The Thursday Before The Friday…

The midweek International football has sidetracked a very important time of the domestic season, but for the first time as I can remember we haven't suffered any injuries, we've got a full palette to choose from on Monday and a little bit more rest pre-Cardiff. Why on earth the game was scheduled on a Monday after the fifth round and after the draw for the sixth round is anybody's guess.

The International break has given us one overwhelming piece of good news - the return of Eduardo. He played in yesterday's win for Croatia and set up Nico Kranjar's winner. It won't be long until we see the Crozilian back in the starting XI. Arsene spoke on his return:

“He is back and ready to go. I don’t know [about Cardiff]. I don’t want to promise anything. I want the freedom to pick the team I want to pick.”

That’s very good news. I don’t expect him to start against Cardiff, I’d expect Bendtner and Van Persie to appear, not because I want them too, I’d rather see Vela involved, but because Arsene has this unfathomed faith in Bendtner. However, with Arshavin illegible and Eboue suspended, we have no other choice but to play the Mexican on the wing. Ramsey and Diaby are also out, so the team has basically picked itself.

“From last night’s internationals we have a small alert on Aaron Ramsey. He picked up an injury with Wales and we’ll see how he is on Friday. From what I heard he has stretched his medial knee ligament. It is hard to tell anything when you have not seen the player yet. Abou Diaby has still not recovered. Apart from that we have only good news on the players who went to international duty. But of course Adebayor is out for three to four weeks and Clichy has not practised properly yet. We have not put him into any duels because of his head. But he should be alright for Monday.”

If Clichy isn’t ready then Gibbs will be ready to deputise. We’ll see a few youngsters on the bench too.

In other news, Chelsea have of course appointed Gus Hiddink as their new manager. Very interesting – he’s a good manager on all accounts. But he’s never managed at the highest level. Australia, South Korea and Russia have all been underdogs – PSV as well in Europe. But he’s done a good job and got a lot of pedigree. He knows Andrei Arshavin better than most people, and was very complimentary of the player.

“If you consider all parts of the equation, Zenit, Arsenal, Arshavin, it was a good decision for everyone. Zenit did a lot for Arshavin but he paid them back and at his age (27) it was time to make a change.

“The move will bring great dividends to Arsenal and Arshavin, as well as Russian football as a whole. We talked about Arshavin, what he’s like as a player, as a person.

“Arsenal’s playing style, a short-passing, fast game, will suit Arshavin. He is what you call a game breaker, he can decide the outcome of any match. I would say those qualities, along with being a very smart and mentally tough player, have convinced Arsene Wenger to sign him.”

Can anyone else just simply not wait for the Russian’s debut?????

I’m off to sunny Spain on Saturday, so in between his very busy weekend, I’m hoping JAT’s around to look after you guys…!

Okay, back tomorrow…]]>

  • bops

    c’mon SHAVA !!!

  • Marriich

    < ![CDATA[I’m looking forward to seeing Fabregas, Walcott, Arshavin, Rosicky and of course Eduardo in the Arsenal team. It could be very exciting. Lately Arsenal have been far from exciting. You could say boring. I’m not going to bore you with statistics but everyone can see with their own eyes.

    However, despite being boring I welcome the new found defensive stability at the club. We have looked very solid at the back and that is a good foundation to build upon for the rest of the season.

    Gallas has had a lot of criticism in the past but I hope people realise the good job he is doing for Arsenal. Since the captaincy has been taken off him he has played really well and deserves credit for keeping his head down and getting on with the job. It must have been hard for him but he has proved he isn’t fragile in the mind as some would say.

    We have been on a long unbeaten run now and the fact we are more defensively sound obviously is no coincidence with this run. All we need is to give someone a hiding and I really believe with the amount of talent coming into the side, Arsenal can finish this season on a high.

    It’s only a matter of time until Arsenal give a team a real beating. I can’t remember the last! Despite this, Arsenal could be ready to explode and with the final furlong of the season coming up there is no better time to do so.]]>

  • Pissed off

    AM scared, really scared of the future. It doesnt look bright, first Mourinho and now this guy (Hiddink). Am really scared to be honest with you lads.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Well pissed of, let's see what happens with Hiddink. It's too early to be scared- he's not even started! lol
    I'm probably sure most ppl thought Scolari was going to crack it with Chelsea, but see how that turned out! Hiddink is going to be juggling 2 jobs, and that might be what would make the Chelsea job a bit tricky. I'll wait unitl I see what happens before I begin to worry. But it could be a very inspired change by Roman- I'll just hope that given the circumstances, it isn't!]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[I don't know about Hiddink - ultimately the players are the same, no real change there, so he's got to work with the same group of players.

    Ultimately, we're in a better position when we have our players back - we'll be over abundant in creativity soon!!

    P.S. I said WHEN we have our players back LOL]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[The way I see it, Chelsea's situation stands us a better chance of reaching the top 4 than before. First Aston Villa were the only ones to catch up with points wise, but now Chelsea have dropped points, so I'm no worried. With Arshavin, Eduardo, Fabregas, Walcott and Rosicky all available within the next 2 months, Arsenals prospects are pretty good. Plus we play Liverpool, Chelsea and United towards the end of the season, which is plenty time for our injured/new players to come back and regain form.

    Good to see Arsene praising Gallas' efforts, he's been solid recently and has been a better player in the last few months than when he was captain. He's let his football do the talking, so credit to him. I'm hoping Adebayor will find form too. He' come under criticism this season, but I'll always respect him for what he did for us last year. Remember, he pretty much single-handedly led our attack for a lot of the 07-08 season and was arguably the best striker in the league. He's still the same player and I'm convinced that if he stays fit and works hard, he can score regularly for us again.

    I dont think Arsenal have been boring at all. 0-0 against West Ham and Spurs might not be a good results, but they were cracking games. Even our loss to Liverpool was a fantastic game footballing wise. We might not have won any trophies in recent years (last years Prem League and 06 Champions League were very unlucky for us), but we play some fantastic football. The problem seems to lie in how to win and dominate games whilst playing fantastic football. It can be done, as Arsene did it with the invincibles, but its proving to be a problems since then.]]>

  • Pete

    I meant our our draw with Liverpool, sorry. it certainly felt like a loss lol.

  • devday

    Some good points there Pete! Have a good weekend, let’s hope by the time I’m back, we’re into the 5th round…