Arshavin – Bendtner – Merida + Forward Arsenal

Tonight the Arthurs, Hildas and Lionels of the football world will play each other and when the games are over our players will come back in wheelchairs, on crutches and with stitches in their groins and everything shall return to normal once again.

Russia play Wales and there are still some doubts over the fitness of Andrei Arshavin. According to Guus Hiddink:

If [Arshavin] cannot play, then he won’t play. His improvement has been significant but he doesn’t take stupid risks.

I think leaving it up to a player to decide if he’s fit or not is a bit risky but we have to trust Arshavin will be professional. If he plays and is good for Man City on Saturday, there’s not a problem in the world. It’ll go some way to reducing his spare tyre. If he plays and then is unfit for Saturday I can imagine Arsene Wenger will be most vexed indeed. As will I. MOST vexed. How is Arshavin going to run through Adebayor’s legs to score the winner if he’s not on the pitch?

Meanwhile Nicklas Bendtner has been spelling out his targets for the season. The big Dane says:

I hope to see that I score 20-25 goals in 40 games. If I get a Premier League season where I score 10 times and have 30 assists, I think that would be OK as well.

30 assists would be bloody marvelous but unless someone installs a triangle button on Bendtner with which he can make the ‘through pass’ it’s hard to see. Still, I’m glad he’s got his sights set so high, you certainly can’t fault his ambition. Anyway, as he rises to head home a corner against Man City on Saturday to get his first goal of the season, at the same time clashing heads with Adebayor who crumples the ground wailing like a brontosaurus with a serious case of the Cretaceous scuts, we can reassess these targets.

Fran Merida explains why he rejected a loan move to Levante and talks about how he hopes to make an impact in the first team this season but is quite happy to play in the reserves until then. And when he comes on as a sub against Man City on Saturday and performs the most outstanding sliding tackle to prevent Adebayor from going around a clearly distressed Manuel Almunia, forcing Adebayor off the pitch where he collides with an advertising hoarding (ironically it will be one about pension funds and planning for ones retirement), he’ll feel his chances of first team action will have improved.

Forward  Arsenal, bookThere’s not much more happening than that to be honest, but never fear. To help brighten up your Interlull how about a competition where you can win a book? An Arsenal book, no less. From the same people who republished the Arsenal Stadium Mystery comes ‘Forward Arsenal‘. The bumph says:

The first detailed history of Arsenal Football Club covering the period from the Club’s humble origins in Woolwich in 1886; the move to Highbury in 1913; the successful decade of the 1930’s under the guidance of Herbert Chapman and George Allison; the post-war period under Tom Whittaker and ending with an account of season 1952-3.

Joy looks at the signings and influence of some of the great players of the pre- and post-war era including Alex James, Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake, Eddie Hapgood, Joe Mercer and many others worthy of a mention.

So if Arsenal history is your thing and books are your thing then this will also be your thing because it’s those two things in one thing. To enter simply answer the following question:

Q. Bernard Joy was the last amateur footballer to play for England when he represented his country against Belgium in 1936. Whilst having joined Arsenal in 1935, with which football club was he still registered at the time:

Was it a) Southend United – b) Fulham or c) Casuals FC

If that seems a bit impossible I suggest following the link to ‘Forward Arsenal‘ and having a little read. Just send your answer to [email protected] and the publisher has generously given 6 copies so on Friday I’ll announce those 6 lucky winners.

So, till tomorrow, when we can count the cost of the internationals and do more bemoaning that because of the fractured torso he picked up Cesc won’t be able to take a shot from 45 yards which hits Adebayor’s testicles at such force that one of his testicles comes out of his nose before he snorts it back down to where it belongs.

Now that would be worth bemoaning.

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