Bad news to start the day as Arsene Wenger revealed that Alexander Hleb’s hamstring injury was worse that first thought. He’s going to be out for a ‘good four weeks’ which is a blow. It remains to be seen who will replace him. There’s no news on Freddie being anywhere near fit, Theo Walcott is the obvious choice but I suspect if Eboue is fit, which the boss is hoping he will be, he might well get the nod after how well he did on Wednesday night.
While Eboue and Aliadiere only have short term knocks the news about Robin van Persie was not so positive with Arsene Wenger suggesting he could be out for up to ten weeks which would really put paid to his season. Fingers crossed he can get back. As we’ve said though that gives Julio Baptista the chance to do his stuff on a more regular basis. Of him Arsene Wenger said:
He is a player who has the smell of goals. He knows when to get into the box from deep and will play more games for us.
Meanwhile, Manuel Almunia has backed the Beast to shine, saying:
Julio showed that he is a good player and a good scorer and I’m sure he will show that soon in the Premier League too. He is very strong and mentally strong as well. When he started off at Arsenal it wasn’t very easy for him. But now he is happy here, starting to train well and is playing better.
I like the bit in that interview where he says Baptista tries to speak English as much as possible as well. It would be very easy for him to spend all day speaking Spanish with Almunia, Cesc and Senderos but trying to speak in English to someone you know you can easily converse in a more native tongue is not always easy. As an adult learning a new language there is a feeling of embarrassment at times so that is a great sign that he wants to stay and to adapt to life here. Compare and contrast to Reyes whose English was feeble, at best, after more than two years at the club.
Cesc says he doesn’t need a rest despite missing just three games all season. It’s a good job too. He really does make the team tick these days. Despite his young age he’s now a vital part of the team and while injuries to van Persie, Hleb and Gallas are a blow it’s nothing compared how much we’d miss Cesc if he was out for a while.
Ahead of the FA Cup game big, fat, Walrus Allardyce is confident his Bolton side can win. As the game doesn’t take place till Sunday there’ll be a more detailed preview tomorrow in which I might call Allardyce and his band of kickers some more creative names.
Transfer news sees us linked to Ajax’s Ryan Babel, the Sun links us with Deportivo la Coruna’s Aldo Duscher, apparently we’ve entered the race to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton, Seb Larsson should join Birmingham before the end of the transfer window and after being released by Boro Ray Parlour is back with Arsenal but only to train and regain his fitness.
Bloggies 2007: Arseblog has been nominated in the Best Sports blog category. Hurrah! Please vote for Arseblog by going here. I’m not sure if you have to vote for the rest but if you could vote for Arseblog that would be much appreciated. Cheers.
Now, it’s 1990, time for the Arsecast.
As always the Arsecast is sponsored by classicfootballshirts.co.uk and I’ll announce the winner of the competition this week, there’s a blogchat with Jimmy the Cuckoo from Arsenal Talk, Arsene Wenger Hawkins is there, the Man in the Bar has another player history, I go into nature on a dangerous mission, there’s a bet of the week from www.bluesq.com and there’s some other stuff too.
Enjoy. See you tomorrow.