Our season has yet again been plagued by injury and this time we're down to the bare bones. You've got to consider Arsene's thinking this summer. He thought Rosicky and Diaby would make the start of the season and saw Diaby and Cesc as the central midfield partnership to take us into the future. With both players injured so far this season and Diaby just about making his return, it has clearly interrupted our season. Van Persie, Sagna, Toure and Gallas have all been in the wars and Silvestre was bought whilst injured.
So, why am I dwelling on this? Well... the Stoke game saw us pick up three injuries to add our treatment room in Adebayor, Walcott and Sagna. Raj made an interesting set of points in yesterday's blog: (a few somewhat controversial points here too)
With all the talk of Arsenal not having a defensive midfielder or big lumbering centre backs or not having a strong mentality has no-one else noticed that Arsenal were actually kicked off the pitch by Stoke on Saturday. Three players had to be taken off by the end of the game which is extreme for any match. Shawcross hacked Adebayor down from behind (isn’t that a red card?) when the ball was out of play (isn’t that a red card too?), then just got up and sauntered with a smug look on his face.
The thing is that I absolutely know that if it was any of Adebayor’s Big 4 counterparts Rooney, Torres or Anelka that were tackled like that, the Stoke player would have been sent off straight away, there would have been uproar in the commentary box, the press and MOTD afterwards and interviews with Ferguson/Benitez (can’t see Big Phil doing it to be honest) demanding the ref’s give more protection to their superstars and the FA would extend Shawcross’s ban. However on Saturday nothing was said Shawcross’s tackle or Delap’s maiming of Walcott either in the printed press or on MOTD. Nothing zilch nada! Just the usual cliché’s about Arsenal being weak and not able to handle the physical side of the game.
This seems to be a recurring theme in the football community’s opinions on Arsenal. Weak and injury prone. For example Stoke’s Abdoulaye Faye boasted prior to the game that they would play physically against Arsenal as they weren’t hard enough unlike Chelsea, Liverpool and ManU. Here’s the thing though Abdoulaye and Lawrenson – if you go flying with tackles to players ankles and heels all the time even Chelsea’s Iron Men would start going off under that kind of “typical British game”. However out of the Big 4 only Arsenal seem to be getting this treatment on a regular basis. Their constant injury problems seem to be put down by Pete Gill and various mailbox contributors to be down to poor medical staff, Wenger only buying injury prone or Arsenal just being foreign and not British enough for the premiership. What’s obviously the problem is that Arsenal are being singled out by lower table teams like Stoke, Bolton and last year Birmingham because they believe that kicking them out of the game gets results.
It looks like Ade will be out for two weeks, Walcott looks to be out for a month and Sagna for probably a week or so.
So Arsene has revealed his starting line up for the game against Fenerbahce:
Eboue – Toure – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Song – Cesc – Ramsey – Diaby – Nasri
Yes, he is starting with a 4-6 formation and playing 6 central midfielders!
“Diaby and Nasri can play as strikers, they have the quality”
Okay, not he’s not, but at the moment, you wouldn’t be surprised if he did!
But in all honesty, we are down to the bare bones. Against Fener, we will probably have to line up like this:
Eboue – Toure – Silvestre – Clichy
Nasri – Song – Cesc - Diaby
Bendtner – Vela
As we don’t have anyone else! With Fabianski, Djourou, Denilson, Ramsey and ermmm… Wilshere, Gibbs, and one other warming the bench????
I’m a big fan of Djourou and NOT a big fan of Silvestre, but Arsene sees it the other way round of course… After our defeat on the weekend, Stoke keeper Sorensen says we lack spine and for the first time in a long while, I can’t disagree!
Fener preview tomorrow.]]>