And its semi-final day today – the Carling Cup… a competition that we all want to win. We’ve got a talented group of players no doubt, but the desire to win something need homing – not just the desire, but the attitude and more importantly, the belief! West Ham won 2-1 in the other semi final yesterday to put one foot in the door, whilst I wouldn’t rule out Birmingham at all, as they have the away goal, and as we all know, St. Andrews is a tough place to go.
Down at the Grove, the main talking points have been about our lack of defenders, and whether or not Arsene will go into the market for another centre back. He did say if Vermaelen didn’t recover by the start of the transfer window, then he would go into the market, and now suddenly, Squillaci has a hamstring injury, whilst Vermaelen doesn’t look like he will be back for quite some time. For me, if we are seriously trying to win trophies, we’ve got to fill the void.
Johan Djourou has been impressive since his return to the first team, but we all know that an injury to him could be around the corner and if he is over used, then it will come sooner. With Squillaci and Vermaelen out, we are down to two players in Djourou and Koscielny. With Alex Song so impressive in midfield, I wouldn’t want him to drop back into defence and the other option being youth product, Ignasi Miquel, who was on the bench against Leeds, and is captain of the reserves…
For those of you who don’t know much about him, take a quick watch of this video:
The manager summarised the situation:
“Ideally it would be better if they were adapted to English football. If you need players now in January then you cannot wait three months before they can play. If the opportunity turns up we will fetch it but, if not, I believe we can cope. We always have people in mind and we check them out. We look everywhere. It’s difficult to find [them] at this period of the season but overall I feel at the moment we have so many games that it’s very important just to focus on the next one. We have solutions internally with Ignasi Miquel, with Alex Song who can play centre back and with Squillaci, who should come back very quickly. If we find somebody at the right level we will do it, if not we will continue like this.”
I think it will be a good shout to stick him in today – with Man United’s current dominance of the league, I think we’ll need Djourou for the league game on the weekend – we’re playing West Ham and they’re scrapping for their lives – so it will be important to ensure we can field our strongest side on the weekend, whilst also doing justice to our game tonight.
My line up for tonight’s game would be:
Eboue – Miquel – Koscielny – Gibbs
Ramsey – Wilshere
Arshavin – Rosicky – Vela
With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Denilson, Cesc, Walcott and Chamakh
Yes, I know it’s reserve and I know it’s the Carling Cup semi final, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry and the team selected should be able to do a job out there. It makes sense to play a slightly weakened team considering the opposition, and knowing we have a home game to fall back on… but all of the players (with the exception of Miquel) are international footballers who can definitely beat an Ipswich side that got hammered by Chelsea 7-0 on the weekend…
Following on from yesterday’s blog about Thierry Henry’s return to Arsenal, albeit just in a training capacity, Arsene Wenger moved to clarify the position of him at the club and additionally the benefit we will gain by having him around – although, we’ve only got him for 7 more days!
“[The arrangement is] for him to get fit and go back to the MLS. He was one of the greatest players this club has ever had, he has done a huge service to this club, and the only way we can pay him back is always to be welcome like we do with all our former players, when they want to get fit. We help them to get fit and that is what he is doing here. He is here until the 19th of January but no [he will not coach the strikers]. We are happy to speak with him every day, he is in the dressing room with the players, they are happy to have him back. He sees as well how much they have evolved since he has left the Club and he can help them to have confidence, he is a very intelligent boy who has massive experience. Of course he can help the players in the dressing room and that is what he does. But we are just happy to help him to get fit. He is happy to be back here.”
Anyway… I’ll leave you with that for today… I will hopefully be back later for Match Day Live…
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