It's Monday… Clichy, Elbows, Squad Strength and More…

But today is a different Monday, it's a great time to look at the league table, Arsenal are top and Sp*rs are bottom - does it get any better? Well, if it finishes this way at the end of the season, I will officially eat my hat!

Clichy's injury has been a big debate, with Bolton chief Gary Megson backing his player and many Bolton fans quite happy with the challenge. The French full-back was taken to hospital for X-rays on his shin after a high challenge by Bolton striker, Kevin Davies. But good news is that X-rays revealed that the foot is only badly bruised and not broken. Of course Clichy will miss tomorrow's game, and he was due to do so, but whether he'll be back against Hull is debatable.

Kevin Nolan, Bolton midfielder said:

“It’s a physical sport. We don’t want it to become like basketball.”

True, but Kev, was there malice in the attempt? I don’t think Davies thought he’d get the ball and I doubt Arsene did either.

“Was it an accident? Was it mistimed? Only Davies can answer that.

“We have no problem with a physical game. It is part of the charm of the game but kicking someone is not in the rules.”

Well, Kolo Toure, who, goal aside, was inspirational at the back also agreed that the challenge was out of order. He said:

“The tackle was a disgrace — very bad. There is no place for that in football. I have nothing against Kevin Davies, he seems a good guy. But he uses his elbows far too much.”

And there was a series of “elbows” from Davies, which the ref seemed to let go. I know it’s part of Davies game, but Kolo may need a few nurofens after that game to recover…!

On the actual game and the three away games, the Ivorian continued:

“In the past we have allowed ourselves to be intimidated but this time we knew that it would be tough at Bolton and we were ready for that. In previous years we have been too easy to beat away but we have shown this week that we are able to win these games.”

Let’s hope Clichy has a speedy recovery, he’s been awesome this and last season and a true professional.

Tomorrow is the Carling Cup and Arsene will potentially make 10 or 11 changes, a proper preview tomorrow, but the squad does look stronger than it did a few weeks ago. A special mention must go to Denilson and Song, who have both really played well in the last few games. Song looked like a proper defensive midfielder and Denilson has showed since the beginning of the season that he’s a good player. He’s got a few assists and a few goals and has overshadowed his midfield partner Cesc. When Cesc does get into gear, we will be on another level indeed.

And our squad strength looks even better when you think about all the players who are out injured at the moment. Arsene mentioned this after the game, when he said:

“There is a lot of quality still at home if you consider Nasri, Rosicky, Silvestre and Eduardo are all injured.”

Of course Arsene missed out Diaby, which either means he is back now or just forgotten in the managers talk. As far as I am aware he is due back in about two weeks. When you look at the form of players such as Bendtner and Eboue this season, we’ve got a bit more of squad strength than we thought.

I leave you today with the next bit of what Arsene said…

“When you are not on the transfer market you are a little bit ignored at the start of the season because the attention is focused on the big signings. Most of the time, big signings mean you are favourites. We have gone a different way. We are trying to build a young side with a cohesive way to play the game with a culture of football we like. We were close last year so there is no reason why we should not be in there again this season. Today we had Denilson 20, Fabregas 21, Bendtner 20, Walcott 19, Song 20. When those players fight for the title one year you can hope they will be better the next year. We are more robust than people think we are.”

And he’s got a point…

Until tomorrow…]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog Kieran Delaney

    < ![CDATA[I have to say, I'm rapidly changing my relatively pessamistic outlook of this season! As you've touched, and I've commented before, both Song and Denilson are revelling in their runs in the team both outshining our talisman Cesc. Once Cesc hits top form I can honestly see our midfield eclipsing most in the league. With Scholes becoming a poor parody of himself (that handball) and Carrick having glass legs and Gerrard the only midfielder at Liverpool, only Chelsea look to me to have a stronger midfield (once our players are all at top fitness). Even then, without Deco, Chelsea looked suspect at times on Sunday. Song protecting the back four like he has recently also seems to have rejuvinated our defence somewhat - we've got the best fullbacks in the league and having Song there seems to enable them to come forward a bit more - we'll see how they make use of that I hope. Gallas and Toure still seem to make silly mistakes, Bolton's goal was no exception on Saturday, but they too look stronger for having some extra protection. I'd like to see Arsenal experiment with a 4-1-3-2 formation actually, relying on Song sitting in front of the back four and the fallbacks getting forward into wide positions.

    Now we only need to get Adebayor practicing in front of goal and get Walcot iron shin pads!]]>