Let’s start this morning with news about Robin van Persie. As expected it was confirmed he could be out for 6 weeks or longer. No real surprises then and it’s one of those injuries that seems to take different players different times to recover. Preston’s David Nugent was back, playing and scoring within six weeks, and he put that down to drinking a lot of milk. Others, like Gary Neville and David Beckham, have taken much longer. Fingers crossed he comes back sooner rather than later.
It’s going to be mostly ‘the kids’ starting tonight against Sp*rs as the boss keeps faith, as much as possible, with the players who have gotten us this far. He said:
They deserve it. It is very difficult to say â€˜listen you are good enough to play at Liverpool but you are not good enough to play at Tottenhamâ€™. They have earned the right.
And quite right too. I think the pressure is very much off us. If we win, great, if we don’t win there’s still the second leg at the Grove and even still it’s great experience for these young players. If we don’t qualify for the final it will create a desire in these guys to go one better. A good hurt goes a long way to motivate players. Obviously I’d rather we stuffed them in both legs but even if we don’t go through they’ll lose the final to Chelsea anyway. All that said it’s another great chance for some of the young players to show what they’re made of, to show that the win against Liverpool was as much to do with their own ability as to the ‘weakened’ team Liverpool put out.
We’ll probably see Jeremie Aliadiere get another go up front with Julio Baptista in light of van Persie’s injury it’s now reported that Arsene Wenger is not willing to let him leave the club in this transfer window. One man who will be coming back after a terrible injury almost 9 months ago is Abou Diaby and such was the seriousness of it Arsene Wenger feared his career might have been over. But he’s back once again, like a renegade master, and the boss thinks he can bring something different to the team, saying:
He gives us something the other players donâ€™t have. He can give us that kind of Patrick Vieira presence in the physical challenges. He reminds me of Patrick in his running style, behaviour and the strength of his tackles.
No pressure there then, Abou. Just do what Vieira did. He did look impressive in the few short months we saw him and doing my best to try not to hype him up too much it will be nice to see if he can bring some of that to the squad now that he’s fit again.
Young midfielder Mark Randall believes the squad can win the Carling Cup and he’s full of praise for Arsene for giving younger players a chance. No doubt Sp*rs tonight will be at pretty much full strength which goes to show the difference in philosophies and the difference in the quality of the players our academy is producing.
Former Gunner David O’Leary has hailed Arsene Wenger as special for what he’s done at Arsenal, saying:
I admire him for what he’s done and the way they play football. Arsenal was a really big club when I left – but it’s gone to another level now.
So that’s about it then. Here’s hoping the boys can do their stuff tonight and we’ll talk about what happens tonight tomorrow.