Early Chelsea news + Arsecast 170

Morning all,

I am being tailed everywhere by an ancient basset. Normally he’s Mrs Blogs’ shadow but she’s away at the moment so this means I am the one to follow. Not good news for a dog – normally content to lie around a lot – when he has to keep going up and down the stairs. Good exercise for him though. And I’ve been good, sharing with him my pizza and beer and Ricicles. He’s happy enough.

We’ll start with some early team news ahead of Sunday’s game and it doesn’t look particularly good for Cesc Fabregas. He was left out of the Spanish squad for their upcoming games in the Interlull and Arsene rates him a ‘negative’ 50:50 for the Chelsea game. As important as this game is, and I really do think it’ll be much more difficult without him, we have to get him right.

This hamstring is an ongoing worry now and maybe doing more damage to it when he’s got a couple of weeks off to really get it right would be a big price to pay. I wonder as well if he does play against Chelsea could he be called up for the internationals. It’s a tricky one for the manager and the player but at the moment I think we’re going to have to do without him.

The situation regarding Manuel Almunia is ‘even more difficult’ according to the boss. Almunia hasn’t taken part in a proper training session this week so that means Fabianski will continue unless he makes a rapid recovery. Terrifying, yes. Scary, yes. Bone chilling, yes. Alarming, yes. Pants-brownening, yes. All we can do is hope that the confidence gained from his performance in midweek leads to another competent performance.

Abou Diaby appears to have recovered enough from the injury which didn’t stop him training but saw him left out of the Partizan game. You just get the feeling that, like one of Fabianski’s attempts at a catch, he was dropped. The game on Sunday is one that will require a huge amount of effort which isn’t exactly what he’s renowned for. I think it would be a risk to play him unless he’s had his arse well and truly kicked and told the kind of ambling, strolling performance he put in against West Brom was simply unacceptable. He might be tall and give us some physical presence against a powerful Chelsea side but if that’s why we’re picking him we might as well sign Giant Haystacks. And he’s dead.

We’ll get more team news today when Arsene meets the press and there’ll be more to come on the Chelsea game over the next couple of days.

Jack Wilshere has been called up the England U21 squad and the word is Capello will play him in the senior squad for the second game of the Interlull. If you read this profile piece on the BBC you’d wonder why he isn’t simply in the main squad from the start. The young man has been the major positive for Arsenal so far this season and leaving aside he looks like a moaning half-brother of George Clooney I loved what Owen Coyle said:

Jack is a very gifted player with so much natural ability. Allied to that, he has a really good temperament and a burning desire to be an Arsenal player.

A desire that we all can share even if for most of us the closest we get is recreating FA Cup final goals in our garden while doing the commentary ourselves. I think England need to make a decision – if he’s good enough for the first team squad then play him there and let him leave the U21s behind.

Stoke’s Chairman continues to make an utter fool of himself, demanding an apology for Arsene’s comments about Ryan Shawcross. Once again they ignore the fact he made comments about Robert Huth too. It’s hilarious that they clearly don’t care about the German. Stoke are concerned these comments will damage Shawcross’s career but aren’t concerned enough about his footballing future to tell him to stop severely injuring players with his reckless tackling.

I know this is old ground, and well trodden at that, but it’s rare that someone continues to make such an epic fanny of themselves in public and the more people read about it the better. It is going to make the games with Stoke this season quite the grudge matches, as if they weren’t already. This Scholes fella should be done for incitement. Incitement for me to box his ears, the silly twat.

Right so, time for this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss the goings-on of the week is the honourable Sir Gooner of Holic. On the agenda, West Brom, Chelsea, our goalkeepers and more. George has a tale of the unexpected, there’s the 30 second round-up from Internet Joe and the usual waffle.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (25mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.


Have at it, me and the dog have got Ricicles to eat. Till tomorrow.


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