The League Table, Chelsea, Wenger, Cesc & Fabianski

  • Middlesborough (Home)
  • Portsmouth (Away)
  • Chelsea (Home)
  • Manchester United (Away)
  • Stoke (Home)
  • I’m going to make the bold step of presuming that we will beat Middlesborough, Portsmouth and Stoke and then look at the options of what happens if we beat Chelsea and United. At the moment we’re on 62 points. If we beat Chelsea and United we’ll be on 77 points for the end of the season… where will that put us at the end of the season? Chelsea have:
    • West Ham (Away)
    • Fulham (Home)
    • Arsenal (Away)
    • Blackburn (Home)
    • Sunderland (Away)
    Now, let’s say they lost to us, but beat Blackburn and Sunderland and draw to West Ham and Fulham, that would see them pick up 8 more points and that would see them finish on 76 points. Sometimes, I wonder why I write the “what if”, or “maybe, this could happen” blogs – I’m a bit of an optimist, but it could happen, you never know. Looking ahead to the next BIG game (not taking for granted the big game this weekend against Middlesborough… we face Manchester United and we could have a completely different team available for selection by then. Looking at the injuries, it’s definite that Djourou and Clichy will be back for the game with Almunia a 50:50 (let’s say he does make it) and then we’ll have both Van Persie and Adebayor back too. Let’s compare the two teams… one that played against Liverpool and the one that could play against Man United:

    Liverpool vs Arsenal


    Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

    Nasri – Denilson – Cesc – Song – Arshavin


    Man United vs Arsenal


    Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy

    Walcott – Song – Cesc  – Nasri

    Adebayor – Van Persie

    It’s a much more exciting and experienced line up next week than this week, and if the team I suggested does play, we will have a real chance of nicking something at Old Trafford. I’d expect us to rest as many of the team as possible against Middlesborough in order to have a fresh team on Wednesday – I’d expect to see Sagna rested, with Eboue coming in, I’d expect to see Bendtner and Eduardo up front with Arshavin and Vela on the wings and maybe Denilson and Diaby in the middle. Arsene spoke on this:
    “I am not happy with our defending but I believe that our defence has played many games and they were a bit jaded physically. We cannot change many players, especially at the back. Offensively we have a bit more choice but at the back we haven’t got too much
    choice. Of course [resting players against Middlesbrough] is in our thoughts but the best way to prepare for the Champions League is to win games in the Premier League.”
    Cesc has also been in the press… commenting on the excellent attacking prowess of the team but also berating the deficiencies of the defence…
    “We have seen the best things we can do, but there are a lot of things we can improve on. We played in front of great players and great fans and the team has to be proud of what we achieved, but still we go home with the feeling we should have done more. We gave the goals away too easily and after all we did to create four opportunities to score four goals – it is difficult to take. “From an attacking point of view, we played one of the best games of the season. However, defensively we need to improve a lot if we want to be in the Champions League final. It is the most difficult thing because when you attack you have the creativity to do what you feel. If defensively you are not well positioned, you will concede goals. We still need to do a lot of work on it.”
    And he’s bang on it. Our midfield did not protect our defence much at all on Tuesday, and against Man United, I’d expect Song to literally sit in front of the back two central defenders. On a final note, I have to say I’m delighted with Fabianski for commenting honestly on his performance. There may be a few big games coming up for him soon if Almunia doesn’t recover… this is what the Pole had to say:
    “I know that it was mostly because of me that we did not qualify for the FA Cup final. When you are honest and look with honest eyes on that, you can say it. Every day I had been waking up with the game still in my mind, so it was not easy. “When the season is finished, maybe I will clear it out from my mind. It was a big, big chance to win something this season in the FA Cup. I did not help my team like I should have, and I am sorry for that.”
    There is a long way until the Champions League, so let’s see what happens between now and then… more soon.]]>

    • Debs

      It’s a really positive team hearing the team speak honestly about their reflections on their performances, and it bodes well for the future if they can identify what went wrong and take steps to sort it out. Unlucky for Fabianski, cos I’m sure he wouldn’t have expected to play so many games consecutively but I’m sure he’ll bounce back. There’s definitely more to come from him.

    • Debs

      Oh, and well done to the youth team for beating Man city 4-1! Really good match, especially the first half. Whoever said we’re not in the FA cup final, eh? 😛

    • Fabrez

      < ![CDATA[In my honest opinion, I'd think we may just end up 2 or 3 points shy of 3rd place... I guess it depends on how Chelsea go about their last few games. After the draw with Everton and minds on the FA Cup and CL, Hiddink said something about their title chances being more or less over. So with 2 potential trophies for them, maybe Chelsea will have a little less fire in their bellies when it comes to the league. But as professionals, I do expect them to still try to win their remaining games as no doubt it will be a tight fight for 3rd. I do feel as if we have a bit more incentive than they do in the league...that's the vibe i get from AW and the players alike. I think 2nd is out of it with Liverpool and Man U scrapping away at the sumit. In terms of our defence, we've sorely missed our regular back 5 of course. The fact that Arsene isn't talking about Djourou worries me a bit...because he says 2 weeks whenever he's asked about a reflex action or something lol But i would like 2 see him back. Almunia was quoted to have said he'd b back by Middlesbrough...but 1 more game off if he isn't genuinly 100% would only do him good. Fabianski has earned a lot of respect from me because players don't come and say "I'm to blame" very often. He obviously feels really bad about the FA Cup mistakes and that's a sigh of a player who wants to improve and show he's better because of that experience. Top man. And i wonder how Arsene will play his cards with Song? I get the impression he gets very tired after his games...i mean...running after players all game and taking the ball isn't easy in fairness. I guess me might b rested...and if he is, we'll really need to pull together and defend a whole lot better. I really hope we can stablise quickly and bring home the CL this season!]]>

    • Fabrez

      Haha…yeah debs! In the final indeed!! Well done young guns! I’m well proud!

    • Fabrez

      Oh yeah…resting of Song is in reference to resting when we play Middlesbrough…not Utd! lol


      < ![CDATA[I hope Fabianski doesn't take it too hard - he didn't have a good game, but his defence didn't help him at all. I'm surprised Silvestre hasn't come out yet and admitted culpability for some seriously shit defending. I also think we're being a bit unrealistic about Tuesday. Liverpool played like they absolutely had to win and they didn't. Arsenal didn't play with anywhere near the urgency as they would have if they had a chance of some silverwear. The big difference is, a point against Liverpool at Anfield is a great result and I'm sure most of us would have taken it before kick off - hell I know we would have taken it after liverpools second.]]>


      < ![CDATA[Flamini speaks.

      Criticised by Arsene Wenger and characterised as a mercenary by many Arsenal fans, it seems everyone has had their say about Mathieu Flamini – except the man himself.

      Almost a year has passed since Flamini quit Arsenal for AC Milan and, as he arrives for training at the club’s spectacular Milanello complex, he could hardly seem more at home.

      But sit alone with the Frenchman and it becomes abundantly clear his mind is never far away from the place he used to call home and the people he still refers to as team-mates.

      With Cesc Fabregas, another young talent catapulted into the global consciousness by the Premier League outfit, he remains in almost daily contact.

      “Arsenal are in my heart and they will be in my heart for ever,” Flamini tells BBC Sport. “I will always be an Arsenal fan and leaving was not easy.

      “I miss my team-mates. I’m very happy at Milan but after four years at Arsenal we had very strong partnerships and it’s normal to miss your team-mates.

      Right now I can’t say if I would go back and play in England again because I’m here and I’m enjoying every day of my life – I’m having so much fun playing for this team but we’ll see, you never know

      Mathieu Flamini
      “Thankfully I’m still in contact with them all because they’re still very important to me. I was very close to Cesc, Tomas Rosicky and the African and French guys.

      “Everyone could see on the pitch that me and Cesc were very close and, off the pitch, we still are.”

      Flamini turned down numerous interview requests from Italian media outlets to speak with BBC Sport as he attempts to put right the image portrayed of him in the aftermath of his departure from Arsenal.

      The 25-year-old was particularly unhappy with Arsenal’s handling of the whole affair and Wenger’s public suggestion that his exit was motivated by money.

      Anxious to be suitably recognised for his increased value to the team – and avoid falling out of contract entirely – the midfielder lost patience with Arsenal’s hardball negotiation tactics and left to seek this recognition at the club he supported as a child.

      Flamini reveals he would have earned significantly more had he accepted an offer from Spain.

      He talks of a special bond in the dressing room last season – pointing specifically to the quartet of himself, Fabregas, Rosicky and Alexander Hleb, who left for Barcelona – and does not believe Wenger did all he could to maintain the unique spirit they had developed.

      But absence makes the heart grow fonder and any animosity that lingered has since given way to a increasing sense of warmth for his former club and colleagues.

      “For me, I left on good terms,” says Flamini. “I don’t want to comment on what Arsene said – he had to say something to the fans and I don’t want to say any more.

      “I’ve been back to London to visit them – in February I went to the training ground to see everyone and even with Arsene I still have a very good relationship.

      “My parents live in Rome, which is only about four hours from here, and I wanted to go there when Arsenal were playing Roma in the Champions League, but we were training and I couldn’t make it.

      606: DEBATE
      Flamini reportedly felt it would cost the Gunners £20million to sign a genuine replacement, so he wanted that sum spread over a new five-year contract at £75,000 a week

      David O, BBC Sport
      “When you work hard and have great results it creates something emotional. I was at Arsenal for four years, I learned so much and I discovered the very highest level of football with them.

      “I can’t say (if I would go back to England) because I’m here and I’m enjoying every day of my life. I’m having so much fun playing for this team so it’s difficult to say. We’ll see, you never know.”

      When we meet in the players lounge at Milanello, Flamini asks for the television to be switched off and the door to be shut, even getting slightly tetchy when a member of staff enters by accident.

      This is an individual who is used to having things his own way.

      As a child growing up in Marseilles, on the south coach of France, Flamini’s parents threatened to ban him from playing football because he was underachieving at school.

      When he continued to return poor grades they threw away his youth football licence, but a stubborn young Mathieu, also a black belt in judo, would let nothing get in the way of his dream and the mission was swiftly back on track.

      Flamini rose through the ranks at Marseilles and in 2004 he was obliged under French Federation rules to sign his first senior contract.

      He may not always have paid attention at school, but was fully aware of a legal loophole that allows players to join a club from another EU country with the transfer fee limited to Fifa-mandated ‘training compensation’.

      Not being involved with France is something I just can’t explain. If they call me I would be proud to fight for my country but if they don’t then so be it. It’s not one of my objectives any more. When they don’t call you one time, two times, three times you start to give up

      Mathieu Flamini
      Still awaiting a serious offer from Marseilles in April that year, he negotiated a far more lucrative salary with Arsenal and the French club received just over £320,000 in return.

      “I don’t regret anything,” says Flamini, who was described by then Marseilles coach Jose Anigo as “a traitor” responsibly for “a beautiful treason”.

      “I left Marseilles for Arsenal and had the chance to play with top players like Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and Campbell,” adds the midfielder. “For me it was a great move.”

      A great move maybe, but Flamini’s attitude had shifted considerably by the summer of 2007, when he entered the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract after three years as a bit-part player.

      Flamini told the club he wanted to leave but Wenger challenged him to earn a new deal (he was still on the contract his signed as a 20-year-old in 2004) and when he exploded into life alongside Fabregas in central midfield the ears of Europe’s biggest clubs pricked up.

      He became an integral member of the side but an improved offer on the contract he signed as a 20-year-old in 2004 was not forthcoming, and from 1 January 2008 he was free to negotiate with potential suitors.

      Flamini feels a bond among the 2007-08 Arsenal squad was broken
      Arsenal eventually sat down with his representatives but a deal reportedly worth £55,000-a-week was rejected and the player agreed to join Milan on a free transfer with a signing-on-fee thought to be in the region of £4m.

      “I supported Milan since I was very young so people must understand it is very special for me to play for this club,” he says.

      “My dad is Italian and I have lots of family here. I can visit them and I speak Italian now so it has made it easier for us to be in contact. They are all very proud of me and it has brought us all closer.

      “It was an important move for me and I’m very happy as a person and as a footballer.”

      It is easy to understand such happiness.

      With 24 first-team appearances under his belt, Flamini is gradually becoming a key component of Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti’s side, albeit as an auxiliary right-back of late.

      As effervescent around the training ground as he is on the pitch, Flamini larks around with Italian World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo and “Pippo” Inzaghi before exchanging pleasantries with four-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf.

      Later he retreats to his luxurious city centre apartment, from which he is able to sample a place he already adores for its lifestyle, culture, weather and food.

      But it is not until you take a walk around Milanello that it becomes so obvious why any footballer, let alone a boyhood Milan fan, would want to play for the Rossoneri.

      Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry are two of the best footballers I’ve played with. When you spend every day with top players, in the dressing room together and travelling together, you learn so much from just listening to them

      Mathieu Flamini
      This state-of-the-art facility, found deep in a lush green forest near Como, is a footballer’s paradise and its cutting-edge medical and sports science facilities have helped prolong the careers of some of the world’s leading stars.

      After a season in the relative wilderness of the Uefa Cup, seven-time European champions Milan look set to return to the Champions League next season and that will enable Flamini to reignite his quest for glory in club football’s premier competition.

      “My objectives are simple,” he explains. “I want to win the Champions League. I came here because Milan used to win it often. I want to make this happen so much.

      “I also I want to win the Scudetto and become one of the top players of Milan.

      “I will work very hard and do everything I can to achieve these aims.”

      Past experience would suggest Flamini’s remarkably single-minded approach will take him far. ]]>

    • Frankie N10

      You keep hoping that the penny will drop with Wenger, that he’ll finally realise the value of experience; of buying a few top-class, seasoned players and mixing them with a couple of youthful ones. Just about everyone should agree that the balance has been all wrong over the past four/five years, that we have had far too many below-par players unworthy of a supposed top four side and far too many kiddies growing up in public and being found out. With the Pool game, Arshavin, for one, showed what bags of experience, maturity and the cool head that comes with it can do. If that could be replicated in midfield and at the back we’d once again be a force to be reckoned with. I agree with Terence. Song HAS improved recently but it would be typical Wenger to note the past few games and give him the DM role without any real competition. And that would be crazy. He needs to be learning from someone with experience in the role, someone who’ll keep him on his game. As for our defence, it, too, remains the weakest of the top four sides. It’s plain that none of our first choice have decent competition. Gibbs was a liability and was targeted all night by Pool – as I said he would be. Silvestre was also causing chaos and was made to look stoopid by Torres, Kolo struggled to compose himself or win anything while Sagna also panicked if the ball came near him, gifting Pool a goal with a ridiculous clearance. The amount of times we failed to string two passes together or just hoofed the ball away was laughable, so I’m very pleased that Wenger kept them locked away in the dressing room and read the riot act afterwards. But he should really be pointing the finger at himself – they’re the players he’s bought/brought through. But until he takes the blame, gets rid of the deadwood and brings in top-class experience, we’ll remain well off the PL pace and potless

    • gun5

      < ![CDATA[made me think that Chelsea were gifted the game by Arsene 'Knows' Wenger. The only hope, albeit with hindsight, for Arsenal in the semi would clearly have been to play 'four shots/four goals' Arshavin. Arsene didn't. Nor Song. Which beggars the question: Arsene Wenger Knows? Really? Off the top of my head, a few Arsene Knows thoughts: Dropping Arshavin on Saturday - why, to rest him for a where league you're stuck in 4th place? Or a Champions League game he's cup-tied for? An ability to close out games - so Arene knows what subs to bring on to do this, does he? Winning? Nothing for five years, he seems to no longer Know how to win trophies... Transfers - do Arsenal fans still cling to the belief that they came off better in Gallas/Cole trade? A renowned moody truculent disruptive older injury prone player, for England's left-back. And regarding Gallas - throw a campaign-defining strop and get made captain. More Arsene knowledge. (see also Henry at Barcelona, looks far from past it to me). Letting Flamini go, needs no explaining. And in the modern game: the bare trophy cabinet shows that football has moved on. It's been five years of 'team-building' now, and if Fabregas were to leave, I can't see any progress. You clearly have to also buy proper players, for big money. Arsene may not like it, but 'not liking it' hasn't really got him too far of late, has it? Basically, I think a slow-talking, foreign sounding academic demeanour has contributed to the 'Arsene Knows' myth, sustaining it well beyond a sell-by date. What he now knows, well, who cares?]]>

    • Pissed off

      Kieran,good article, good stuff.

    • khai

      < ![CDATA[wonder how the world will react if AW buys flamini back. his departure really left quite a gap to fill. and up till now, isn't really covered. so far, the only major buy we have for some time was only arshavin. and that's only amplifying an area which isnt the proirty that needs strengthening. it's good that we have him no doubt, but our weakness and major problem has still yet to be solved. sometimes makes you wonder, what is AW thinking. is he looking for the perfect one?]]>


      < ![CDATA[

      Transfers – do Arsenal fans still cling to the belief that they came off better in Gallas/Cole trade? A renowned moody truculent disruptive older injury prone player, for England’s left-back. And regarding Gallas – throw a campaign-defining strop and get made captain. More Arsene knowledge. (see also Henry at Barcelona, looks far from past it to me).

      The only reason Cole is England left back is because Clichey is French.

      Cole wasn’t even the best English Left Back on the pitch at Wembley, something not unnoticed by the England manager when he said “Gibbs was the most surprising and exciting prospect today for me”.

      Also – stick me on the left wing at Barca and I’d be banging in goals for fun with that team. Even your granny would.

      I wish Man United fans would post their blog bile on here – you’re not even linking back to your blog, what’s the point?]]>


      Oh brilliant.

    • ian

      < ![CDATA[YEP!!! I’m overcome by all the positivity. Amazing that fans still act surprised at our transfer policy. If we bought experience as you guys put it, there would be no fabregas, no clichy, no walcott and the list goes on. Why so impatient? The trophies will come when they come. Personally I plan on living for a very long time. Here is a good exercise for you miserable despondant malcontented lot. look up every football side in the priemiership and championship on wikipedia. Then divide the number of years the club has been in existence by the number of major trophies they have won (2nd division tin cups don’t count for any spurs fans out there). Now I’m just guessing here but I reckon that maybe 3 clubs out there have over 20 major trophies in their entire history, and say have been in existence for 110 years give or take. This would imply on average 1 trophy every 5 1/2 years and that is for the top 3 sides in English football history. If you take that on board it is obvious that with Wengers haul of trophies in the last 11 years or so, he has brought us well above the curve of achievement and gained us serious ground in relation to the other two. This achieved at a time when another club with vastly greater resources has been rampantly successful. 3 league titles, 4 FA cups a new training ground and a new superb stadium all in a decade and you still have the balls to give the man grief. Whenever you have some spare time on your hands, go join the Luton away support at a match in the middle of nowhere and ask amongst the lads what it is like to be a real football supporter because you negative lot of spoilt children have absolutely no idea.]]>

    • bops

      how do you know that dj, clichy and almunia will b bak ?? hoping??

    • Fabrez

      < ![CDATA[Good read Kieran. If there is 1 thing i've learnt over the course of the seasons gone by, it's not being too overly resentful towards players that have left (unless they talk rubbish about our team and manager, for example - Diarra). I'd be the 1st to admit that Flamini and Hleb leaving does bother me a bit... particularly Hleb...but I always enjoy hearing ex-players speaking of the bond they have with the club (Flamini, Henry). It amazes me...the things that some ppl come here and type... We've never suffered at LB so Ashley Cole going to Chelsea bothered me because of the way it happened... Clichy is better. Less experience but more quality in my eyes. a few yrs...will look Cole in the eyes and tell him..."retire from internation football m8...i've got from here!" And finally...all Arsenal fans would love to see stability at the club in terms of players...we've been ever so guilty of lacking that but hopefully this summer will not see us being hurt. Football players, agents, clubs...have a way of turing things on their heads in terms of transfers, but i'll b bold enough to say I think we'll keep the likes of Theo, RvP, Cesc, Gallas OR Toure, Ade, Clichy, Sagna, Song....etc Any bidders are welcomed to Silvestre...the pinnacle of qulaity in]]>

    • debs

      < ![CDATA[it's nice to hear what flamini has to say, and to be honest, we did miss him when he left, maybe not so much at the moment, but there was definitely a void. it would have been great if he stayed, and maybe Wenger could have done more to keep him, but the reality now is that he's left and we've got to move on as best we can, and we doing what we can. he does sound as if he wishes he'd stayed, but as van persie said, if there's the intention on both parts to renew the contract, they'd find a way. so i guess maybe either him or wenger wasn't 100% convinced they needed each other, but anyways, it's in the past and I hope next time we get to keep all our valuable players, like fabrez said, silvestre is excluded! lol]]>

    • debs

      I still love Flamini though and I wish him all the best!

    • AJ

      I love and hate Flamini, of the 07/08 season he for me was our best player and the lynch pin of our team, and I can understand why he left and I am pissed off at Wenger for leaving it so late to offer him a new contract and I’m pissed off in the way Flamini left. I bet if that £55,000 per week contract had come six months before he would of signed (granted he hadn’t been great before that season) or even a contract that was only slightly higher up than the one he had. It comes down to the club not sorting out contracts in time, if possible all contract negitations should be done before the player gets into the last year of their current one. Personally, I want to see one or two signings this summer in defence and midfield, a pacy striker would be nice though, someone like Sergio Aguero (but we can only dream of Arsene spending alot of money twice in one year).

    • Pete

      < ![CDATA[Cheers for the post Kieran, was a really interesting read. I guess the way he still speaks about Arsenal pretty much sums up the time he had here, but I never like it when a player leaves too early. Part of the problem is players not being part of a squad long enough in the first place, and buggering off elsewhere. It seldom works out. Imagine Alex Fergason loosing players like Giggs and Scholes when they were 23-24 years old. I don't see AW signing him back, as both Flamini and AFC seem to have moved on in different direction. Besides, Song has worked his socks off to become a suitable replacement. As for Ashley Cole, despite how well he did for us while he was here, I've not missed him at all since he left. Not everyone will get on in life, but I think you can tell a there was a huge lack of respect on his part toward Arsenal towards the end. Same can probably be said of Gallas' feeling towards Chelsea. So maybe it worked out well for both clubs. As good as Cole was/is, I regard Clichy as a better LB, and I don't just say that because Cole is gone. Out of all the players I've missed, he's the least of my concerns. For me, Vierra, Henry and Campbell are the players whose absense in their positions has been felt the most. Other LB's like Gibbs, Wayne Bridge and Leighton Baines at Everton are surely giving Fabio Capello something to think about. And regarding Devs article, I surely hope that we are able to change our defencive line up, the sooner the better. It's good to see that Clichy and Djourou are expected back soon. Silvestre will probably be missed the least. It'll be a little sad to see Gibbs on the bench after some decent performances, but you can have him up against Ronaldo.]]>

    • Gooner Get Ya

      < ![CDATA[I actually agree with some things that gun5 has said, imo AW has made bad team selections or has been too slow to change things when needed. The 2-3 games before his recent injury RVP has been awful and AW has a fresh Eduardo sitting on the bench and doesn't use him. Diaby has also been rubbish but he fails to sub him off. On a plus note once Gibbs learns the positional side of his game he will be brilliant.]]>

    • Fabrez

      < ![CDATA[Arsene didn't try hard enough to keep Flamini...that seems to be why he left among other little things. And agreed AJ...that contract should have probably been dealt with earlier...but regardless of that...Arsene could have kept him. I think money was a factor...but not in terms of Flamini wanting to fill his pockets, but more about how much Arsene valued him...and clearly Arsene didn't make Flamini seem as if he was overly wanted which was an error I'd say. Flippin hell...i just hope we have learnt valuable lessons from our past contract negotiations with players bcuz i'd hate to lose another player like that. And if Edu doesn't start for the Middlesbrough game, i'd have to question that one. I'm not a big fan of questioning the gaffer's team selection but at this rate, Edu will get butt soars after being on the bench for so many games...then we'll likely lose him for 2 weeks bcuz of a butt soar injury! Plz play Edu, Mr. Wenger...]]>

    • Fabrez

      Sry… “sores” not “soars”…lol

    • debs

      < ![CDATA[lol Fabrez! I was beginning to wonder if there was a special place butts soar to! :D but yeah, spot on on all your points! And Eduardo's got to play!!!]]>

    • Fabrez

      Haha! I read after i subitted the comment and thought, “something doesn’t look right!” lol

    • AJ

      Ah, you can tell something isn’t right when we end up talking about butt sores!

    • zohaib

      < ![CDATA[Arsenal may welcome back Manuel Almunia, Johan Djourou and Emmanuel Adebayor for the visit of Middlesbrough on Sunday. The Spanish keeper (ankle) and the Swiss defender (knee) came back to training on Thursday while the Togolese striker (hamstring) is set to join in on Saturday. However, on the downside, Robin van Persie (groin) will be out until at least the trip to Portsmouth next week, meaning he misses the Champions League Semi-Final first leg. Gael Clichy (back) is NOT ruled out for the season but he is sidelined until at least the return game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on May 5. “From Tuesday night we are quite safe,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday. “We will rotate a little bit again but we have no major injuries from Liverpool. “Manuel Almunia was in full training today and we’ll see how he responds. Djourou was in full training also so we’ll see how he is too. Both could come back into the squad. It is not enough training to say [for sure] yet we need 48 hours more. “Emmanuel Adebayor should come back into the training on Saturday. He could be in the squad. “But Robin van Persie is definitely out for Sunday and for Manchester United. “Gael Clichy could be back for the second Manchester United game. He has a scan on Monday. We’ll go from there. He has a chance to be back in full training next week.” Wenger also confirmed that William Gallas (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring tendon) will definitely miss the rest of the season.]]>

    • Pissed off

      So disappointed about Rosicky’s situation; its a real pain to both the player and fans.

    • zohaib

      Absolutely. That bit about Rosicky caught my eye. I was hoping he’d be a surprise inclusion at some point in this season. I was kind of expecting Wenger to announce ‘…and Rosicky should be back against ManUtd/Chelsea…’ and now we hear he’s also out for the season. Depressing.

    • Debs

      I’m really gutted for Rosicky, and I hope to God that he does come back pretty soon and we don’t hear somewhere down the line that he can’t play anymore. He’s too important for club and country and he’s still got a lot to offer the game.

    • Fabrez

      U r so rite AJ lol Absolutely disappointed about Tomas… its so frustrating becuase I really like the guy…he’s such a good person and player. He doesn’t deserve to have his career ended like this…so i do hope that he’ll b with the boys playing again come July/August for pre-season. I was really excited about him coming back…even if it was on the bench in the CL final (assuming we get there of course :) ) Let’s just do our part as Gooners and keep supporting him!

    • Fabrez

      And also disappointed by how far off Clichy is from a return! Maybe the 2nd leg! But young Gibbs is doing well…so that’s the positive.

    • khai

      < ![CDATA[yeah. now's the time for gibbs to shine. his performance is good so far. he's gaining important experience now. that bit about rosicky. sigh.. i feel sad for him. i wish him a speedy recovery. hopefully he'll start the next season. it must really be very hard on him. : /. to not be able to play. rvp too. sigh. why the injuries. let's hope eduardo steps up. wonder why aw is reluctant to play him anyway. : S. i realise we havent really seen much of vela lately.]]>

    • zohaib

      < ![CDATA[Yea khai. I don't understand why we haven't seen much of Vela lately. I expect him to play some part against Middlesborough. VanPersie is injured so Adebayor will probably head a 4 - 5 - 1 against ManUtd in the Champions League. Maybe Eduardo will play alongside him in a 4 - 4 - 2. But either way, I think that means we'd want to rest those two for as long as possible, to prevent any injuries. And hence, we should see Bendtner and Vela play some part against Middlesborough. I'd also want to rest Sagna and Gibbs if possible. That would mean playing the only replacement we have for LB - Silvestre - at LB. I'm not excited but considering the bigger picture, I wouldn't mind. Toure could do with a rest too. I'd go with Almunia Eboue Djourou Song Silvestre Wilshere Ramsey Denilson Arshavin Bendtner Vela Rest Sagna, Toure, Gibbs, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri, and Adebayor. Maybe give half an hour to Djourou, Eduardo and Diaby as substitutes.]]>

    • ian

      I am getting nervous about the team Wenger will put out at OT for our CL Semi Final. With Clichy out is a big blow as he is the only LB i know who consistantly plays well against Ronaldo. I hope Djourou comes back to full fitness this weekend so he can play against Boro’ and then subsequently on Wed against Utd. I’ll have him all day long over Silvestre who has looked so dodgy in there. Gibbs was horribly exposed time and again at Anfield, this may be due to AA’s lack of presence in tracking back on the LM in that game, so someone like Nasri in front of Gibbs at OT would be more effective in giving him protection. Unquestionably he’ll go with 5 in midfield, which I’d think will be Nasri, Song Fabregas, Diaby/Denilson, Walcott with Ade up top. Diaby and Denilson have both been poor in recent games so this weekend’s match could decide AW decision as who plays. We need at least a draw coming away from OT I think. Come on you Gunners

    • Pissed off

      < ![CDATA[Has anyone read Anelkas comment on Arsenal as a club? "Chelsea are a mega club composed of top players, within which you have to win every game because you are under massive pressure," he said in the Daily Mirror. "You have to win week in, week out. It is different from at Arsenal. There is a context surrounding the club because of the chairman Mr Abramovich that makes people speak about Chelsea more than about Arsenal. "Arsenal are composed of young players, aiming for third or fourth place, but we do not really speak about them for the title. "Chelsea are like Real Madrid - the pressure here is huge." Quite humiliating, all for Wenger's patience with his team.]]>

    • Fabrez

      I wouldn’t even be bothered by Anelka. He’s still bitter about not being able to live up to Wright in the eyes of Arsenal fans so he’ll stay stuff. I yawn whenever i read ex-players letting that rubbish come out their mouth. Humiliating, only if u let it humiliate u. I look forward to hearing what he has to say when Messi dumps all over them in the CL 😀

    • zohaib

      < ![CDATA[This is just brilliant news folks. Hope it doesn't get any worse. But I'm struggling to understand what 'charged on two counts' means. Does it mean he'll be suspended etc ? Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has been charged with two counts of improper conduct by the Football Association following his behaviour against Hull City in the FA Cup. The Gunners midfielder was accused of spitting at Tigers assistant manager Brian Horton in the aftermath of Hull's 2-1 quarter-final defeat at Emirates Stadium. Hull boss Phil Brown maintained he saw Fabregas spit towards Horton in the tunnel at the end of the match. Fabregas denied any wrongdoing in the incident but, after receiving evidence from both clubs, the FA has charged the Spain international. More to follow...]]>


      < ![CDATA[

      Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

      The charge relates to an incident at the end of Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup fifth round replay win over Hull.

      Fabregas is alleged to have spat at Hull assistant boss Brian Horton.

      “I have never done this in my whole career, so why would I when I am not even playing?” said Fabregas after the alleged incident on 17 March.

      Hull City submitted their own evidence to the FA at the end of March.

      The club handed in statements from Horton, manager Phil Brown and fitness conditioner Sean Rush to the FA.

      “There is an independent solicitor representing us and hopefully there will be no bias towards any one club,” Brown told the Hull Daily Mail.

      “We really just want the truth to come out. If the truth comes out then we’ve got nothing to worry about.”