Evening all, it’s Tuesday today (well it may be Wednesday and not today when you read this (although it’s always “today”) but today on Wednesday would be yesterday, of course – unless you read this on Thursday, in which although today will be today, the today I am referring to will be the day before yesterday).
Let’s start again…
It’s Tuesday today and we’re all settling back into our normal routine, many things have happened and many things have been said, it’s time to review and reflect on a crazy few days. As reported yesterday, the official announcement from Arsenal is that we’ll probably see Eduardo back in action in about 9 months.
That’s great news, and a real bonus considering some of the reports saying that he may never play again.
Our Attacking Options
With Eduardo out for the rest of the season, there is now some concern for our attacking options. Let’s have a look at who we have got available and their contribution to the team.
Ade has scored 19 league goals this season and has really shown his class. When Thierry left, everyone wondered who would be the 20 goal a season stiker. I will be the first to put my hands up and say that there were many a time last season when I thought somewhat negative thoughts about Ade… but I seriously proven wrong… he has been amazing this season. He has been a real gem in our attack, scored all sorts of goals (with a few crackers too). Arsene once again has proved that we should all trust him! Surpirsingly, Ade has not scored in the Champions League yet… Ade spoke today on his lack of CL goals:“When the goals come they will come. Of course that is what I am fighting for. But it does not worry me. I am not putting pressure on myself. Against Milan [at home], the ball did not want to go in.”I agree with him, they will come and a hatrick against Milan will do nicely
Something quite rememborable is Ade’s miss against Milan, and hopefully that’s something he resolves out in Milan with a few goals and a sterling performance. He has been talking about the game:
“We will go there with confidence. We know that beating Milan is something that will be important for us, our families and the fans, so of course our confidence will be very high. We will play our football, pass and move and if we have a chance to win the game that is what we will do.
||Robin Van Persie
When Thierry left, everyone looked at Van Persie as one of the main players who would become an integral part of our team and give us the “va-va-voom”. He certainly showed promising signs of such a season when he scored an excellent goal against Inter Milan in the Emirates Cup earlier this season. But for the two and a half seasons running, we have seen VP get injured and stay injured for big periods of the season. No one thought he would get injured so many times this year, but I think VP will be the most disappointed player. Wenger recently talked about his return to the squad:“He is not a very long away from being fit at all but he lacks match-practice. Could he be in the squad? Maybe but don’t forget he has not played regularly for five months now.”He could return, but I won’t put my house on him keeping fit during the run in!
Robin could be in the squad this Saturday against Aston Villa, we’ll find out more tomorrow…
Nicklas has had a promising start to his Arsenal career with some good performances in both the cups and the league. He won hero status when he scored his first league goal against Sp*rs in the league match, which turned out to be the winner. Nicklas is good on the floor and good in the air. However, he does have the ability to fade in and out of games, and a few FA cup and Carling cup games he has really been anonymous. We have to remember that Nicklas is only 20 years of age and will not have the consistency this year as he will next. He spoke after the Birmingham game:“We need to recover quickly and start coming out on top again. We can’t keep thinking about this day because it has just been terrible.He has the ability, he has his biggest chance now.
Niklas will start against Villa, with our lack of midfield options, we simply can’t play 4-5-1
“Young Theo” as he is known to some of us, has had a stop start season. He has shone in bits last season, but suffered a shoulder injury which affected him both physically and mentally. He has impressive for the England Under 21s and seems to play with a little bit less pressure when away with England. On Saturday, playing on the right wing, Theo really was the man of the match. He scored his first two league goals and was a different player in the second half. Overshadowed somewhat by the Eduardo injury. Although Arsene believes he will ultimately play as a striker, he says he is currently more apt“He looked more comfortable on the right. In the future he will certainly be a central player. But at the moment with his back to goal, he does not look completely comfortable yet. When we play on the counter-attack, he is very good though the middle. When we dominate the games, he is better on the flank still I feel.” He could play an increasingly bigger part in our quest for the title.
Theo will now get a run of games, we hope we can see a bit more of the cameo against Milan and performance against Birmingham.
Alexander has played an instrumental part in our season so far. He has been our wizard in midfield. In a 4-5-1, Arsene has opted for him in a support striker role. Hleb will be the first to tell you he is a creator rather than a finisher. Hleb says that Arsenal have been set free this season (it’s a rather long quote):“When we play on the counter-attack, he is very good though the middle. When we dominate the games, he is better on the flank still I feel. Until last summer, we had just played for Thierry Henry. He was running the show. Whenever I got the ball, I was looking up, ‘where’s Henry?’ I did not care to go for goal myself! And if once in a while I dared to pass the ball to someone else, he would shout, ‘hey, I was free!’ When he was on form, we won everything. When he was off form, we lost. That has all changed. We are not a one-man band any more. Nobody complains when I risk some dribbling. That’s the reason for our good performances – we were set free.” I prefer to see Hleb ply he trade in midfield and have two stikers feed off him, but with away ties to United and Milan, you feel he could be used in this tactic more often.
Alex will most probably play as the support striker in the San Siro, but we will see him on the left of midfield this weekend as Rosicky and Diaby are both still out.
Giles joined us this summer from french club Chateauroux. He is a talented youngster, a good finisher and a hard worker. He is only 16 at the moment, but has the body and stature of a 20 year old. He will be 17 this March. He is definitely one for the future, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the bench. Liam Brady said:“He’s an all-action centre forward. We had him come to a tournament in Italy in late April and he did very well. He’s hard-working and good on the ball.”Academy coach Steve Bould added, “Gilles is a really hard working lad. He runs the line all day long and we’ve been delighted with his attitude. Everyone’s taken to him and through shear endeavour he’s enamoured himself with everyone at the Club.”It may be too early, but then as Arsene knows, if you’re good enough you’re old enough.
Giles is pacey and strong, he may be the one who we see first, on the bench at least.
Rui Fonte joined us from his home town club, Sporting Lisbon last summer (2006 -yes, for an undisclosed fee). He is a Portuguese Under 21 stiker and has been a star of the Reserves and Under 21′s this season. He is a fast, skillful player, who turns 18 later this year. One for the future, but may be may called upon sparingly at the end of this season.“The game in England is faster and more physical than in Portugal. Playing in the reserves last season I do not believe I was quite strong enough and so I played a very mobile and quick give-and-go style until I gotused to the physical side and developed my strength. “One for the future… but may be called upon this season…
Rui has recently been called up to the Under 19′s match and definitely worth keeping an eye on his performances.
||For next season, Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela has been touted as the “next big thing”, “a whizzkid”, “something special” and I really hope he shows what he’s made of. Carlos is currently on loan at Osasuna and has been in good form, creating and scoring goals in the Primera Liga. It’s unlikely that he will be recalled from his loan spell or can be. But he will join the first team squad this summer and definitely has something special about him. Carlos himself is very excited at the prospect of coming to London.“I hope to join them as soon as possible. I will keep on working hard to improve to fit in quickly.”Although, we won’t see any of him in an Arsenal shirt this season, keep an eye on his performances in Spain.
Carlos recently scored one and created one against a very strong Athletico Madrid team.
A Cultured Left Foot talks about Vela’s recent comments, quoted here:
I lack everything. At 18 I don’t need to hear that I’m a phenomenon, a ‘crack’ – it’s not the case. I’m still growing. Every game sees my gain experience and learn things, and I see that in all aspects.
Here is an interesting blog that blogs only about Carlos.
Quick Round Up
Gunnerslive (formerly thirdGenn), has a nice picture from a mini Gooner, take a look!
I’ve had a review of our attacking options in the final stretch of the season but here is a quick round up of all the other news in the papers and on TV today.
Cesc has been speaking to the news today and talks about how it would be unbelievable to win the league… I hope he believes it… 11 games to go… his recent interview in the Arsenal magazine reads:
“It is true that people were taking us out of the top four at the start of the season, even placing us in the middle of the table. I don’t think it added pressure, in fact it probably helped us more because we wanted to show everyone what we could do. It fired us up. We knew we had the quality, we know what we can do. The important thing is always not what others believe, but what you yourself believe.” – Read more here.
Meanwhile, good news, Mr Arsenal himself, Kolo Toure has recovered from his injury and although too short for Aston Villa, should make a return to the team for the game in Milan…. He is confident that we can get through this game and qualify, he may be the hidden gem, leader of the pack that is required for a game out there.
“I should be a bit short for Saturday against Aston Villa, however against Milan, fingers crossed, I will be fine. We are going there to qualify, Milan will be favourites in their stadium, however we have already won there heavily so they will be ready for us. We beat Inter 5-1 in the San Siro so we can do it to their fierce rivals.”
Finally, young goalkeeper Fabianski has been busy visiting the FACT charity and has been speaking on Arsenal.com.
Okay, it’s been one of those slightly longer than usual posts today… I hope you’ve finished that cup of tea by now!]]>