I hope you had a nice day yesterday and are, this morning, sitting around as full as an egg thinking about doing it all over again. Christmas Dinner II – The Leftovers is my favourite.
It’ll be brief enough this morning, thanks to those striking tube drivers. Instead of previewing and looking forward to our game today, we have to wait until tomorrow to get our taste of festive football. Wolves are the visitors and all the chat at the moment is over Robin van Persie.
We know he’s got to get two goals to equal elbowy Gerdie bloke’s record, and three to beat it, but Arsene Wenger is, rightly, more concerned with Robin staying fit. He’s warying of overplaying him for the sake of what would be a nice record to have but one that is essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things. He says of him playing all the games:
It will be a big demand for him. I don’t want to stop him. I am very happy if he does it but if he can combine the record with staying fit … What is important for me now is he stays fit. I believe the great players know what is important.
And I would imagine a guy like Robin van Persie, who has suffered from more injuries than he’d care to remember, is well aware of that. I’m sure they’ll be monitoring him very closely to see how he’s heading towards the fabled ‘red zone’ but I don’t think the fixture delay will have caused the manager a re-think in any way. With QPR on Dec 31st sandwiched between tomorrow’s game and a trip to Fulham on Jan 2nd, I think the game against Colin Wanker’s men would have been the obvious one to rest him for anyway.
And that’s not to say he wouldn’t play any part in that game but if there was a chance to give him a breather it’s one which we should win even without the captain. With a full week post-Fulham to the FA Cup match against Leeds there’s plenty of time for recuperation once the seasonal fixtures are out of the way.
Maybe, what it shows us it that our lack of real options when it comes to someone who can do an effective job at centre-forward means the manager’s got to take more risks than he might like, but then there’s a relatively simple solution there for the manager to find. And having received a diamante encrusted fountain pen as a Christmas gift from Stan Kroenke there’s no reason he can’t get scrawling on that chequebook of his.
So, my thoughts are thus: van Persie plays against Wolves (scores 4), Chamakh/Park/Inanimate Carbon Rod given chance against QPR, van Persie is back in the team for Fulham, Chamakh/Park/Inanimate Carbon Rod/Cardboard cut-out of Chris Whyte given chance against Leeds in FA Cup. That way we can spread out the burden a bit on Robin and then it’s January and then never know who might help break the teary ennui.
What’s more important, of course, is that we rack up the points from these games. With all due respect to Wolves (who generally give us a very tough game) and QPR, those are games we should win if we want to finish top four and beyond. Fulham, well we know from recent experience how difficult they can be and trips to their place haven’t been goalfests in recent seasons either. There’s a lot of football being played in the next 7-8 days and if we do as well as we should then I think we’ll catch up a bit with a couple of those above us.
Right, we can concentrate on our game a little more tomorrow, there are 7 games on today so it’s time to do breakfast, hit the sofa, and see what unfolds.