Welcome to Monday, and if the pedants will forgive me, welcome to the start of a new footballing week. Yesterday, last weeks matches were completed, and no, I am not going to mention anybody squandering a two goal lead. Not again. My stomach is still sore from all that laughter. I can’t smile without you? Hoho! Barry Manilow, eat your heart out.
So this footballing week we can look forward to matchday six of the Champions League, and a tasty little trip to Anfield, which in April provided one of the matches of last season, when the Mugsmashers snatched a dramatic 4-4 draw against Andrey Arshavin. I will always wonder what might have happened if we could have spared any other players to go up there that night.
You cannot consider these two fixtures in isolation. The need to have a fit squad capable of getting some sort of a result next Sunday will surely negate any urge to risk any further damaging injuries in Athens on Wednesday evening? Or will it?
Perhaps those currently short of either form, or match-fitness, may be taken along to provide some leadership for the youngsters who will surely form the bulk of the travelling party. Therefore the likes of Philippe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre, Theo Walcott, and Carlos Vela, plus Eduardo if he is fit, may get a start at Olympiacos. Blogs will want to preview that game in depth himself following his return tomorrow, so I’ll leave it there for you to ponder in the meantime.
One player I would like to see left at home is Aaron Ramsey. The eighteen year old is on the verge of establishing himself, both at the Grove, and in the full Welsh international side. A good performance for the Gunners at Molineux in November was followed by a match-winning display for his country against Scotland.
It looked possible he could be set for a run in the side but a less than convincing showing in the defeat at Sunderland cost him his place in the starting line-up. Hopefully the goal he scored against Stoke after replacing Emmanuel Eboue on Saturday will have lifted him again. With Tomas Rosicky likely to miss the next month, and Abou Diaby still to return to fitness, Ramsey could yet get further opportunities, and I for one would be pleased to see it.
The Guardian revealed that Arsene Wenger is devastated at the loss of Rosicky this weekend, and carried an interesting quote from ‘Le Boss’.
“We pick up more injuries than the other big teams, that is true. You cannot say there is not a reason for it but we have not found it yet.”
I have read that a few times now, because it is something so similar to some of the things that a lot of supporters have been saying as well. Strangely he is quoted on a weekend when Manchester United may also claim to be suffering similar numbers of players under treatment. However, I was drawn to the second sentence again and again.
It seems to me that even Arsene has been concerned at the possibility that something in either the dietary, or fitness, regime at the club may be a contributory factor. That being the case I hope they find the cause soon, while we still have a handful of players with first team experience still capable of walking.
I should also point out before heading for work that the Mirror, that great provider of non-stories, runs with the death of a non-story, pointing out Arsene’s amused, and amusing, response to speculation linking us with Ruud van Casualty.
Rather than overplay the faux reports from Barcelona can I take this opportunity on my last day here to say thanks to Blogs for asking me to fill in for him this weekend, and also thanks to you, the readers, the Arseblog community, for lots of kind comments. I really struggled to squeeze a flat cap onto my swollen head yesterday before venturing out shopping. It has been an education, and has confirmed to me that publishing something of this magnitude and consistent quality on a daily basis, for as long as he has, is a quite remarkable achievement.
I’m glad you finally got your long weekend away Blogs, but even more glad that you will be back in the morning so I can return to my own bijou little establishment. And next time, can you and Tom synchronise your diaries?