hopefully with an important game against Porto tomorrow we can get back to something approaching normality after the last couple of days. What’s done is done, what’s said is said, and at this point I don’t think there’s anything fresh to bring to the table.
Emmanuel Adebayor, apart from saying he feels sorry for his beleaguered teammate, says Arsenal have to concentrate on results, not on style. He says:
We have to fight as a team and that is how we are going to try to achieve something this season. We just have to control ourselves, not to worry about whether we play with elegance or not. We have to forget about how we are going to dribble, how many passes we are going to make – the most important thing is to get the ball in the back of the net and that is it.
He was referring to the league and the eight point gap and even Arsene Wenger has admitted it’s a miracle that we’re still in the title race, saying:
We have had some indifferent games but the thing that has saved us is that we have beaten our main rivals. That has prevented some damage. We are still in there – we play Liverpool at home soon which is a chance as well. We know we can’t lose any of the games against the big teams now.
And it is almost miraculous. After losing 5 games so far in the league we should be miles off the pace but the good results against Chelsea and United, along with the points the other big teams have dropped means we’re still more or less in there. A win against Liverpool would close that gap to just five points and as we all know five points is no gap at all. When you consider we lost just three games during the whole of last season it tells you a lot about how odd this campaign is.
Robin van Persie has been speaking about taking chances with his right foot. He’s hugely left footed and often slows things down trying to get the ball onto his good side. But he scored against Chelsea with his right, or as he rather bizarrely calls it, his ‘chocolate leg‘. He says:
Positive thinking is the key for me – when I have a chance I think positively. I think this is a good chance with my right foot – I can score this one. And I think you will miss many more chances with your chocolate leg if you think negatively, thinking that it’s not your strong foot.
Chocolate leg? You might snicker but the wispas around the training ground say that Robin’s wrong foot is becoming a real star, bar the odd air shot. Fingers crossed it can improve, as it is somewhat flakey, and that he can score moro goals and continue that football from another galaxy.
So while Robin is getting better it gets worse and worse for Tomas Rosicky. Initially he was due to be back in September, then October, then Christmas and yesterday we got the news that it’ll March ‘at the earliest’ before we see him.
In one way it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. He’s a good player, a likable character and someone who always gives you 100% on the pitch. On the other hand he’s being handsomely paid for being out with a hamstring injury for what will be well over a year. It’s hard to see how he’s ever going to get back to the top level because we could just as easily get to March and see another article saying how ‘next season’ is a more realistic goal for his return.
It would be great to see him back and this team could really use his talent and experience right now but it seems more and more unlikely as time passes. It’s a real shame.
Tomorrow is Porto, obviously, and an important game in terms of who tops the group. There’ll be a fuller preview on tomorrow’s game but the Hulk is still smarting from the pasting they got at the Grove and wants to make sure Porto finish top. The pressure is off but it would be nice to finish top. It doesn’t guarantee an easier game, in the 2006 season we finished top of our group and got Real Madrid in the first knock-out round, while finishing in second place last season saw us draw AC Milan. With many of the groups still to be decided it’s hard to say if we’d be better on top or not, although for confidence it would be good to win the group.
There’s been no team news yet. You have to imagine we’ll be without Nasri after the injury he picked up against Wigan and after that there’s only really Gallas who might come back into the squad. Kolo Toure has been talking up his partnership with the former captain and to me it seems as if he’s trying too hard to make it sound like it works. It quite clearly doesn’t, the two players are not compatible and Djourou’s presence in the team, and the way he plays, make that quite obvious.
I suspect there’s now a fight on between Gallas and Toure to be the one to partner the Swiss and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top. Funny how quickly things change in football, eh?
Right, beyond that not much else to tell you. More on the Porto game tomorrow. Till then.