Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. It’s that time in the season where we have loads of time before out next game, and it’s time to take stock of our season, figure out where we are, what we’ve done and where we go.
Let’s start by a look at the league table:
So, we’re three points off the top of the table and in all honesty, that is something to be proud of. Without some major players this season, it’s been a harder than expected struggle this season, with the team having to chop and change a lot with injuries to a lot of the team – players like Nasri and Rosicky were unable to start the season – Eduardo has had a plethora of niggling injuries – Denilson has had time on the sidelines – Cesc has missed a few games earlier on this season and again now – Walcott hasn’t really featured at all this season – Van Persie, of course, is out for the season – our first choice backup centre back Djourou has also missed this season – let’s not forget the injuries to both Clichy and his understudy Gibbs – then of course, we’ve had Niklas Bendtner out for ages – absolutely ages – and then Song and Eboue have been shipped off to the African Cup of Nations – now that is a seriously long and crazy list.
Based on that, you can kind of half understand why we’ve dropped the points we have – it’s not unreasonable to see that these drop points could happen – but the good thing is that we’re only 3 points off the top. The top three could be starting to breakaway from the rest – and had Man City not won yesterday, the daylight would have been clearer. Mancini’s appointment over at Citeh does look like a good one, they’ve found some immediate consistency since he took over, but then again, they’re in the middle of some relatively easy fixtures.
At the moment, perrenial top four contenders, Liverpool lie in seventh, a whopping nine points behind us and 12 from the top. It’s not prudent to discount them of course, but with the league so competitive and City, Sp*rs and Villa’s squads looking much better than Liverpool’s, it is going to be some battle for fourth.
The good news for us is that we have Cesc Fabregas back in training and that’s definitely a bonus. We’ve seen the influence our captain has on the team and to have him available when we play Bolton on the weekend is a big boost – news is that Denilson will also be back in the frame for the weekend as well as Gallas. So, slowly but surely we’re gaining some of injured players back. Next in line are both Clichy and Bendtner, whom should be back the game after next. The problem is that you always think we’re susceptible to more injuries. In all honesty, I cannot remember the last time we were injury free.
Talking about Bendtner, remember these…
Ah, the good old reminders of what we’ve been missing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not expecting much from the Danish International – but he will give us something – strength in depth and a different option. He will take some time to get back to full fitness and of course may go through the half fitness stage where things don’t go right (remember Diaby at the beginning of the season?)…
Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make is that we are still in with a great shout, so let’s be positive and look forward to an awesome second half to the season!