Morning all from a freezing cold Dublin.
It’s that strange between-games lull today. Not a great deal of news about the game to come and already plenty has been said about Tuesday night. The word on Cesc is that he’ll be out for 2-3 weeks, the normal sort of timeframe for a hamstring injury but as I mentioned yesterday if that 2-3 weeks needs to be longer then we’re going to have to bite the bullet and get him right. We’ve got Man United away on December 13th and a trip to Old Trafford would be more difficult without him but the most important thing is getting him fully fit.
The word on Emmanuel Eboue is four weeks out with medial knee ligament damage. So those are the casualties we know about at this stage. At some point later on we’ll get more team news ahead of Saturday’s early kick off.
Martin Keown has been hugely critical of the team after the defeat on Tuesday, saying:
After the demoralising manner of the defeat by Tottenham, the players should have been coming out fighting and working hard for each other. Instead, they played like they were feeling sorry for themselves. There was laziness all over the pitch for Arsenal.
He touches on the leadership issue too, saying:
This Arsenal team need more leaders and it is no good saying, ‘I’m not one’. You have to become one because it is an ingredient of being a top player. It is an opportunity for someone to show those credentials and lead the team on to success.
It goes back to what I was saying yesterday. It’s not just the job of one player to lead. We’ve heard Arsene use the phrase ‘captains all over the pitch’ before which seems at odds with this lot, at times. I know they’re few and far between but a Tony Adams type, a Roy Keane type, would go a long way in this current Arsenal team. Do we have anyone of that character? Maybe Vermaelen but his absence through injury means it’s up to someone else, maybe not just one person, to get heads up and get them fighting.
Keown also singled out Nicklas Bendtner for his display on Tuesday night. After everything he said I was hoping for a response. It didn’t even need to be goals but from what everyone’s said about the way he played it seems he’s not willing to put his money where his mouth is. Disappointing.
Johan Djourou says it’ll be a ‘disaster‘ if we don’t qualify for the knock-out stages. Elsewhere, man says it would be painful to have his arm sawn off and testicles stood on by elephant.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey has revealed his first team comeback is still a little way away, with caution over injuries the main issue:
After you have been out for nine months, your muscles are still adapting to the hard training and games, so for some players they can get injuries which set them back for a few weeks, but hopefully I can stay injury free. I have another few reserve games planned, with 60 minutes and then a full game – then I can try to fight for my place again.
That’s the real worry. We’ve seen the fallout from bad injuries previously with Eduardo and in particular Diaby. Interesting that Ramsey talks about the tackle being ‘out of his head’ because I think that’s a massive part of it. Remember, Diaby was more or less the same age as Ramsey when he suffered the Dan Smith tackle. It’s not nice to think this way but perhaps the medical staff have learned from Eduardo’s and Diaby’s injuries, and subsequent difficulties, meaning Aaron won’t suffer as much as they did. Fingers crossed anyway.
Jack Wilshere has been talking on Twitter about the recent results:
would like to apologise to all the supporters, especially the ones that travelled, for the result last night!
would just like to say all the players are hurting just as bad as you loyal supporters are, we cannot wait to put it right!
I think we can appreciate the sentiments, and that his heart is in the right place, I’m just not sure Twitter is the right place to express them. And the exclamation marks … well, they just take away from the seriousness of the message don’t they? You rarely see headlines in the newspaper like FIFTEEN DIE IN MOTORWAY PILE-UP! So while I think we can appreciate what he’s trying to do I’d prefer to see the talking being done on the pitch. And not Bendtner style either.
Also, eye-witness reports from Braga (cheers, Jords) say Jack copped quite an earful from some fans after going over to the Arsenal section in Braga. While I understand the frustration an 18 year old in his first season with the club is really the wrong target, especially when he’s one of the few players to acknowledge the supporters.
Swansea want Carlos Vela on loan apparently. They’re currently third in the Championship right now. You’d think they’d show a bit more ambition. JET could go to Sheffield United who already have young Gunner Kyle Bartley on loan there.
So, that’s about that for today. Here in Ireland we’re still getting to grips with the ‘four year plan’ announced by the world’s most corrupt government yesterday. Austerity measures, tax hikes, new charges (my favourite is the ‘air tax’ – we get a certain amount of air for free and have to pay per breath after that) and cuts in spending mean life is going to get tougher than that of an Arsenal apprentice.
Still, as we chug our gruel each morning we can regale our children with the stories our fathers and grandfathers told us, like poteen swilling four Yorkshiremen. “I remember having to walk to school, fifteen miles there and back, rain, hail or snow, with nothing but an old coal sack for a coat and cardboard boxes sellotapted to our feet as shoes …”
Fun times, I say, fun times. Back tomorrow with an Arsecast.
“I remember having to make an Arsecast every week with only two tin cans with string between them to make the phone calls …”