Today see Arsenal take on Benifica at their ground, a tough away game against decent opposition, and I think today we will be a good game to see how prepared we are – how are fitness levels are and to understand the shape that the squad is in. The squad for today’s game was announced yesterday and the 19 players who travelled are:
- Szczesny, Fabianski
- Djourou, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Traore, Miquel, Jenkinson, Sagna
- Frimpong, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Lansbury
- Miyachi, Van Persie, Gervinho, Arshavin, Chamakh
As normal with pre-season friendlies, we will probably see a lot of changes at half time, but for the first half, I think Arsene will experiment with the following line-up:
Jenkinson, Djourou, Vermaelen, Traore
Frimpong, Lansbury, Ramsey
Gervinho, Chamakh, Miyachi
There were several players who didn’t travel for various reasons, the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Eboue & Bendtner have not travelled and there is a lot of speculation regarding all four of them leaving the club. The manager was in the news today and had this to say:
“Walcott is back in training but he is not ready just yet. Wilshere is injured on his ankle and it is very difficult to set a concrete deadline on his comeback. Nasri has a muscular problem. Cesc is just coming back from injury and he is not ready to play in the game. Diaby is out and Koscielny has a small muscular problem. Bendtner and Eboue are not in the squad because they might be going out of the Club. Koscielny and Nasri might be back for the start of the season. I don’t think Fabregas will be ready to start the season because he has been out for a long time and has had no games. Walcott might be back and, as for Wilshere, it is very difficult to say.”
There has been a lot of speculation on Bendtner & Eboue and proposed moves – at the same time, we’ve heard that a lot of clubs can’t afford them – the clubs that come in for them are the 2nd tier clubs, and with Bendtner on £60,000 / week and Eboue on £50,000 / week, it’s proving difficult for them to find new clubs. Galatasary and Athletico are favourites for Eboue, whilst Sporting have just signed a striker, so Stoke look favourites to land our promising and cocky Danish striker!
Looking at the news from Arsene above, I think the Fabregas saga is starting to unfold itself – it’s clear that Arsene is preparing himself for life without Cesc – there is no reason why Cesc shouldn’t be fit by the start of the season compared to the likes of Van Persie etc – but it’s clear that if Arsenal do sell Cesc for the £40m odd which is being demanded, an injury leading to a failed medical or a cup-tied Champions League player would lower the price or scupper the deal. Arsene most likely understands that he will not be able to prevent Cesc leaving so has to do the right thing by the club and play without him.
Interesting news on Jack Wilshere and it looks like he has suffered a bad injury which will keep him sidelined for a while – when Arsene says stuff like “it’s difficult to say”, that normally means, “it’s serious, but I can’t tell you otherwise I will shock you”… we need to keep our eyes peeled out for news on Jack. Lansbury was potentially leaving the club a few weeks ago and now we’re hearing that he may stay – perhaps related to the Wilshere injury – personally, I think Lansbury has done fantastically well on loan – and he’s a gooner, I hate see the passionate players leave!
On incoming transfers, we’re still linked with the usual crop of defenders, and a lot of our supposed targets are disappering before our eyes, but Arsene has reassured us that he is working hard:
“Ideally I would have finished all [our business] but it doesn’t work like that. We work very hard, we are non-stop working throughout the summer. I am positive because we have good quality and a style of play that is known by the players. So we want to add not quality but super quality.”
And the boss did offer a timeframe when he said:
“We hope to give you some good news soon. Next week, something might happen.”
Let’s see what happens…
Welcome back to the Football season, Benifica tonight, the charity shield tomorrow and then a the real stuff starts… Exciting times…