It won’t be until later today that we get a full run down of the players who were on international duty, but there’s already some worrying news about Bacary Sagna. He’s admitted he’s unsure if he’ll be fit for Saturday after picking up an ankle knock while away with France.
Now that would be a blow. Having come through pre-season really well, looking very much like his old self, to lose Sagna now would be bad news indeed. While I like Carl Jenkinson’s honesty and effort, the Frenchman is a class above and with a squad so thin we simply cannot afford to lose anyone.
The other thing to add to the worry is that it looks as if Arsene Wenger has been counting on Sagna to act as back-up to the two fit centre-halves we have. We know Thomas Vermaelen is going to miss at least a month with his back problem and with Djourou, Squillaci and Miquel gone from last season’s options we’re skating on very thin ice.
In fact, we’re not so much skating on it, as jumping up and down on it shouting ‘Go on! Break! I dare you, you pussy ice asshole’. While carrying a comedy ACME 25 ton anvil. And shooting it with rockets. We can certainly be aggrieved that a player has been injured on the eve of a new season playing in a meaningless friendly game, but we can also be aggrieved that said injury weakens the squad that much.
Hopefully he’ll be ok, because looking beyond Saturday we’ve got a trip to Turkey in midweek and any mishaps at the weekend involving Per or Kos and we’re in a bit of a fix. Elsewhere, Santi Cazorla scored for Spain in their late-night win over Ecuador, Theo Walcott was on the score sheet for England in a game which saw Jack Wilshere get another 45 minutes under his belt.
There haven’t been any other reports of injury scares so fingers crossed the players will be in decent shape when they start to trickle back to London today. They’ll have tomorrow to train together, to get prepared mentally for the Villa game because they should all be in fairly decent physical shape at this point, and ready themselves for the first Premier League game of the season.
At this point it looks as if they’ll be going into the season without the reinforcements we both need, and that they, as players, want to help them compete. There’s some talk of a £49m bid for Luis Suarez but at this point I think we’re pissing in the wind with that one. Apparently he’s denied saying he was going to stay at Liverpool. Tomorrow he might deny denying that, in which case it’ll be a double denial which he can then later deny through the back channels until it gets to a point where nobody knows what he’s denying.
The other Luiz, Gustavo of München, is, if you believe anything you read at this point, going to sign for Wolfsburg. Of course you can never be sure about these things until they actually happen, but it looks far more likely that he’ll go somewhere else than come to us. Unless Sagna’s injury puts the shits up the manager and he has to do something in a hurry I just can’t see it happening.
As I wrote the other day, it seems preposterous at this point that we might do something sensible like improve our squad with a good player in good time, or before important games in which league points and Champions League qualification are up for grabs. Maybe Arsene feels Gustavo isn’t worth what Bayern want or isn’t worthy of the wages he’s seeking, and let’s face it, value for money is certainly the most important consideration on the eve of a new season when you’ve got a squad so thin it makes Kate Moss look like Jabba the Hut.
Not that I’m saying we should overpay or be held to ransom, but when you back yourself into a corner sometimes you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get out. The question of why, when so much was right for us after all the hard work we put in last season, we found ourselves in that corner is one I just can’t answer and struggle to make any sense of.
Arsene’s first press conference of the new season takes place tomorrow and while these things are generally fairly tame, and the most vanilla of vanilla questions tend to be asked, it’d be interesting if someone had the stones to just say ‘Arsene. Come on. What’s going on? Seriously. Is this some kind of art project like when Joaquin Phoenix grew a massive beard and pretended to be a rapper? Is that what it is? You can’t be serious about going into a new season with that squad.’
“I am not close to answering that question but when I am you’ll be the first to know.”
So, I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m not expecting any huge insight into what’s happened in the months between the end of the last season and the start of his new one, but you never know.
Right, that’s about that. Just time to give you the winners of the Jack Wilshere book competition and they are: Ryan Wiggers, Anil Anand, Andy Starkey, Cathy Cairns and Annabel Green. Well done to you, I’ll be in touch to get your details and we’ll get the books sent out.
Have a good Thursday, back tomorrow with the first Arsecast of the new season. Until then.