So that’s it. The final Interlull of the season is done and dusted and now we just wait to make sure that the players who went away are in good enough shape to take part this weekend.
As per usual there was a scare over Robin van Persie. He was the victim of a heavy challenge from a Hungarian and taken off at half-time, but according to Dutch coach Berk van Narwahl:
He got kneed in his thigh. But he can play with Arsenal again this weekend.
Which is what he would say so that when it turns out to be a lot more serious than that he can then turn around and say ‘Well, it wasn’t like that when we sent him back. He must have collided with a drinks trolley on the plane. Or something’.
Obviously we’ll wait and see what the club’s assessment of the injury is. It sounds like a dead leg which can be painful but manageable. It all depends how dead it is. It could be as dead as 2 Unlimited were that time everyone thought they were dead. Or it could be Francis Jeffers career dead. Fingers crossed it’s not the latter, bearing in mind the Dutch told us last season Robin would be out for a matter of weeks when his ankle ligaments kept him out for most of the season.
Robin aside I didn’t see any panicked Tweets so I’m assuming there was nothing else to worry about. It won’t take long for us to find out if there is and the players return to the club today for assessment. After that the manager’s got a couple of days to get them focused and prepared for the weekend’s game against Blackburn.
In the Mirror a story about how France want to extend the season with some international friendlies, and speculation that Arsene won’t be happy about the involvement of our French contingent. Which is understandable but there’s precious little we can do about it. It does seem a shame though that in the one summer without an international tournament the national federations can’t just back off and give players the rest they need and deserve.
Andrei Arshavin returns with yet more criticism ringing in his ears, hopefully he can sort his club form out to silence the detractors, while Jack Wilshere’s star continues to rise. He played longer than most of us would have liked against Ghana last night. Sadly Capello doesn’t show the same consideration to all clubs regarding their players as he did to those from Chelsea and United. Are their games more important than ours, or clubs with players battling for Europe/against relegation? Thankfully Jack seemed to come through without bother and I guess it says a lot that a 19 year old is all over the press this morning defending an experienced manager like the Italian.
Jens Lehmann played for the reserves yesterday in a 2-1 defeat to Wigan. Depending on who you read he was assured or he was all flappy, like a neurotic seagull. Having not seen any of it myself I can’t possibly say, only to suggest that a reserve game, on a dodgy pitch, after a few months out of the game, is not suited for passing definitive judgement on a player. It was about getting a bit of match sharpness should he be required during the run in, and not much more than that.
There’s still lot of speculation about whether or not he’ll play at the weekend. Yesterday, I spoke to Bob Wilson for this week’s Arsecast and asked him if he thought Jens was there to provide back up or if he was genuinely in contention for the first team. Bob said:
I would say he’s there as back-up and to give experience in the dressing room. It has to be cover. Although, he’s only been out of the game for 6-7 months, since he played his last game at the top level. He’s not going to lose anything in that time. He’ll have huge experience.
However, I don’t see it unless Manuel had a real attack of nerves or was unable to overcome what was really a very poor decision against West Brom.
So it would be a big surprise if there was any change in the pecking order for this weekend. You can hear the full interview with Bob Wilson on Friday’s Arsecast, and in the meantime please check out Bob Wilson’s Soccer Cycle for details on his upcoming event in which he’s going to cycle to every Premier League ground to raise funds for the Willow Foundation.
Beyond that not much happening this morning. I know a few people are having some issues with the Mailing List and we’re trying to get to the bottom of that. And since the move to the new server there are people who still can’t view the site but that’s entirely down to your ISP and their DNS servers. Not much help, I know, especially as they can’t even read this but there you go. Time heals all wounds and makes all websites available sooner or later.
Hopefully as the day progresses we’ll get more Arsenal news and tomorrow’s blog can be fuller, richer and more engaging. In the meantime, to get you through, here’s a video of Dennis Bergkamp scoring lots of goals. Godporn.