Football returns tomorrow. For some. The rest of us have to wait until Sunday to sit around hungover and watch Arsenal, but it’s coming. And with that comes the news. The life-blood of this very site. Stuff about Arsenal. It’s marvelous. Arsene Wenger has been talking about various things and we can pore over every word, examing them, analysing them, and seeking to be offended at the slightest little thing. Oh, how I have missed it.
We’ll begin with injury news and on top of the update in midweek which revealed that Squildjourscienly would be returning, we’ve got some up to the minute breaking news about Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen. Breaking news. Hah. News of their breaking. Anyway. Diaby will be back in about 10 days with a bionic ankle, hopefully:
It is very good news. He’s coming back in full training now so he is 10 days away to be competitive to play. All being well he should be available for the Carling Cup or the game before.
While Thomas Vermaelen is still a couple of weeks away but the manager is respecting the power of nature:
He’s two weeks away. He is running out on the pitches. He looks alright but we have to respect the progression, you still have to give him two to three weeks to be competitive again.
So no real surprises there. Other than that there don’t appear to be have been any casualties of the Interlull which is good news, and the only real decision the manager has to make is who to pick at right back in the absence of Bacary Sagna. The boss has pretty much ruled out Coquelin playing there, says Djourou, Santos and Koscielny could all fill in if necessary, but it looks as if he’s going to give the nod to Carl Jenkinson. Which, to be fair, makes sense.
He was signed as back-up for Sagna, Sagna is injured, therefore the back-up guy plays. His rawness has been evident at times, no doubt about it, but he won’t get any less raw by not playing. By the time Sagna comes back he could even be medium-rare, having grown into the position. Or, let’s face it, he could be well done, suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and begging on the street as he wheels himself along on a cart like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.
Whatever happens I do hope people will realise that if he finds it all a bit too much or it’s simply a case that he’s not ready yet, then it won’t be because of lack of effort on his part. He’s an Arsenal fan, he’s not been found wanting in terms of his energy or effort, but his inexperience has been exposed. That said, I don’t think he’s looked as out of his depth as some have suggested and if that inexperience is an issue then that’s down to the manager, not the player. Perhaps the calming, experienced influence of the BFG will help him.
Of course Sunday’s game is huge, we all know how poor our start to the season has been, but the manager is hoping successive home games against Sunderland, and then the Pubis Orc Army will set us up ahead of a trip to Stamford Bridge at the end of the month. He says:
Our home form has been good; our defensive focus has been good. It is quite amazing from season to season; last season we were the best away team. Unfortunately, because we had a little bit of a disappointing start away from home the confidence is not as big as it should be, but I think that will come back.
We have a big squad available so there is plenty of optimism around the team. We want to transform that into points.
I know I mentioned Chelsea but we’re not really in a position to look that far ahead. The next game is always the most important one, cliche it might be but it’s true. And I know we’ve had a rotten start to the season but I don’t think the league position is an accurate reflection of the quality of the squad. League table doesn’t lie, and all that, but I think we’ve got the players and the experience to at least be 13th in the league. I kid.
It’s crucial we get ourselves going and that has to start on Sunday. It’s interesting to read former Gunner Seb Larsson say the ‘fear factor’ has gone from Arsenal, and he’s probably right. The opposition will look at us very differently than they looked at our more successful teams, but that’s not to say it can’t come back. It’s down to us to make ourselves difficult to beat again and to make teams wary when they come to the Grove, instead of licking their chops in anticipation,
There’ll be plenty of time to look ahead to the game and with Arsene’s press conference taking place later today I’m sure we’ll have plenty more to chew over before kick off. A fuller preview of the game over the weekend on the blog.
Right then, after a week off it’s Arsecast time. This week, with the dearth of football news, I’m joined by Nigel Phillips of the AST to discuss Arsenal’s finances. On the agenda, our profits, property deals, money in the bank for transfers, what happens if we don’t make the Champions League, our wage structure, commercial revenue and more. Also, Internet Joe and a bloke who can’t play against us this weekend.
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 (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
And that, my good old friends, is that. News updates throughout the day on Arseblog News. More blogging tomrorrow.