It’s a big day today, a big game, and a short preview.
I literally want to say good luck to the team, and especially good luck to Aaron Ramsey – today is a big day for him and it’s an essential part of his recovery mentally. The gaffer took time out to talk about today’s game and the effect it will have on Ramsey and I want to just touch on that today.
“Yes [it is good for him to go back and] the earlier the better because there will always be a question mark about that At the end of the day you focus on football and you play. It is like if you have a car accident – you do you never drive again? Of course you drive again and the earlier the better.”
The comparison to a car accident is a very accurate one – mental and physical trauma.
“What I found when I was injured is you come back and for a long time you play in one gear. It takes you a bit of time to find that fraction of second extra pace which allows you to get away from people. And for a while you wonder if you have lost it and whether it will ever come back. And that takes quite a while. Today the players are better prepared in their rehab than we were and they find that back much quicker. Aaron is a quiet but strong character and I think there is no better maturing system than what happened to him – blocked at 18 suddenly when you are just flying. Being knocked down and having to wait for a year, not knowing what really will happen. He is certainly mentally stronger now. After what happened to him you have to be strong.”
His performance against United was testimony to his recovery so far – a testimony to his dedication to get back to the level that he left us at – Arsene couldn’t have put it better in his overview – to be halted in his career at such a young age is a massive blow and for him to recover and get back into the team and perform like he did last week is simply amazing.
Many people, having seen his performance – along side Jack Wilshere last week have been commenting that if Cesc left us in summer, then we would have a natural replacement to his throne – but I’d love to see Ramsey and Cesc in the same team. Just imagine if we had Ramsey fit this season – he would have given us another option, allowing others to rest and adding quality to the squad.
“Aaron is a great runner and has great timing to get into the box,” said the manager. “He is an efficient player and I think they are a good combination together – Cesc and him.”
Today, of course, he will not be joined by Cesc and it looks like we’ll see him paired with Jack Wilshere with Alex Song just behind them…
News coming in this morning is that Thomas Vermaelen may start today ahead of Koscielny – Robin Van Persie tweeted yesterday that “TV is back and razor sharp”…
That picture was from Robin Van Persie on the train to Stoke yesterday!!
Arsenal took time out to talk about Vermaelen and revealed that if he knew he would be out for the whole season, then he would have looked to buy another centre back.
“I would have tried [to buy cover for Vermaelen]. He had a setback at the end of January but we hoped he would play the second part of the season. [But] football is not a supermarket where you go and say ‘I want a good player, give me one please’. You must find them and in the middle of the season to find a player who strengthens Arsenal is not easy. We did not have Vermaelen for the whole season but, if you look at the numbers, we conceded less goals from open play than any other team in the league. So it is not all negative, even defensively.”
Interesting contradiction to the recent quotes from Arsenal saying how our defensive performances let us down! But let’s not focus on that today…
We have a big game today – it’s still mathematically possible for us to win the title – we need to start with a 5-0 win today! Yes, I know I just said that!!
Speak later Amigos…
For team news and predicted line up, see this post.