I woke up this morning wondering who had hit me in the head last night. I looked suspiciously at Mrs Blogs, but then I remembered the bottle of Faustino. The winey bastard.
Some worrying news to kick off this Friday with and that involves Aaron Ramsey. All the behind the scenes whispers were that he was going to be back for this weekend’s trip to Sp*rs. Arsene even said last week at his press conference that he was a week away from his comeback.
Yesterday the manager revealed it’s going to be a little longer than that, saying:
We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available. He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term.
Now, I’m no medical expert or insider, and I just can’t get into the debate about whether it’s our training methods, fitness regimes, different coloured zones, Wenger’s insistence on using remedies made from angel tears and griffin feathers, or anything else, I just know that it’s bad news because we don’t have Aaron Ramsey.
Of course there’s plenty of speculation about why we have these injuries and why they take so long to heal at times. I get that. People – and I’m sure the manager is one of them – want the players fit and available, especially at this crucial time of the season. It’s frustrating when they’re not, and more frustrating when it’s somebody like Ramsey who was due back last month and broke down again. If he was a plane you’d be worried about flying in him.
At the same time though, we’ve got players who are playing week in, week out, who don’t have seem to have any issues, so maybe there are specifics involved in these cases rather than it being an overall problem of training, recuperation etc. Anyway, as I said, I don’t have enough knowledge of the ‘inside’ to do anything other than hope Ramsey gets back as quickly as possible, but as well as missing Sunday, he’s likely to miss the trip to Chelsea too and that’s not good news.
It’s exacerbated by the Mesut Ozil problem. The German confirmed yesterday that it had indeed occurred in the 2nd minute of the game. Not that you can excuse him playing poorly because of it, or anything. He should have been like Maradona against England considering how much he cost, regardless of any muscle problem that would hamper his movement and running power.
The prognosis, expected to be confirmed by the manager today at his press conference after all the scans etc, is that he’s going to miss around 4 weeks. Bad news, indeed, as I touched on yesterday. But what can we do now other than look to the players we do have available? We need them to step up and make the difference.
Obviously Lukas Podolski is one of those – somebody who might not have the subtlety of Ozil, or the all round fusion reactor drive of Ramsey, but does have end product. He’s got seven goals from 15 appearances this season. He scored in difficult circumstances against Bayern in midweek, and if he can replicate that level of performance for the rest of the season then he’d certainly go some way to easing the pain of being without the injured players.
You certainly can’t fault his attitude going into Sunday’s game. He says:
I’ve always liked derbiesWhen I played in Munich, or Cologne or even here in Arsenal I always liked derbies because there’s a special atmosphere and it’s a special fight. We want to go there, get the three points and drive back home.
This is important for us. We must fight for the club, for the fans and I think this is an important game so I look forward to Sunday now.
And it’s funny how things turn out. With everyone fit Podolski was likely to be involved, but much more peripherally. Now there’s something of a weight on his shoulders. Without Ozil, Cazorla is a great replacement for that central attacking midfield role – something that does soften the blow – and it means there’s space on the left for Podolski to play on a regular basis.
The manager might have his issues with him, as selection decisions have shown this season, but now he’s got little choice but to put his faith in the German and hopefully that will be rewarded. You get the sense he’s a player who always wants to do well and maybe a run in the team will bring about a period of good form. We need somebody to step up, to be this season’s Freddie, and you couldn’t get a more popular choice than him.
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and it was recorded last night as a Google Hangout. Myself, Goonerholic, Andrew Allen and the Man from East Lower discuss plenty including: Arsenal in the media, is it trolling? Hatred? Click-bait? Or just the new style of journalism?
There’s also chat about Bayern Munich, the FA Cup, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the North London derby and having sex with cars. Fun times!
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 33mb MP3).
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This week’s Arsecast can also be viewed on YouTube as a Google Hangout where I think it might win an award as the Beardiest podcast/hangout of the week. Only the Holic had the decency and manners to have a shave. Click here to view it as a video.
We’ll have all the news from the manager’s press conference this morning over on Arseblog News. The Gent will be here later, and I’ll be back tomorrow.