Today is the 23rd of December and Lady Luck has given all our rivals an early Christmas present with news that Cesc Fabregas is out for the rest of the season. I'll touch on the game shortly, but Arsene's been speaking on the injury to Cesc.
“The news is not good. It will take three to four months, we count four. He will be working hard to come back earlier but I count four months.”
“We will miss him, of course, but how much is difficult to say. We have to find a way and we want to find a way to compensate the fact that he is not on the pitch to give everyone a bit more.
“I’m sure we can deal with it. When he comes back he can help us get over the line in the final months. I believe we are able to do it.”
Four months would see us until the end of April, and then the training will begin, so although Arsene says we’ll see him for the “final months”, in reality, we’ll most probably see him again next season. He suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament in a challenge with Xabi Alonso and the writing is on the wall.
Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool
Van Persie 24, Keane 42
In a game which was a must win game, we fielded the strongest possible side, which included Nasri for the first time in a while. Of course, a little bit not match fit, but nevertheless, very much needed considering our very thin squad. The line up was:
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Nasri – Song – Cesc – Denilson
Adebayor – Van Persie
As the game started, it was Liverpool who started the brighter. They seemed to play with more inherent confidence. Accurate passing and triangles. And for the first 10 minutes, we were chasing shadows.
We did get into the game shortly afterwards with some good play down the right of midfield ending in an Adebayor header. It was on the 24th minute when an excellent move from Nasri, playing a great ball forward to Van Persie saw us go ahead. The Dutchman controlling well and smashing the ball past Reina with his so called chocolate leg (i.e. right foot).
It was a goal that did come against the run of play, but we’d slowly been getting into the game and after the goal, we really started dominating, with some really incisive forward play. With about 10 minutes of the half to go, we did cease up our control somewhat and it looked like we were waiting for half time. With a few minutes to go, we pushed forward pressuring the Liverpool defence, who ended up hoofing a ball up front. Somehow Keane was there first and suddenly it was 1-1. Ouch.
The second half saw Diaby replace Fabregas, who we all now know has suffered a partial rupture of his medial knee ligament. Ouch. At the start of the second half, we came out all guns blazing ready to make this game ours… We were going for every challenge. And then suddenly, Howard Webb realised that we could win this and decided to send Adebayor off for no reason.
Down to 10 men. Lucas is still on the pitch at this point, uncarded, despite 47 fouls.
So the second half was all about containing Liverpool. The game ended 1-1, but just imagine what we could do with 11 men. It’s a sad state of affairs that a referee has such a overwhelming influence on a game, but the Liverpool player, Arbeloa did have a big part to play to. Ade had this to day:
I cannot say he cheated, but what he did was not fair play at all. The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him. At the end of the end of the day he [Webb] has made a mistake and he has to recognise that what he has done is a little mistake.
The funniest comment I heard was actually from Mr Wenger himself when he was asked to comment about the sending off. If you haven’t read this, then check this out:
It was not a red card, it was not a second yellow card. I don’t know what it was for and I’m sure he doesn’t know. I am convinced we would have won with 11 players. Today we had the ‘Be a Gooner, Be a Giver’ charity appeal — you cannot say the referee was a Gooner today but he was a giver because he gave us yellow cards we did not deserve.
I love it! So, where does that leave us? Well, a must must must win game against Villa on Boxing day followed by a must win game against Portsmouth. With Cesc out for four months, Diaby will have a run of games now. Personally, I am really annoyed at the way Diaby has been playing recently. He’s been so inconsistent recently and his form has been so erratic, it worries me that he will be in the side. I’d rather see Vela deployed on the left of midfield. But with Ade suspended, Bendtner and Eduardo injured, I think he’ll have to play up front.
Ramsey is the other choice to come in for Cesc, but surely Arsene has to buy two midfielders now. Surely, without Cesc, our top four finish is now in jepordy?
Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas (Diaby 46), Song Billong, Nasri (Eboue 90), Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere.
Sent Off:Adebayor (62).
Booked:Adebayor, Van Persie, Sagna.
Goals:Van Persie 24.
Liverpool:Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Leiva Lucas (Ngog 88), Alonso, Riera (Babel 71), Gerrard, Keane (El Zhar 81).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Benayoun, Plessis.
Booked:Keane, Carragher, Leiva Lucas.
Goals: Keane 42.
Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).]]>