The first team was out in full force on Thursday for members day – but most of them will now be out in Poland preparing for this afternoon’s game. The friendly was set up when we bought Lukas Fabianski and is a good away test for the youngsters, a week and a bit before next Sunday’s premiership opener in Anfield against Liverpool. There will be some time to debate who will be starting at Anfield, but for the moment, we’ve got an exciting friendly ahead of us, so we’ll take a look at who could be playing later today.
Legia Warsaw v Arsenal
The game kicks off at 16:00 and is available on Arsenal TV Online – the usual suspects will most likely have the game on their streams – and normally there is some talk about how to watch the game in the comments section. There will some absentees, namely, the two world cup finalists, in Cesc and Van Persie – captain and vice captain – and there are a few injuries at the moment to some other players. The players (outside of those two aforementioned) who didn’t travel were Arshavin, Song and Diaby. Denilson did travel and so have the rest of the squad who’ve been involved.
For me, Fabianski will start the game, as it’s his turn to prove his worth and of course, because Leigia Warsaw are the club he has come from… My first half line up for today’s game is:
Sagna – Vermaelen – Koscielny - Clichy
Denilson – Nasri
Walcott – Rosicky – Vela
And the second half subs will see this line up:
Eboue – Koscielny – Nordtveit- Gibbs
Frimpong – Lansbury
Walcott – Wilshere- Vela
The other Polish goalkeeper in our ranks getting the second half.
Arsene was in the press after Cesc announcement to talk about the game today and he said this:
“The team who plays tomorrow is not necessarily the team who will start in the Premier League. We have some players, like Arshavin, who have a small muscular problem and we miss Van Persie, Fabregas, Song and Diaby who have not travelled. Both of them will be short. Don’t forget that Fabregas came back yesterday but on Monday he travels to Mexico with Spain to play an international friendly on Wednesday afternoon. So they will come back Thursday afternoon or Friday without any training. I do not know who will be in the squad or not yet. Mentally it is a huge demand to go to the World Cup Final and three weeks later be completely ready again. But they are focused and I will see what is the need of the squad.”
With Cesc and Vela flying off to South America midweek, there is a big disruption to the start of the season. Of course we’re not the only team in this position, but it does leave us wondering who will be back and fit and ready to start the season. Bendtner is of course injured and news from the Q&A on Thursday was that he won’t be back until October. From having so many players and an abundance of strikers – suddenly with Van Persie not fit yet and Bendtner injured, with Emmanuel Thomas too young – it looks like we’re down to one fit and ready striker in Maroune Chamakh and he’ll surely start against Liverpool next week…
Another reason why I put Fabianski and Szczesny in goal for the first and second halves is because of Arsene’s comments surrounding the goalkeeping situation. The manager saying…
“Still players fight for their place. Tomorrow Fabianski has another opportunity to show that he can play No 1. Wojciech is a goalkeeper of huge quality. At the moment we want to play for the title so I believe he needs some more experience to compete directly for the first goalkeeper position. But it depends a little bit. We have four goalkeepers, one of them will go out on loan, three have to stay so we do not know yet who will go out.”
Maybe I’m reading a little too much into this statement, but it sounds like Arsene isn’t planning on signing a new keeper – it looks like he is talking as if he is happy with the keeping situation. I didn’t see the interview myself, but apparently Arsene said this when sitting in between two keepers, so maybe it was the only decent thing to say!!
Before I go, I just want to touch on the recent words from Cesc – personally, I was disappointed in certain aspects as for me, if you read between the lines, then it really sounds like he wants to go and also sounds like we’re going to have this furore again next summer. Fun.
Arsene did put a friendly faced interpretation of the statement together and said this:
“He is our captain, he is our leader. You could see yesterday in the training session how much a lift it is for everybody who loves Arsenal. When I was at the World Cup I met so many people in South Africa and the first thing I heard was ‘don’t let Fabregas go’. That means it is a huge lift for everybody who loves the Club. The situation is as it is. I believe it is important in my job that I do not come out with private conversations I have with the players. That would be unfair. But Cesc has come out today to clear the air. It was very important for us that Cesc did that clearly and that we can move on from now. We are one week away from the start of the season so just we want to be focused and settled now.”
The problem though, Monsieur Wenger, is that the statement wasn’t that clear. What was clear is that Cesc did actually want to go and that he honestly feels that the club have stood in his way. I won’t spoil the Legia Warsaw preview with too much negatively and there some positives to be taken out of the statement and the main thing is that Cesc is our captain and will be playing for us this season. Good news.