We head towards another Sunday kick-off because of Stoke’s UEFA Cup, or whatever you call it these days, exploits. The early team news is that we have no right back. Carl Jenkinson is set to miss a couple of weeks by all accounts having injured his knee against Marseille and the manager has to decide who will fill the gip.
The speculation seems to suggest it’ll be Johan Djourou who is willing to do the job:
I played there in 2008 in games against Porstmouth and Bolton. I am a centre-back first, I love my game, I love playing football and when I can play it’s a relief. So if I have to play right-back to help the team then I will do it.
When you are used to something and then have to move, it is something else. But I’m a player who can play in different positions.
I think that the last time we saw Djourou playing there (in fact, was it the last time we saw Djourou play anywhere?) was the game against Blackburn and he looks a bit uncomfortable at right back. It strikes me that perhaps of all our centre-halves, Koscielny is the best fit for right back. He’s quick, tackles well, likes to intercept and get forward but he played very, very well in France and I imagine there’d be a reluctance to move him from the centre of the defence.
In fact, when you hear the manager talking about his performance I reckon the odds on him being moved are very slim indeed. Arsene says:
I believe he was certainly Man of the Match in that game. You saw in that game what we want from Laurent – he was commanding and playing with authority. That is something that has come out of the game last night.
When he had the ball he was calm, he read the game well and got in front of the strikers to save many dangerous situations. I always thought he would become a great central defender. He is getting there.
So to switch him to right back now would seem counter-productive. I guess as well it’s a chance for Djourou to show he’s better than his recent form suggests. It’ll be tough, I don’t think any centre-half really enjoys playing at full back. It’s not just a move a few yards left or right, there’s so much more involved, so much more running and so much more positional discipline involved. Look at Sagna, for example, he’s like a machine the way he gets up and down the flanks. He’s a brilliant athlete and central defenders really aren’t used to doing that much running.
It’s a shame too for Carl Jenkinson. He’d have been set for a decent run in the team and a chance to develop but this is football. With Sagna out for so long there’s still plenty of time for him to make an impact, With regards to other players out injured, Vermaelen is about two weeks away, although he has started full training, Kieran Gibbs the same with his stomach problem, while Abou Diaby will be a little bit behind them both with a return pencilled in for 2045.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey, last-minute goalscoring hero, says that the the win against Marseille will prove a boost to the team:
The confidence is returning, no question. We’ve not had the greatest of starts but hopefully now we’ve turned a bit of a corner and we’re getting a few wins on the bounce. I feel it’s important to keep up the momentum and hopefully get another win over the weekend which will give us more confidence and belief.
You know how I feel about turning corners, I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but if you look at the results since the Blackburn game you might just speculate that things are improving. We’ve played 6, won 5 and lost that one at White Hart Lane. WWWLWW is pretty good, especially when you compare it to the results that came before. Clearly there’s a lot still to do but as a sequence of results that’s not bad at all, and if the team can feel the confidence returning then that’s also a positive. A good result on Sunday (bearing in mind the Carling Cup is pretty irrelevant at this stage) would set us up nicely for the the fairly daunting trip to Stamford Bridge.
Now though, onto this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by Julian H from Gingers4Limpar to shoot the Arsenal breeze. We look back on a week in which we’ve won two games and examine the two sides of Arsenal we saw against Sunderland. As well as that Internet Joe has his round up and there’s the usual bits and pieces of waffle, guff and nonsense.
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 (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (22mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://podcast.arseblog.com/arsecast/arsecast_episode213.mp3]
Arsene’s press conference later on should give us a better idea of how he’s going to fill the right back gap and we’ll get his thoughts as we prepare to face Tony Pubis, the scuttery, be-capped, rimblistering, dwarfish twatspatula and his team of heaving giganto cunnies. Coverage of that throughout the day on Arseblog News.
Right, that’s yer lot, have a good Friday.