Interlull: Saturday round-up

Hello there,

a quick Saturday round-up for you. Robin van Persie was in action for Holland last night, and scored a goal, and didn’t leave the field paralysed from the neck down. Which is a bonus. Lots more games today including that interesting one between Wales and England, Aaron v Jack and all that.

This morning’s papers full of John Terry talking about Jack and how great he is. I have to say it makes me feel grubby even looking at it. It should be a good game though, fingers crossed our two young midfielders come through with flying colours and no need for medical attention.

Samir Nasri captained France to victory last night, congratulations to him for that, while Tomas Rosicky played the full game for the Czechs as they lost to Spain.

One man who has spent a long time out injured is Thomas Vermaelen who has spoken about his achilles problem. As with many players he felt he could play through the discomfort in the early stages:

I’m a player they have to slow down – that’s my problem. I felt a little pain, but I had something in my head: I’ll cope with it. That’s wasn’t too smart: you can’t beat nature. After a few weeks I personally indicated that I had to slow down. It didn’t feel that comfortable.

Of course you wonder if doing more damage to it has contributed to the length of the absence but it happens all the time. Players want to play and hope they can get through little niggles without them turning into major issues. I doubt for one second that he’d have envisaged being out this long but I suspect it will be a lesson learned. Unless he figures out a way of beating nature in the meantime.

On the plus side he reckons his time off has allowed him to address some weaknesses by studying the game from a different angle.

Back at the training ground the captain posted a picture on Twitter of himself, Theo, Alex Song and Abou Diaby all getting ready to go out training. So that’s positive. Hopefully they’ll all be fit and ready for the Blackburn game next weekend. Diaby, I have to say, looks almost exactly like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz with his ruby slippers on.

Some comments made to ATVO have led many to speculate that the manager is considering a recall for Jens Lehmann. He said:

I do not want to make a public debate of that. I believe for every game you consider three days before the game who will play in the next match

On the one hand he might mean just that. We’re a week away from the game and he hasn’t yet thought about who he’ll select because he doesn’t know who he’ll have available. On the other they’re hardly comments which will inspire confidence in Manuel. To be fair, you could bring him into the finest surgery in the land, have him undergo a Confidenceplasty, inject him with a serum made from the blood of Wojscezg® and Muhammed Ali and he’d still look like a startled deer who had just been told by his domineering father moments before that was rubbish at everything and would amount to nothing in his life.

Regardless of what happened at West Brom last weekend I can’t see him make the change but maybe he’s using the uncertainty to try and get more from Almunia. I suppose you’ve got to try everything.

As for what lies ahead, he says:

It’s important to keep calm, relaxed and focused. Not to rush your game, not to become too nervous. That’s an important part of it. Every year we have a stronger second half of the season.

I’d like to see the stats for that but it’s probably true, mostly because the second half of the season does not contain the month of November. However, we’ve also found ourselves in the final stages of the season throwing away points and losing games we really shouldn’t have. I hate to bring it up but Wigan away last season was a disaster and the perception is probably that we don’t finish seasons as strongly as we should.

Nine games to go. As Tim from Arse2Mouse said on yesterday’s Arsecast (or maybe he said it in the bit after we’d finished recording), we don’t necessarily have to win all nine. We just have to match United’s results, beat them and win our game in hand. Which does make it sound more doable. Until you look at the fixture list and it all gets a bit scary again. Anyway, we can start worrying about that next week.

Also, just wanted to touch on that Sagna story from yesterday again. As usual, various sections of the media spun it so it was all about how just Arsenal needed protection. The implication being that the weak foreigners were bleating again. And it’s that kind of spin which means the issue of dangerous, reckless tackling is never properly addressed.

Write it off as an Arsenal player whinging and you can point, laugh and ignore it. And still those tackles will continue to badly injure players and those kinds of players will remain not those kinds of players. It’s all fun and games until someone they really like gets injured. Which, you fear, is what it will take for the issue to be taken seriously once and for all.

Anyway, that’s about that. Enjoy your Saturday Interlull, back tomorrow.

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