Cesc Speaks and Injuries Mount…

The international break has seen injuries to Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner. Gallas has suffered a hamstring injury and he's out for Saturday and most probably out for the midweek game too. Sagna has a knee injury and will also be out for the next two games. Bendtner has an ankle injury and will definitely miss Saturday but may be back for Fenerbache.

Cesc also returned with a broken nose, but should be available to play, and Diaby is also due to be named in the squad.

In place for Gallas, we should see Djourou come in at the back. He's currently suffering from concussion, but he should be able to play. Some have suggested that Silvestre and Toure may start in the middle with Djourou on the right. The other option would see Eboue be deployed at right back, but Arsene has often avoided that choice. Another option would to bring Song into the centre back position if preferred to Silvestre.

Van Persie may not start as he's been in the wars a little over the international break and there could be a front pairing of Vela and four goal hero, Ade.

Nasri, Denilson and Walcott have no reported problems, so along side Cesc, that should be our midfield.

Cesc has been in the news today and he's been very supportive of the manager.

“Arsène has built an unbelievable squad here. We have great spirit and I have complete trust in the manager’s policy. Arsène is the best at giving youngsters a chance. No-one else comes close to him for that. He doesn’t care how old you are, as long as you are good enough and has the confidence to give young players a chance. Anything said to the contrary is simply not true and I would like to reiterate to all Arsenal supporters that I am 100 per cent behind the team and the manager.

“The future is bright. Players like Denilson, Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri have shown real class this season and I’m positive we have the quality to challenge for the title. Yes we do have a lot of young players, but they have all shown they can handle it at the top level in the Premier League and Champions League. It’s hard to imagine I’m one of the oldest players at the Club now but it will be a privilege to help guide some of these youngsters through.

“We’re the envy of every other club and it’s so exciting to be a part of that.”

In one way, I think this is a little reaction to Roy Keane’s outburst pre-international, but it’s great to hear such comments from the young Spaniard. We’ve seen in the games against Blackburn, Bolton and Porto that we definitely have the quality to challenge. The key is to maintain some sort of consistency. Three points on Saturday would be a good tonic to see us push up a little, we really need to ensure we win all our home games and after the surprise loss at home to Hull, the players would be keen to erase that memory.

A proper Everton preview tomorrow… until then…]]>

  • Sharon

    I just want to know who broke Cesc’s nose.

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

    < ![CDATA[I'm excited about seeing Vela get a crack at the nut. Not so excited that it will be with Clown Feet up front, but a breaks a break.

    Interesting to see how our back four will bear up without Gallas then - I guess we'll soon see how much impact he has, bad or good.

    Sagna will be a miss though, a big miss.]]>

  • Fo

    Djourou is a star in the making!! Vela looks like a player who loves to play and loves to score. Can’t wait to see him in action…!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I'm so happy Fabregasd said those things because I was beginning to get worried that he wasn't 100% focused on Arsenal after some mid-week comments that included the name 'Hleb'! But I still feel that he not been at the best this season, and he can only get better!

    It would be interesting to see Vela and Ade start up front together. I hope and I'm sure Vela will do fabulously well. (I hope he does better than Ade! (sorry!))

    As for the injury to Gallas, I'd actually like to see if we can play better defensively without him cos that may just prove people wrong/right that Gallas is to blame for the few bad games we've had.

    But either way, hopefully we can restart the season with a win. Come on you GUNNERS!!!]]>

  • pissed off

    Good acid test for Wenger and all Arsene fans. I hope we come out of this unscattered.

  • juniper

    < ![CDATA[I said I'd stay and even with my broken nose, I'm not going to cry about it - Cesc Fabregas ready to fight for Arsenal as he dreams of adding to Spanish silverware

    Cesc Fabregas has vowed to battle on and give his all for Arsenal despite sustaining a broken nose in midweek while playing for Spain.
    Fabregas was back training at London Colney yesterday ahead of tomorrow's match with Everton after being injured in Spain's 27th match without defeat - a 2-1 victory over Belgium in Brussels.
    Despite revealing earlier this month that he may consider his future if Arsenal fail to win any trophies at the end of the season, Fabregas also insisted that he will continue to give his all for Wenger - broken bones or not.
    'I'm not the kind of guy to make a decision to stay and then start crying about how much I want to leave all of a sudden,' he added.
    'Arsenal have given me everything since I was 16 and I'd never announce that I'm itching to get back to Spain out of respect to the fans, the club and my team-mates for a start.

    'It was an eye-opener to me in the summer when I discovered that it was possible to arrive at a big final [Euro 2008], win it and enjoy the whole experience massively.

    'That brought me loads of extra confidence and, frankly, makes me all the more hungry to repeat the process.

    'It was an eye-opener to me in the summer when I discovered that it was possible to arrive at a big final [Euro 2008], win it and enjoy the whole experience massively.

    'That brought me loads of extra confidence and, frankly, makes me all the more hungry to repeat the process.'
    Fabregas accepts that he may one day play in La Liga but, for now, he believes in Wenger's youth policy and is critical of billionaire owners who treat clubs like 'toys'.

    He said: 'My ego is totally under control despite the fact that I'm a champion of Europe with Spain – in fact although footballing life in England, thanks to Arsenal, makes me feel a far more important player than my time with the national team.
    'I'm also aware that the key to understanding Arsene Wenger is that he has crystal clear ideas about what he wants.
    'He doesn't just want to go and spend money – I don't think there's another coach like him anywhere in the world. His philosophy remains to show faith in the young talents.

    'He knows full well that were Arsenal to go out and succeed in buying, say, Cristiano Ronaldo then how would you ever discover the extent to which Theo Walcott can reach his full potential?
    'It's good, too, that Arsenal is not one of those clubs owned by a "magnate". It seems to me that for mega-rich guys like that buying football clubs is like a "hobby". Effectively it's like collecting another toy and if you go off it one month then you just change it.']]>

  • Fo

    Cesc for captain!!!!

  • juniper

    < ![CDATA[So much has been written said about the “unfair” booing of Ashley Cole that I have to say something about it myself. For a costly back pass, which could have been made by any defender on a bad day, Ashley got a backlash he won’t forget. At least I hope he does not. For a spoilt, deluded and utterly disrespectful individual I think he got what he deserved. The emphasis here is the “individual” and NOT the footballer as many people have got mixed up or just cannot see.

    The way the manager and his colleagues leapt to his defence is understandable as they are protecting one of their own. But the way the rest of the media have reacted in his defence is utterly disgraceful. To defend an individual who is essentially a bad role model for any upcoming footballer is pathetic. Calling the boo-boys “disgraceful” shows an utter lack of respect for people who have an opinion and are ready to express it. As if that is something that the media is free to do but the man on the street is not.

    He got what has been coming for a long time. His continued lack of respect for all things football be it clubs, players or officials is plain for all to see. His lack of grace in admitting to his failures and working on them shows no character whatsoever. I do not think his personal life has got anything to do with the booing, it is his attitude and lack of any kind of humility which evokes such fury. To say only Arsenal fans feel angered by his behaviour is a piece of short-sightedness reserved only for Fleet Street’s finest. The common man is far too intelligent to boo a player in an England shirt just for laughs.

    Footballing talent cannot be used as an excuse for bad and uncultured behaviour. People might say he is the best left back in the world and can make a mistake and should not be booed for it. I say the booing is not for one bad back pass, it’s for the individual and what he stands for. So please do not deny supporters who pay a right to tell the tw*t what they really think he is. A pathetic individual, a good footballer, exceptionally bad role model. And while you have the chance to let him know it, give it with both barrels. That way the rest of the players know that their character is as important as their footballing talent, and mistakes might be forgiven only if you are graceful enough to admit to having committed them.]]>

  • raj

    < ![CDATA[i too would love to see vela play, its a pity our tall dane is injured as i think they play superbly together.

    Ade is just a waste in my opinion (still made him captain on the fant league thing) what...you never know!

    I sincerely hope we coast past the toffees now we need a morale boosting win]]>

  • jason

    A FEW very quick thoughts ahead of tomorrow¿s game: Aaron Ramsey was brilliant in midweek. Since the England v Wales game everybody has been throwing in their tuppence worth on who he reminds them of. I¿d simply say that while their games are not identical, he offers genuine promise of being a long term alternative to Cesc. Sadly, what I do not think he currently offers us is a solution to our current midfield grief. The best hope on that is the return of Abou Diaby, who should both be given a chance and should take that chance next to Cesc. Talking of Ramsey, Craig Bellamy wants to mentor him. I don¿t want to overstate my opposition, but in the name of humanity: no. Sagna, Bendtner and Gallas all miss out this weekend. Comrade should slot in at right-back in a very, err, comradely act. Either Djourou or Silvestre will replace Gallas, in a move that will at least allow us to venture something new, as I alluded to last week. Up front the loss of Bendtner is a blow but not a major one. The reason it is not a major one is nothing to do with Bendtner¿s quality but everything to do with the fact that the wings and forward positions are actually well resourced. So even though Bendtner, Rosicky and Eduardo are all out, RVP, Adebayor, Nasri, Walcott, Vela etc ensure we are well covered. I hate to hark on about it, but were only the same true for midfield.

  • pissed off

    RVP is prone to injury I hope you know that Jason.

  • rasiim

    < ![CDATA[WENGER READY TO RELAUNCH TITLE BID
    Posted 17/10/08 14:56EmailPrintSave

    Arsenal 4/11, Draw 7/2, Everton 17/2
    Arsene Wenger is convinced his squad has enough depth to cope with a number of short-term injury problems, but accepts there is "not a lot of margin for error" if their Barclays Premier League title challenge is to last the distance.

    The Gunners head into Saturday's clash against Everton at the Emirates Stadium without captain and centre-half William Gallas as well as full-back Bacary Sagna, who both picked up knocks while away with France.

    Add to that the enforced absence of fellow defender Johan Djourou because of concussion and striker Nicklas Bendtner, who has an ankle problem, and suddenly Wenger's options - particularly at the back - appear somewhat depleted.

    However, the Arsenal manager is confident enough that with the return of Abou Diaby for the first time this season following a thigh problem and midfielder Cesc Fabregas having pledged to play through the pain barrier after breaking his nose during the international break, he can even afford to give England winger Theo Walcott a rest.

    Wenger, though, is anything but complacent having seen his men already lose twice this season - the same amount as in the entire of their last league campaign when they again missed out on the title as both Manchester United and Chelsea overtook them during the run-in.

    With two more points dropped at Sunderland in their last match before a fortnight off, Arsenal, currently in fourth place, cannot afford many more off days if they are to remain serious challengers over the next seven months.

    "If you ask me how many games you think we can lose, I would say zero because I always start a season thinking you cannot lose a game, but we have lost two already and we are in a position where we have given ourselves a handicap," he said.

    "However, I still think it is manageable to get back to the top and I want to lead this team knowing that there is not a lot of margin of error left - but I still think we can do that."

    Wenger hopes all of his latest players to head to the treatment room will be short-term, with winger Tomas Rosicky and striker Eduardo both continuing their long roads back to full match fitness.

    Forward Robin van Persie has recovered from a muscular problem picked up while away with Holland, but Walcott could be given a breather tomorrow.

    "Theo has come back available, but I might rest him because he played on Wednesday night in Minsk. We have that option," said Wenger.

    The latest round of international fixtures certainly hit the Gunners hard, but Wenger maintains that is all part and parcel of having a successful squad.

    "I know before they go that statistically you lose a player," he said.

    "So I am not frustrated because I know that is part of the game when they go on international duty."

    Wenger added: "The only thing I believe is that it is a new start and that is the real start of the season because there is now no real interruptions anymore.

    "It looks like to me there is a new championship starting."

    Given the injury problems Arsenal have in defence, it is expected veteran Mikael Silvestre will make a belated debut following his transfer from Manchester United.

    Now fully match-fit again after a thigh problem, Wenger believes the Frenchman can bring a bit of steel to a backline which has looked particularly vulnerable from set-plays this season.

    "He is ready to compete for a place and is ready to play," said Wenger.

    "I believe he can help us to solve that [set-plays problem] because he is a committed player and good in the air.

    "He throws his body in where some other people don't.

    "I am convinced he can give us something on that front which is needed in the team."]]>

  • Borris

    < ![CDATA[Like many of my peers and colleagues, at the first sign of a racism debate we take to the hills (its nothing personal, its just that most black people don't want to be labelled as a "racism expert") however Dave's email brought me down from the hills long enough to write this brief email.

    Dave is clearly an insightful guy who has is intelligent enough to look beneath the surface of the stories we are fed by our media. Ask yourself, of all the drug cheats in the world, how does Dwayne Chambers become its poster boy? When Rio was accused of drug use, certain media outlets were quick to draw the subtle and tenuous link that there was no suspicion of performance enhancing durgs but there might be a suspicion of recreational drugs as if (Peckham = Cannabis user). I was told that the only reason he took the hair folicle test (which tracks back as far as a year if you have that much and he had braids at the time so it did) was to prove definitively that he hadn't used even recreational drugs. Christina Ohuroghu is roundly (and continually) critisised for her skipped test while Tim Don is forgotten. You don't have to a black or minority ethnic person to wonder why some faces fit and some don't; to some its apparent to others its obvious.

    Returning to Mike's mail - and I think the main point of many of the responses written by the readership is that there are many other reasons why you might want to boo Cashley - I think where people got their wires crossed is when they read Mike's thoughts on race and thought he was saying that race was the only reason people were booing him. But even those people have to accept that some within the "booing minority" might have a racist motivation for doing so (you know the "Rich Black C**t, probably thinks he's better than me!" crowd).

    British society as a whole never ceases to amaze me and one can find racist stereotypes anywhere one might want to look - apparently I can sing (I can't), dance (no can't do that either), possess a big schlong (mind your business) look like Trevor Nelson when I have my haircut, Ian Wright when I laugh or smile, and Trevor Macdonald when my hair has grown and I wear my glasses. One day while I was seated in my friends "performance" car I was casually asked by a white passer-by "what club I played for?" as if the mere idea of me sitting in it and having a regular job was so fanciful that it barely deserved a first nevertheless second thought. This is British Society love it or hate it. The FA is making the right noises but it can only do what it can to deal with what is ultimately a societal problem.]]>

  • chris

    < ![CDATA[Well here we are barely two months into the new season and, the Fulham and Hull results aside, we’re all feeling highly optimistic about the club’s chances this year right? Wrong. I hate to say it, but I’m really losing my patience with the Gunners at the moment. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve been a loyal fan for 25 years and I am certainly not spoilt by our success or ungrateful that I support a side that rarely loses a game.

    I love everything about Arsene Wenger’s style of play and I strongly agree with his policy of not paying over the odds for average English players when he can find far more technically gifted players at a quarter of the price or less overseas. I would far rather he pluck a talented youngster from obscurity than say spend £17 million on Gareth Barry.

    The football we’ve played over the past 12 years has been from another galaxy, an absolute joy to watch. When Arsene finally decides to hang up his crown and retreat to a quiet retirement village in France, I’ll be one of the first to shed a tear. Too many managers are overly eager to splash the cash on mediocre players each summer to try and keep up with the big guns. Wenger has never been tempted to stoop so low and I have massive respect for him for that reason, but there does come a point when something needs to be done if we are going to keep pace with the rest. Do we honestly think we are going to win things in this day and age when we don’t ever buy proven top class players?

    I’m totally disillusioned by our recent results and the prospect of another year without a major trophy. There comes a point for every big club when a transition period must end; when you can’t keep using the age of your players or the wealth of your opponents as an excuse for failure. We need to deliver and fast, and that’s been the case for two years now.

    I know that many Gooners will agree that we really should have won the Premiership and Champions League in the last couple of years. Last season we were arguably punching above our weight in the league but we still made huge strides forward and looked like serious contenders for 26 games. I’m still adamant that we would have won it had Eduardo not got injured, and had that stupid ref not given such a ridiculously harsh penalty in injury time at Birmingham. But let’s not go there.

    More importantly, have we made further progress during the summer? I don’t think so. My concern is driven by the visible evidence that we are drifting further behind Chelsea and Man Utd rather than closing the gap on them. Are we a weaker side than last season? Possibly. You only had to take one look at our squad before the season started to know that we wouldn’t win the league this year. Take a look at the Man Utd and Chelsea bench for God’s sake, would any of our first choice midfielders apart from Cesc (who’d be the first name on their team sheets) get a place there? I’m not convinced. Saving money, making shrewd investments and playing youngsters is good for the club as a business but it is becoming disastrous for the team’s success.

    Do you honestly think players like Denilson, Walcott (recent displays aside), Eboue and Diaby are going to steer you to Premiership and European glory? It only takes an injury to Fabregas, our key man, and we look like a distinctly average eleven. That’s when points are thrown away and title hopes disintegrate and I hate to be a pessimist but that’s what will happen again this season. I would have thought Arsene would have heeded that lesson by now, but yet again we are heading into a long, tough winter with a threadbare squad that is a mere couple of injuries/suspensions away from another capitulation.

    Watching the recent games against Blackburn and Bolton, I was rubbing my hands with glee. It was the old Arsenal; an array of devastating football, slick, fast flowing movement and passing combined with clinical finishing. On our day, we can still destroy anyone out there and make a top side look decidedly ordinary. I recall Chelski’s bunch of overpaid “stars” spending a great deal of time chasing shadows when they were up against our youngsters in the Carling Cup Final the season before last.

    But on the other hand, look at the displays against Fulham and Hull. I nearly left the pub I was in during the Fulham game at half time (something I’ve never done before); such was the heartless spirit of the performance. I felt my enthusiasm draining out of me as I watched in glum despair. In those 90 minutes, when I hasten to add we were totally outplayed in footballing terms by Fulham of all teams, one could be forgiven for wondering if some of our players were really that bothered by it all.

    Certain members of our squad, Emmanuel Adebayor in particular, are letting their reputation go to their head and believe they only need to walk onto the pitch and their job is done. There are mixed views on Adebayor and I admit I’m not his biggest fan. He may have bags of potential, pace, strength and score the odd amazing goal or 30, but the finished article and a genuinely world class striker? Not a chance. Comparisons with Thierry Henry are obscene in my eyes. How can you compare the Togonator with the King of the Premiership? Henry was, in my opinion, the best striker we’ll see at the club in the next hundred years, if not ever.

    And talking of Henry and the era of the “Invincibles”, how do you think this current crop would fare against that unbeaten team of 2003-2004? Think about it for a moment, it is 3pm on a Saturday at the Emirates stadium (oh what a rarity that would be!). Arsenal line up: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou (Toure exempt as the only existing member of both squads), Gallas, Clichy, Nasri, Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott, Adebayor, Van Persie against the Invincibles: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Senderos (ok, maybe not!), Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp.

    Who’s your money on? I don’t want to knock our current side too much but I really can’t see them getting a point from this one. So have we made steady progress or fallen away since the last time we lifted the coveted Premiership trophy? The reason for this comparison is that the old Arsenal teams were littered with world class talent, not just kids with potential.

    After a brief flutter of hope last season, we are still very much in transition and I’m not convinced we have moved forward at all in terms of mounting a serious challenge. So what is the solution? Arsene, get the chequebook out in January, puhleease! I’m not asking you to sign an overrated Englishman, please do avoid them at all costs, but why not move for a cheaper foreign alternative? Wenger is the master of talent spotting and getting top players for next to nothing. Why this recent obsession with unproven youth?

    I think we need three established world stars before we can seriously challenge again. It won’t happen before then I promise you. In my mind’s eye I can see the season unfolding in front of me now. The league bid rapidly disintegrating during the winter period, January comes and goes with little transfer activity at the Emirates, and come May it ultimately ends in a 4th placed finish. Our Champions League campaign falters at the quarter final stage as we give away another soft goal from a corner, in the home leg. And we start to blame the lack of experience in the side and the fact that every other club has money to burn.

    Yet Arsene has a huge transfer kitty, or so I’ve heard. So when will the Professor do what he has to do and sign some top class players? One thing is for sure, it better be soon because I’m going to lose my head before long!]]>