Today is the bumper bumper issue of the weekend blog… it’s a feast of football this weekend, and it kicks off with Liverpool vs Man United… and news this morning (pre-all the games), is that United have rested Rooney, Hernandez, Valencia & Nani on the bench… it shows the depth and quality of their squad and for such a big game, it’s a massive gamble by Ferguson. But we really don’t need to enviously look upon other clubs, do we? We are the Arsenal and our game tomorrow is the biggest game of the weekend.
Arsenal vs Sunderland
Are you ready for the return of the Arsenal to your footballing appetite this weekend? It’s back to back this week with Sunderland tomorrow and then Marseille away on Wednesday following by Stoke at home in the Premier League. We’ve then got Bolton in the Carling Cup at the Emirates, before finishing October with Chelsea away on Saturday 29th…
We’ve got a couple of key long term injury in Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere and there has been a long on conjecture on the replacements for both – with Ramsey & Arteta affectively two new players in our midfield. It does take a bit of time to gel and in Jack’s absence, it’s easy to point the finger, but both the aforementioned players are very good and the understanding will come. Sagna & Wilshere will return in the new year, and therefore the next three months will see Carl Jenkinson feature a lot more.
It’s a worry as the lad is very young, doesn’t have the experience at this level and has been exposed in the matches he’s played. But you have to consider, when Gibbs played his first game for us, or Frimpong did, they hadn’t played in the Premiership before and they were young and experienced. Just because Jenkinson was originally schooled at Charlton, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the attributes to be a top player.
Arsene was keen to promote his abilities to the media and to the fans earlier this week and had this to say about the boy:
“He has top qualities. His fitness is outstanding, he’s quick, he has good crosses and he is good going forward. He needs to adjust a little bit his defensive game. But we are working with him and he is improving. What happened to him so far is that he had good and less good games, especially the Man United game. But he had a good game at Udinese four days before. I just think when you start like that, you put so much intensity and focus in the games, that sometimes after that you’re a bit flat.”
Arsene also gave the impression that he would start against Sunderland and with Koscielny back in the squad too, the back five looks like it will pick itself.
Arsene also backed a variety of other players to stake their claim for a right back berth:
“We have a few other opportunities,” said the Frenchman. “We have a young boy in the reserve team [Nico Yennaris], we have Andre Santos, who could eventually play there. Koscielny could play there, Djourou could play there. Certainly in the next three months some other players will have to play right-back because Jenkinson cannot play all the games.”
The next 5 games see 3 Premiership games, a Carling cup game and a Champions League game… so I’m sure we’ll see some surprises and rotation at right back!
Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci are all back and therefore we’ve gone from only one fit centre back to four in the space of two games. Out of the returning three defenders, Koscielny would be the choice to partner the 6 foot 6 German International that is Per Mertersacker… allowing Alex Song to return to midfield. The likely line up could well be:
Jenkinson – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
Song – Ramsey
Walcott – Arteta – Gervinho
With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Frimpong, Santos, Oxlade, Arshavin, Chamakh
Which of course, means no Benayoun, Squillaci, Park, Ryo or Coquelin in the 18, but if you include them, who do you leave out? It’s a good problem to have, of course. The period of October is very very important for us – we need to start winning games, we’re 6 point behind Liverpool and 9 behind United, and we’re on serious catch up…
Here is to a feast of football and perhaps a Sunday blog of some sort tomorrow too…