He just needs to Nick a goal + loans and Almunia

Morning all,

hope you’re well this Tuesday. It’s a bit quiet really, the post-weekend stuff has calmed down and there’s still not a great deal being said about tomorrow night’s game against Ipswich. As rumoured they’ve appointed Paul Jewell as manager to replace Roy Keane. Jewell, of course, was in charge of Wigan when they beat us in the Carling Cup semi-final a few years back before they went on to get hammered in the final by United. I really can’t see lightning strike twice though.

Nicklas Bendtner, despite a poor showing on Saturday which resulted in him leaving the stadium within minutes of full time, is up for the cup, saying:

We need to make sure we go there and keep our run going. For me, we have to get to the final of the Carling Cup. It would be fantastic to win a trophy early on in the season and have something to show for our work already.

And on his comments about being in the first team:

I believe I am good enough to play and there have never been any talks about leaving or anything like that, it is just naturally frustrating if you are not in the side and that’s the same for any player.  All you can do as a player is be patient and keep putting yourself in the manager’s mind, hopefully he then picks you. After that it is your responsibility to take the chance.

As frustrating as he is to watch at times you really can’t fault that attitude. I’d much rather have a player who was unhappy at not playing than one content to exist on the fringes of the team. If you’re not itching to play in every game then I think there’s something wrong with you.

What we have to see from him, however, is him putting his money where his mouth is. He’s not stupid by any means and it’s very easy to say the right things. It’s another thing to go out there and perform when called upon. The harsh reality of being a relatively young player trying to make the breakthrough is that you don’t often get the run of games needed to find your maximum level.

Still, people widely accept the fact that Robin van Persie needs a few consecutive appearances to play himself into form yet when Bendtner makes just his sixth start of a stop-start season he’s not given the same consideration. Now, I’m not suggesting this as an excuse for him, he should have done better with a couple of the chances he had on Saturday, particularly that late volley, but is it unfair to expect him to slam home a winner like that and allow Robin the excuse of a tame finish with just the Birmingham keeper to beat?

The latter is saved, if you like, by the fact Arsenal won that game easily enough in the end. Bendtner’s miss is more costly because of the result. And look, I agree he doesn’t do himself any favours at times, and he should probably just concentrate on playing and leave the talking aside for a while, but he’s hardly unique in needing time to find something approaching form.

There’s still no news on the seriousness of the Squillaci hamstring so it does leave the issue of a January signing up in the air a bit. I do wonder how much we’ll hear about it as well. The club might well play their cards close to their chest knowing bad news will put us in a poor bargaining position. The good thing is that we’ve got money to spend if we choose to do so. It’s whether or not Arsene can find a January target he feels it’s worth spending money on. If he’s got his sights on a summer move for someone who is cup-tied for the Champions League it might influence things, then again it didn’t stop him signing Adebayor a few years ago. We’ll wait and see.

Sanchez Watt talks about life out on loan and the huge difference between it and reserve team football. There’s no doubt it’s chalk and cheese. The pressure and responsibility are far greater and in terms of a player’s development it’s a chance to see how they perform in that more demanding environment. This is why I think it’s crucial that we see JET go out this January and even someone like Craig Eastmond who looks far from ready for first team action for us at the moment.

Speaking of loans, it kind of slipped under the radar a bit that we’ve let Vito Mannone go back to Hull for the rest of the season. As the Daily Star reports that Almunia has decided to leave and go to Turkey it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next couple of weeks. It’s clear that Fabianski and Wojscez©® are the 1 and 2 now but should either of them suffer an injury then we’re looking at inexperienced youngsters like James Shea or Sean McDermott being asked to fill in.

We know Arsene is cautious at the best of times. I just wonder if he’ll hang on to the Spaniard until the summer, just in case. He might not get much action but if needs must I think the manager would prefer to have a bit of experience to call upon. We’re well into the second week of January now so it won’t be too long before we know for sure. Not that this is exactly the kind of nail-biting transfer saga we all enjoy so much.

Not a good night for the reserves last night, beaten 10-1 by Aston Villa. Ok, they played 80 minutes with 10 men but still, that’s a serious thrashing. Interesting to note Nico Yennaris playing centre-half. He’s about as tall as Arshavin. Reserve captain Ignasi Miquel was withdrawn from the squad due to our injury issues and tomorrow night’s game. Whether he starts or not is another thing but at the very least he’ll find himself on the bench.

And Lionel Messi won the Balon D’Or, eh? I suppose he’s all right but Jo must be devastated at yet another cruel snub.

Right, that’s enough of that. More tomorrow with a full preview of the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.

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