Morning all, back to grind this weekend as we look ahead to a Premier League game against Everton tomorrow.
Already we know we’re going to be without Aaron Ramsey as his hamstring injury is set to keep him out until after the next Interlull. Speaking yesterday, Arsene Wenger said:
I believe he will be out until after the next international break. With the last international break, the fact that he played against Andorra certainly cost Bale and him as well.
The reaction to Bale’s injury in Spain was quite something – although there’s always been a touch of the melodramatic about the way things are reported there, especially when it comes to the big two. It’s still a blow to lose Ramsey though, but when you run as much as he does – and apparently he’d done over 7k in the game on Tuesday by the 55th minute – something has to give at some point.
It’s a reminder that even though we all want to see the ‘best’ team picked week in, week out, the consequence of doing that is increased chance of losing a player to an injury caused by fatigue. I do wonder if this weekend’s team will be slightly mindful of that, because the effort that went into Tuesday will have left some of them with tired legs, that’s for sure. I think if you had the likes of Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky available, it would make it a bit easier, in their absence the changes aren’t quite as easy to make.
Similarly, while we’ve got Gabriel to give a centre-half a rest, and decent back-up full backs like Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy, the way Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are performing is so integral to the way the team is playing you can barely even consider rotation there – unless it’s demanded by tiredness, or being in that fabled ‘red zone’.
Nevertheless, Ramsey’s absence opens the door for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get a run of games. With Theo Walcott now considered a central-striker, it looks as if this is a chance for the Ox to step up. He’s been in and out of the team this season, mostly because it hasn’t always worked with him out right. The fact that we had the safety net of Ramsey means he’s never had a chance to build consistency, and when you look at who he might face, it’ll be a challenge for him.
Everton tomorrow, perhaps some Capital One Cup involvement, Swansea away, Bayern Munich away, then a North London derby before we go into that next international break. Big games, and at 22 he’s no kid anymore. The potential and the talent is there, hopefully this chance is the break he needs to really make that impact.
Meanwhile, David Ospina is also sidelined with a shoulder injury he picked up on international duty, leaving 21 year old Matt Macey as the back-up to Petr Cech (with Deyan Iliev and Ryan Huddart on the radar too). Macey has yet to play a first team game for us, and it’ll be interesting to see if he gets a go in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield Wednesday next week.
It won’t be an issue of fatigue with Cech, simply that with the other games coming up in the league and the Champions League, if he did pick up an injury in that particular tournament, it’d be pretty daft. So, a chance for a young player to make a mark, or not, but that all adds to the fun of it. Ospina, like Ramsey, is expected back after the international break.
Speaking of injuries though, it does look as if things are improving since the arrival of Shad Forsythe and the other new staff we recruited over the last while. It’ll be interesting to see the medium-long term effects of his work – especially if represented graphically with pie-charts and that because that works better for my brain – but so far it looks very promising.
Some bonus reading for you this morning, as Tim Stillman’s latest looks at Arsenal in the big games. I especially like the bit about the marginals, not simply because they’re things overlooked when you win, but the idea that you do also have some control over these moments because of increased quality. Good stuff, get reading.
Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast and to discuss the big win over Bayern Munich I’m joined by Amy Lawrence. We chat about the game, Arsenal’s need to find consistency, Olivier Giroud, and what’s going at youth level – in particular the coaching development of former Gunner Thierry Henry. There’s also something from the Angriest Man on Twitter, and all the usual waffle too.
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 the Arsecast directly, use the link below the player, and if you are a regular listener via iTunes, if you would be so kind as to leave a review/rating that would be greatly appreciated.
The manager will meet the press today ahead of the Everton game, and we’ll have more comprehensive team news, and perhaps an idea if he might be inclined to change things around for tomorrow’s evening kick-off.
All the news etc will be over on Arseblog News. I’m hopeful the Gent will be around later on after his disappearance last week. I’m sure he has a perfectly good explanation though. And some scarring on his lower parts, but let’s not go there this early in the morning.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a full preview of the Everton game and more. Until then, have a good Friday.