Summary of Pre Match Conference

Afternoon folks, and there is a lot going on in the wonderful World of Arsenal… I’m going to rattle through all the latest happenings and then end on a Villa preview (a proper preview will come tomorrow though!)…

Nasri and Bendtner

To all of our astonishments, both Samir Nasri and Niklas Bendtner are in the squad for tomorrow’s game against Villa. Now, that is strange considering two weeks ago, we heard Nasri and Ramsey were out for 6 weeks, but then as a complete surprise Ramsey was named in the squad and then the bench for the game against Stoke on Sunday and also saw some game time!

Bendtner was supposed to be back in February, so again, it’s another surprise to see him named in the squad for tomorrow – doesn’t he need some games in the reserves to get his fitness back?

Arsene said this:

“The list of injuries is going down a bit. We have Samir Nasri and Nicklas Bendtner back in full training, so that is quite good news for us. Abou Diaby is injured, but Bacary Sagna is back.”

Very interesting, as these players coming back will add a whole load of strength in depth to the squad! I love the selection dilemma, I don’t think we’ve had it all week!

Alex Song

The player of our season is back, well, he will be back very soon! Arsene had this to say:

“The earliest he could come back is tomorrow. They have to fly back from Angola to Cameroon and then back to London.  I believe the earliest they will fly back is today, but we expect him tomorrow or Thursday. [As for Sunday] we will see how he comes back. But I must say he looked tired in the game yesterday.”

I think we’d do everything we could to have him play on Sunday. A rest from now until Sunday is 5 days and that should see him ready! To be able to play Song in front of Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen and Clichy is a dream come true!

Chris Smalling

So, it has emerged that the sources that said we had bid for the defender were indeed correct and that our initial bid was rejected. News is that Man United have gazumped us with a £7m bid. And Arsene has confirmed that in today’s press conference:

“It just looks like Manchester United offered more money than us. As long as the player has not signed anywhere it is not the end of it. Let’s see what happens there.  We will not come out on what we are doing exactly but as you [reporters] say it has come out on television but that doesn’t mean it is true.  So let’s see. If we have anything more to tell you we will let you know.”

With Sol only a short term option, Silvestre looking very weak and Senderos looking to leave very soon – we do need a new centre back soon and it’s clear that Arsene thinks Smalling is that player. We still don’t know if Gallas will be here next season although Arsene is confident that he will.

If we did sign Smalling and Djourou was available, we’ve have four centre backs – Gallas, Vermaelen, Smalling, Djourou and of course the youth and Song as backup. Not bad…

[Update:

Manchester United have won the race to sign highly-rated central defender Chris Smalling from Fulham. Okay, now that's just silly... we shouldn't have let that happen if we really wanted him... more to be heard from Arsene on this tomorrow I suppose!]

Philippe Senderos

Philippe as joined Everton on loan… and it’s good for us that he’s getting some game time – either he will change our minds and we’ll play him again next season or he will sign permanently? Senderos sounds delighted with the move – and of course, why wouldn’t he?

“I am delighted to be an Everton player for the remainder of the season. I can’t wait to get stuck in and play for Everton. Hopefully I can get some first team football in during my time here. I am here with high hopes and hopefully I can fulfil them. I have spoken to David Moyes and he hopes to give me opportunities here. Hopefully I can grab that opportunity and stay in the team. Everton’s form over the last few weeks has been better and they are getting stronger.”

It’s a weird spiral of out of favourness that has engulfed Senderos and I think it’s more personal / political than the quality of his game. He ousted Sol Campbell from the side and at one point had almost blind faith from Arsene – but maybe he didn’t become the player that Arsene thought we would become and as a result, was sent on loan.

I think Arsene thought he’d be bought by Milan or Everton at the beginning of the season and when that didn’t materialise, Arsene had a problem. The funny thing is that Sol is now back in the team and it looks like he has ousted Senderos out of the club!

Jack Wilshere

A statement that I thought Arsene wouldn’t say is that Jack Wilshere is going on loan. And it’s because he was so highly rated that Arsene didn’t want him to go on loan because he thought he’d break into the first team.

However, now it looks like Monsieur Jack is off on loan!

“We have interest from Premier League teams. “It will be decided today or tomorrow. Burnley is an opportunity. At the end of the day, Wilshere will have his word to say, because he needs to decide where he likes to go.”

It is rumoured that the interested teams are Bolton, Burnley and West Ham, with the former promising first team football and the latter one of Jack’s favourite teams. It’s true to say that the player hasn’t really flourished at all this season and it’s no wonder Arsene’s happy for him to go on loan!

Aston Villa Preview

So, moving onto tomorrow’s fixture, we should see our normal back five restored to the team. Early thoughts suggest that the team line up will be:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Denilson – Eastmond

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Eduardo

With a bench of Fabianski, Silvestre, Traore, Ramsey, Nasr, Vela and Bendtner.

I’m sure we’ll hear further news of the squad by tomorrow, but it looks like a reasonable bet, with Eboue and Song being back for the game on Sunday.

A proper Villa preview tomorrow, but for the moment, I’ll leave you with that!

  • goonerman

    Its gotta be good news that ferdinand should be suspended for the game on sunday for being a dirty idiot against hull! its actually distgusting that allready nobody is saying how dirty ferdinand was compared to gallas were everybody wanted to be the first person to say how horrible the challenge was! the fact is ferdinand asaulted another player and gallas made a clumsy tackle! the media need to get out of the english players arses!!

  • devday

    The media has such a massive bias towards English players as you can see in the perfectly behaved Rio Ferdinand or the Never Dived In My Life Wayne Rooney or the Angel of Steven Gerrard.

    Rio intentionally tried to hurt Fagan, so why is there no media hype about this when Gallas’ tackle was just that – a tackle!

  • yemi

    waiting and watching

  • arseneKnows

    Is MANOO having a laugh at our expense???

  • kodjo

    @ Dev it’s not only the media but the referees as well…just observe how quickly refs pull out cards especially against arsenal (foreign) players…for the slightest misplaced tackle.

    About Samllling… i wonder what Wenger did not do…or is it a case of Man Utd swooping in to sign player b’cos we are also interested? We really need that English backbone in the team…like the days of Keown, Parlour etc…

  • goonerman

    Thats exactly the situation devday! the media doesnt want to do anything to upset the precious england stars! But on a good note fergie must be fuming at the FA he will do good to keep his trap shut? apparently that chris smalling is a life long gooner anyone else hear that ? if its true how on EARTH could he go to man united instead of us lol!

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    well, im happy about this. i am happy that all of a sudden nasri and bendtner have made a recovery. I think if we beat villa tomorow night, and ferdinand is suspended for the united game, we have a quality chance at getting 3 points from both games. we then have to give chelsea a game, if we do well there, surely we can get something from liverpool.

  • manpp

    na mate, thats what the football supporter on Sky sports news said- y wud i joke bout something like that. lol. I duno if hes making it up or not tho.

  • arseneKnows

    wenger chattin’ about Song might not be ready for Man U – come on Arse don’t give us that – I reckon Song will be on the bench actually!

    Nasri fit – like that.
    Ramsey fit – bring it.
    Bentdner fit – that is very interesting, I mean the guy wasn’t all that popular but he’s fit and my goodness me, there is some expectation on the guy all of a sudden – I’m assuming that he’s also the reason Arsene doesn’t feel that we need to splash the cash!

    Things are looking up people – injuries clearing up and the boys are back from Africa so would it be to wild to say that Mr Wenger has some selection issues coming up!

    Check it style!

    nice

  • arseneKnows

    Tomorrow’s game – check the bench…

    Almunia
    Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Denilson – Ramsey
    Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
    Eduardo

    Bench: Bendtner, Nasri, Campbell, Eboue, Walcott

    It’s just a guess but I did just read that Wenger intends to have Bendtner on the bench tomorrow.

  • goonerman

    @arseneKnows- i gotta agree with picking ramsey ahead of eastmond! eastmod is a good player like we have all said but even though ramsey is just as young as eastmond he has a hell of a lot more compsure and he is just a much better footballer he can also tackle to so he and denilson could slightly sit back with ramsey occasionally coming forward! even thouugh we lost when ramsey come on for 10 minuted he was trying to come forward and play clever passes!

    man united have smalling but they will always regret the fact RAMBO come to the gooners !!! i really hope bendtner comes back well hes going to be hungry BIG TIME.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Has the Smalling deal been completed then as the last i heard AW said it wasn’t over yet?

  • arseneKnows

    On Smalling – it still seems a bit vague to me – as far as I can see Manu and Fulham are saying that
    he going to Manu, but I think Arsenal put another bid in yesterday in response to Manu’s offer and although the clubs have in principal agreed – I don’t think Smalling has and therefore it’s potentially still an open case. This is all massive supposition, and to add to my guessing I’m going to guess that Arsenal want him now and Manu have agreed to take him at the end of the season – therefore Fulham much prefer the Manu deal whereas Samlling would much prefer the Arsenal deal!

    yours

    the guesser gooner!!