So we settle into our Interlull knowing that 14 Arsenal players will be on duty throughout the next couple of weeks. Quite why the official site chose to have a picture of Robin van Persie seemingly being brutally penetrated I just don’t know but if that’s the worst that happens to him in the next couple of weeks I think we can live with that.
For some, like Aaron Ramsey, Bendtner, Chamakh, Eboue, and even Arshavin to an extent, it’s a chance to get some playing time under their belts and to come back into the final few games of the season a bit sharper than they might have been. For others we can only hope the amount of games they play doesn’t take its toll. I’m thinking of Jack Wilshere in particular who has probably played more football than he, or anyone else, expected this campaign.
The looming threat, and it is just that, of the U21 European Championships mean he could play all season, then train and play all summer, and we’ve got hope that for once the FA and those involved do what’s best for the player. If he’s a member of the full England squad, which he seems to be now, making him play again for the U21s won’t do him any good. Especially at the end of a long season in which he’s played the majority of Arsenal’s games.
We’ll wait and see what happens there but in the meantime Jack has urged the team and the fans to get going for the run-in. He says:
There are nine games left and we really have to go to it. Manchester United still have to come to the Emirates, and we will have to beat them there. That is the biggest we have to look forward to. Until then, we will just have to win every game.
In the dressing room, we believe we can win it. Hopefully the fans do too, because we need them behind us as well.
I also worry about Jack being infected by the mere presence of John Terry but hopefully the club have given him some inocculations before sending him away. He’s right though, that United game should be absolutely vital. However, with games against Blackburn, Blackpool, the Mugsmashers, Sp*rs and Bolton to play before we host them there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure that game is as important as we hope it will be.
There’s some fairly ill-timed stuff about Manuel Almunia doing the rounds this morning, which is being twisted a little bit by dodgy headlines, and really I don’t particularly want to think too much about our goalkeeping situation. Those of us who welcomed Jens back did so because we thought his presence in the dressing room, and on the training ground, would be beneficial. Nearly everyone added the caveat that it would probably be best if he didn’t play.
I know it’s easy to call for Almunia to be dropped/hung/quartered/ etc, but I just wonder if people really want to see a 41 year old back in the team. The ideal situation is for Wojscez©® to recover as quickly as possible, all going well mid-April will see him return, but in the meantime I think Almunia is the only option. Of course it wouldn’t do him any harm to take him to one side and say ‘Manuel, if you are going to come out that far make sure you take everything. Man, ball, Squillaci, anyone else, and ensure they end up in no position to roll it into an empty net. Or better still, stay in your fucking area’.
Maybe Jens will keep him on his toes, maybe Jens scares him into mistakes like Saturdays, who knows? Either way we’ve just got to hope for the best between now and the return of the young Pole. And hope their relationship isn’t as forced as this.
Some good news this morning comes from Cesc Fabregas who used his Twitter account to give us an update on his injury. He said:
I started running today for the first time so i’m very happy to be back outside, specially with such a good weather.
May he gambol free and easily through the fields of recovery, over the gate of injury and into the realm of fitness. And if you want to check out what Arsenal players are up to on Twitter, without having to join Twitter, check out Arsenal Players on Twitter.
Transfer tittle-tattle from the Mail regarding Gael Clichy. They reckon ‘make or break’ contract talks will take place inside a month and if they don’t go well then we’ll turn our attention to Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre. It’s an interesting one this. I was told that he was very close to a move away last summer, to a big team who were actively seeking a left back, but perhaps the lack of alternative, plus an unwillingness on behalf of our manager to deal with theirs, played a part. Let’s see what happens with this one but I have a feeling there might be some movement on this come the close season.
Beyond that not much going on. Hopefully today I’ll be launching the online store, just a couple of things to sort out before I do that, but when it happens I’ll throw up a post on the blog. At the moment there are four t-shirts, a print and a mug, but sadly the mug won’t be available for another week or so.