It’s clear that Cesc Fabregas is very important to the team, he’s our engine that makes the team tick. Yes, we can play without him and we did so for periods of last season, especially during our unbeaten run – but Cesc has been vital to the form we’ve been showing this season so far. He makes the team move, creates space, dribbles well and has the experience needed in this league. How long he is out for will be important for our season. After Celtic, a game in which he could have been rested for anyway, we go to Manchester United and then Manchester City for two away games that will surely be an indicator of our abilities this season.
If our captain is not available for those games, we will most probably see Diaby, Denilson and Song form our midfield shield. Arsene said we’ll find out in the next 48 hours the extent of his injury and I’ll be on edge whilst we don’t know… Whilst I don’t doubt the credentials of Diaby or Ramsey – when it comes to big games, I’d prefer Cesc in the heart of our midfield. He has the “big game” factor in his locker.
“If it is a little pull, he will be out for three weeks, if it is just tightness, maybe he can get away for Wednesday. In 48 hours, we will have a better view.”
Arsene is hoping to add to his midfield group of players, and if Cesc is injured for 3-4 weeks, then it may hasten the decision. Although Denilson and Diaby have played and can play the defensive midfield role, I feel both are more offensive as are Cesc and Ramsey. In reality Song is our only “real” defensive midfielder and that’s where we need to strengthen.
“[Will there be] Much transfer movement? Certainly not. Any? Maybe, but certainly not much. I was always happy with my squad, that’s a quality I have. Don’t forget the players we have out – we have quite a big squad. At the moment Abou Diaby hasn’t played until the other night, we have Rosicky, Eduardo and Nasri - there are plenty of offensive players who are still not there. Carlos Vela is still injured and not playing so we have plenty of possibilities; offensively I don’t think we need to strengthen the squad. Defensively, number-wise, maybe we could still do with one.”
Arsene also continued to talk about the fact that signing a quality defensive midfielder is a very hard job.
“I must confess one thing. I’ve spoken to 10 managers and all 10 are looking for centre-backs or defensive midfielders. It looks like the offensive players are the most-paid but at the end of the day, in the modern day, all the managers I speak to ask me the same thing. ‘Do you know a player somewhere?’”
The funny thing of all of this is that Arsene sees Alex Song as a centre back long term, which means we don’t actually have a defensive midfielder at the club… in one way!
In other news, Arsene has informed us that Carlos Vela won’t be back until October as he’s got an ankle injury – something he picked up on International duty. He is a player whom I’m dying to see more of this season and will definitely add something to the front three – his cameo appearances last season exciting the fans and the manager alike. He’d be very comfortable in any position in the front three in our new 4-3-3, and could be a very important player for us this season… if Carlos Vela is injured for a month, it could also hasten the attempted capture of Chamakh, but we’ll have to wait and see.
In another update from Arsene, we have also been updated on Theo Walcott’s injury and it looks like he will be out for another couple of weeks and that he will miss the next two games for definite… it’s a little bit weird because for Man United away – our next game in the league – we could be going up there with no Theo Walcott, no Samir Nasri, no Thomas Rosicky, no Cesc Fabregas and no Carlos Vela, which is half a team! Theo at the moment can’t really run and Arsene has been quite critical of the summer exploits with England and the England Under 21s.
Take a read of what Arsene had to say about Walcott:
“Theo will not be available for the Man United game. I believe it will be a problem for England as well. He has an inflammation of his lower back. At the moment straight line running is OK but no curves. That’s why last year I didn’t want him to play for the Under-21s. I know how it works. The player comes back later than everybody else, he doesn’t have a decent preparation, you are under pressure to rush him back, you play him earlier than you should, he gets an injury, and you see him again in October. That’s what usually happens and that’s why I was adamant that he does not go with the Under-21s. He had no decent preparation for the championship, for the season, and in the end England will pay the price as well. Once a player is already playing for the top national team, what is the reason to take him with the Under-21s, who are originally destined to promote the players to the first team? That’s what I couldn’t understand. It is not anger [I feel] because I knew at the start what could happen. But it is frustration, yes, because I can’t see the logic in that whole process. In the end, England, and Arsenal, have a handicap.”
Guys, I’ll leave you now, time to spend some time in the sun… time to think about who to sign and who we should play at Celtic…