…and probably quite a handy one at that. Having played against Barcelona on Tuesday, with the barest squad we’ve had all season, an 8-day break until Wednesday will allow those who did play to recover, and those nursing injuries to continue rehabilitation. And I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the weekend without having the stress related to our manic end-of-season run in. We’ve got some great football including two FA Cup Semi Finals (Play-up Pompey) and of course the big one in Spain - el Classico. A welcome breather for all concerned, where we can recharge the batteries and prepare for 5 cup finals.
The first of which is the North London derby. Always a massive game with an unpredicatble outcome – form goes out the window for these games. We will obviously continue to be without all the long-term absentees but I hope that Song and Campbell will be ready and raring to go. Both carried minor knocks keeping them out of the Barca game but the impression was that it would be for that game only. Nicklas Bendtner knows how important this game is:
“[Winning] would mean a lot to us because Tottenham are our main rivals,”
“Beating them at their ground and maybe going second in the League, depending on other results, would be a massive thing for us.
“We only have the League to concentrate on now and we need to get five wins out of the last five games.”
And we do need to win all five games or it’s all over for another season. Each one of them is important as the other so we’ve got to find a way to pick up the points. We lost to Barcelona but I felt the players gave everything and we couldn’t cope with what is the best team in the world (there’s no shame in that). If we play with that commitment in the last five games then we’re capable of winning them all.
In terms of news, there isn’t much to report. Nicky Bendtner has won the fans’ player of the month award – well deserved too. His goals have been absolutely vital in keeping our title challenge alive and it may be that we can look back at the end of the season and say they decided things. Let’s hope they do. Reports suggest Emmanuel Eboue was a close second. How about we all vote him player of the season in a boycott similar to the Rage Against Machine x-mas number one fiasco?
Elsewhere, Clichy wants a winter-break introduced in England. Anyone who saw the interview on the Arsenal website (it’s still up there as I write this) with Colin Lewin will know this was discussed in relation to our crippling and lengthy injury problems. The two week break enjoyed by other leagues on the continent makes a massive difference and reduces injuries assocated with stress and fatigue.
A final note on Andrey Arshavin. He was on a Question of Sport last night and his subtle dig at Sp*rs was brilliant. Well worth a watch if you can find it on youtube/iplayer etc.
The weather in London today is nicer than it was in Barcelona, so I’m off to savour it while it lasts. Enjoy your weekend whatever you’re doing.