Games are coming thick and fast at the moment and after a summer of emptiness, we’ve had two games in relatively quick succession and before we know it, we’ll be travelling to the Emirates for our first home game of the season, and it will be a very sweet return to the Emirates as I’ve seriously missed the venue. Having said that, the Emirates Cup was a good early visit – but now it means something.
We have Portsmouth this Saturday and I’ll be previewing the game in it’s entirety tomorrow, but early good news is that Eduardo will be back, as Arsene revealed he is was only withdrawn as a precaution.
“Eduardo had a tight groin in the warm-up and he felt he could not play. He had no power and we had to change [the team sheet] quickly. Eduardo I believe will be back in contention but Theo Walcott will not be back at all. Rosicky, Djourou, Nasri, Fabianski – they will all be out. There is a slight concern [over Walcott's back injury] but we believe it is a question of days and not of weeks. We will see [if he is fit to face Manchester United next Saturday]. It is always difficult to set a date. I thought he would be available for Celtic, I thought he would be available for Everton, but he wasn’t. That’s why we will be cautious.”
And that’s brilliant news – with many people under the impression that Eduardo may be out for longer. Walcott too looks to miss this weekend as well as the midweek game and is back at the right time, as Man United will be our biggest test of our credentials this season.
It’s pretty amazing that we’ve played two games and scored 8 goals, and none of Arshavin, Bendtner or Van Persie have scored, with goals coming from midfield and defence. When the front three do start firing, we’ll certainly get a few more goals in the locker this season and I really think that they could get off the ground this weekend against Portsmouth. In my opinion, Arshavin has looked off the mark so far this season and I think there is much more for him to come. He looks a little unfit, a little leggy, so a home game against a club struggling for goals could be a prime opportunity to dismount Sp*rs off the top of the league.
(P.S. Framed pictures of Sp*rs top of the league are available at the Sp*rs shop for £19.99 signed by Sol Campbell – and there is also a DVD coming out about it very soon).
There has been a good start to the season in terms of performance as well as in terms of togetherness too, and Almunia has been in the press talking about the spirit as well as the signing of Thomas Vermaelen.
“The things we had to improve were the communication, our positions on the pitch, how to work as a unit and as a team. There were many things to improve. All the team is defending well. The midfielders and strikers are defending all together and Thomas Vermaelen is a good signing for us. He’s a very good player, a good defender, great left foot, good in the air. He is complete. But we have to keep going. Thomas looks like he’s been at the club for more than a few months. He’s a very calm player. He’s a very tough player, a great defender. He is very relaxed and that makes the people around him relaxed as well. Not only William Gallas, but me Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna as well. We have confidence about this player.”
The signing of Thomas Vermaelen seems be a master stroke of genius from Arsene. He’s really added some steadiness to our team, some assurance – for those of you who watched the Celtic game, an amazing track back, brilliant recovery pace and his efforts saved a goal. Awesome stuff. If you’ve been watching Sky Sports news, you may have heard the interview with Gael Clichy who discusses the departure of Kolo Toure saying that players will leave, but Arsenal will always remain better after their departure. Also hinting that Vermaelen is a more than adequate replacement.
All I can say is that it’s an awesome start to the season – the two games – at Everton and the Champions League at Celtic – were very hard games and we did very well to win both and look so comfortable.
In a little bit more of an insight, Arsene did admit that the stadium has obviously affected our spending power and that is why we had to sell Toure and Adebayor, especially at a £42m combined package, whilst only bringing in one player – but if you do it right, like Arsene, then you can put an attractive team together, get into and stay in the top four, challenge for honours and service the debt…
Arsene on the debt:
“Arsenal will be more successful by building a new stadium, but it is not easy to build a new stadium and remain where you are. Look at all the clubs who have built new stadiums and where they are now: Derby County; Leicester City; Coventry City; Southampton. They all went down.”
Exciting times ahead, an action packed weekend of football ahead, more tomorrow…