We’ll start this morning with goalkeepers. Both Arsene Wenger and Jens Lehmann have reacted to the injuries suffered by Carlo Cuducini and more seriously Petr Cech.
The boss doesn’t believe it’s coincidence that four keepers have been knocked into the middle of next week and he believes the challenges by strikers are not lawful. Jens is as forthright as ever and after wishing both the Chelsea players well he believes that keepers are not given sufficient protection by the officials. He says:
I know the English League is more physical than most but here you do not respect your keepers. Having played in other countries, I know that referees offer more protection to keepers. There is a discrepancy between England and abroad on this issue.
And he had a pop at the media too for playing down the seriousness of the challenges on Cech, Cuducini, Schwarzer and Shay Given:
All of them are great keepers, very brave, they never went to challenge or harm the striker but all four of them got knocked out due to ‘clumsy’ challenges. This word clumsy makes me really angry as well because these stupid pundits on TV they say sometimes ‘it’s clumsy’ and ‘it’s a man’s game’. Yes it is a man’s game but what you have to consider as well is these men have children and wives and their children don’t want to see their fathers end up with lifelong damage, driven around in a wheelchair or not being able to work anymore.
He makes a good point. Looking in particular at the Shay Given incident there was just no way Marlon Harewood was going to get the ball and while we all want our strikers to be committed and physical there’s a limit. The fact that the doctor said Given picked up injuries more typical of a car crash than a game of football says it all. It was the challenge of a limited, stupid player. Like Hunt on Cech. A keeper is the only guy on the field who exposes his entire body to onrushing boots and knees and they do deserve more protection from seriously bad challenges.
I don’t mean that they should get a free kick when someone legitimately challenges them for a cross but when an outfield player goes in hard and he’s got no chance of getting the ball then he needs to be punished. When’s the last time you saw someone get booked for a foul on the keeper? Exactly. Anyhow, it looks like Jens has it sorted.
Onwards to tonight’s game in Moscow and the boss named his 18 man squad yeterday. No real surprises – with Flamini and Senderos in action for the reserves last night they didn’t travel but young Brazial Denilson did with the boss saying he’s a mix between Gilberto and Rosicky. Gilicky. Rosberto. Interesting.
AW is worried about the pitch but is confident in his side and believes the likes of Rosicky and Adebayor are settling in well. It’s going be cold though, the forecast is that the temperature will reach minus infinity and they are a good side so it’s not going to be easy. Kick off is 5.30pm.
In a brief round-up of other stories Gael Clichy says he’s delighted Ashley Cole has fucked off to Chelsea, AW denies he wants to buy Frankenstein Ribery while we’re linked with Ajax’s very promising striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Don’t forget the Football Manager 2007 competition, see yesterday’s blog for more info on that and if you have any questions or suggestions for the upcoming podcast just email them to podcast at arseblog.com.