Another day, another couple of three month injuries. Fairly standard stuff at the Arsenal.
As vexed as I am by the absences, in this situation I’m a little torn. On the one hand the idea that Mikel Arteta has fallen victim to a ‘bony spur’ and that it’s only been discovered now is a bit frustrating. He’s been out since Nov 26th and there was clearly something amiss all season, so you could question why it’s taken so long to diagnose. Maybe it was last resort stuff that discovered the issue, nevertheless it’s a big blow for the team and Arteta himself.
It is, essentially, a season-ender for the captain. If we take three months from now we’re talking mid-April, at which point he’ll have to find match fitness and with the run-in usually so crucial it’s hard to throw players in like that. Especially when you consider that we face Chelsea and Man Utd in our final 6 games.
On the other hand the Debuchy one is maddening because it wasn’t our fault at all and it was so unnecessary. People keep saying that Arnautovic didn’t intend to injure him that badly, and I’m sure he didn’t want to do that much damage to him, but when you push a player while he’s in the air into some advertising hoardings, then it’s usually designed to rough up your opponent a bit. You can’t plead angelic innocence there and expect people to believe you.
The fact it was so deliberate and so needless makes it all the more annoying that we’re without a player for three months and he gets away with it scot-free. If there’s any justice the Stoke player will step on a plug at some point today as well as getting a zit right on the inside of his nose so every time he moves his face slightly it makes him want to sneeze but every time he tries somebody comes up behind him and goes ‘AWOOOSH’ right at the moment of sneezejaculation and he can’t get it out. Wanker.
Bottom line for us, however, is missing two experienced, quality players for three months and we could really do without that. Will it make the manager more inclined to go into the transfer market? He said yesterday that he was working day and night to try and find “one or two” new players during this window, but we’ve heard that before. The proof of that particular pudding will be in the eating of the pudding when the players are signed and not the talk of the recipe of the pudding about how we’re going to make the pudding but instead of pudding we get some dried crackers and cheese with fur on it.
I suspect a midfield signing is very unlikely so that probably means good news for Francis Coquelin who will get more chances. Sunday, of course, is a big test for him. He’s played well in recent games but it’s also not unfair to suggest that the calibre of the opposition in those games doesn’t come close to that of Man City. He’ll have his work cut out for him and maybe that will give the manager further indication of what he needs to do in the window.
I think we’d be absolutely out of our minds not to buy a defender of some kind, and the manager hinted that’s probably where the money is going to spent despite wanting to ‘give chances’ to Bellerin and Chambers. Koscielny’s playing through pain, Gibbs is injury prone and in and out of the team, while at some point Per is going to need a rest having played almost every minute of every game so far this season. Maybe it’s over-stating it a bit but even with the attacking quality we’ve got in this team, unless we bolster our defensive options we’re going to really struggle to finish where we need to this season.
It does look as if Krystian Bielik, the Legia Warsaw midfielder, is on his way, but by his own admission he’s not ready yet for first team football at Arsenal. He’s one for the future, and I’m all good with that, but he ought not to be one of the “one or two” we’re looking for between now and February 2nd. Let’s hope the manager expands a little bit on his plans when he meets the press today.
Right then time for this week’s Arsecast and, in the wake of the Mathieu Debuchy injury, I’m joined by Glenn Moore, football editor of the Independent, to talk about sly pushes and the dangers they present. After that there’s a good chat with the Man from East Lower and Goonerholic about the open transfer window, how the new injury updates might force our hand in the market, some player chat including Coquelin and the keeper situation and more.
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We’ll have all the news from the press conference over on Arseblog News, as well as anything that’s breaking throughout the day. More from me tomorrow.