for the Chelsea game and on his very own Twitter account on Oct 5th he said:
I’m fit and training with the team. If the game was today i could have played, but it was 2 days too short and didnt want to take a gamble.
Which I think everyone understood, realising that an extra two weeks would see him properly fit. There were pictures of him on the training ground with Le Bob and everything, and now he’s out? Unless he’s had some kind of setback it all seems a bit odd.
Conspiracy theorists may point to the interview where he says Arsenal need to find a winning mentality and suggest he’s been punished by the manager but that seems ludicrous to me. I’m generally a bit suspicious of interviews that appear at the very end of an Interlull and I don’t know too many Arsenal fans who would disagree with the assertion that the kind of mentality he’s talking about is required.
What would be more worrying is that he’s still having problems with his hamstring. It’s kept him out of a lot of football in the last 12-18 months and if he’s still got issues with it then it’s a real concern. Perhaps the manager will shed more light on it at his press conference today.
Sagna and Vermaelen remain out, the latter still ’10 days’ away apparently while there’s no immediate return for Robin van Persie either. Not much of a surprise, I know, but we’re well and truly over the initial 6 week diagnosis. Perhaps they’re using ultra-caution to make sure players are 100% fit before they come back.
Still, Gibbs is back and could very well play so he can keep up his cycle of playing, getting injured, playing, getting injured, and so on. He needs to stay fit. Clichy is not playing particularly well and if Gibbs can get a run in the side he could leave the Frenchman bench-ridden for the foreseeable future. And as for Bendtner, the boss reckons he’s in great shape, saying:
We have not seen the real Nicklas Bendtner for a long, long time. He is the closest he has been to his best for a while. He was really, really handicapped by groin problems but they have gone now.
It’s good to have another central option up front and while I know he still has to convince some people I think he’s a good player to have fit again. He got 13 goals in an injury interrupted campaign last time around and hopefully if he can stay fit, and increase the work-rate a little bit, he can make an impact this season too. He and Chamakh will keep each other on their toes, hopefully, but I expect the Moroccan to start tomorrow. A more in-depth look at the Birmingham game then.
Congrats to @cbjpaull who is going to the Birmingham game tomorrow with thanks to O2. There were lots of excellent and amusing entries to the competition but we reckoned this was the winner when he said he’d take:
My Dad. He is here visiting from Australia, he brought me up to be a Gooner and he hasn’t been to the new stadium yet.
There were loads of folk who would have brought their dads, wives, girlfriends, cousins, all of whom had a special connection with Arsenal but seeing as this chap had travelled so far it swung it for him. Thanks to everyone for your entries, sorry there weren’t more tickets but keep your eyes peeled, I’m sure there’ll be more to come in the weeks ahead.
Also, while I did enjoy the ‘I’d take a Sp*rs fan and show him real football’ type entries you do understand they were never, ever going to win?! A few Sam Allardyce ones too. And speaking of which, did you see he got the rage over Danny Murphy’s comments? Typical. He then went on to talk about the real problem facing the game of football.
Not bad tackling. Not serious injuries. Not corruption. Not sugar daddy owners. Not too many games. Not the lack of English talent. Nope. Big Sam knows what’s wrong with football. There’s too much perception in it. Seriously. Too much perception. Needs a campaign you know.
What can you say? It’s beyond ludicrous. Anyway, that’s enough of all that, time to get on with this week’s Arsecast. Joining me to discuss Cesc, the Birmingham game, Danny Murphy’s comments and more is GilbertoSilver from Gunnerblog. There’s also Internet Joe, Talkshite Radio and the usual waffle.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (22mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
And that’s yer lot. More tomorow.