Norwich vs Arsenal… The BIG weekend game preview… As Thierry Henry trains with us…

Mr Arsenal, Thierry Henry is back training with us. Seeing the old boy is such a reassuring sight – he’s such a legend, it’s unbelievable – and seeing him back in training seems so right. I do hope he has a future at the club when he retires from football – out of all the Wenger signings, he is the one who genuinely loved the club, Mr Arsenal… Thierry Henry. The man is 34 years old now, so only a few years away from a coaching role?

Arsene Wenger spoke about Henry and the lift he gives younger players:

“Thierry was in with our training today, and he does not need to show how good he is. He just wants to stay fit and enjoy the football club again, because he is at home here and it is always good to have him back. When you are not the day before the game, it is possible of course for him to practise with the first team. It is always a lift to see what a big player he still is.”

In his prime, he’d demolish Norwich single handedly… but at the moment, in his prime, we have the goal scoring machine which is Robin Van Persie… and he is fit and raring to go after a week’s rest and should spear-head our attack tomorrow… in fact, as far as I am aware, we have no major injury worries… except for the long term absentees in Diaby, Sagna, Wilshere and Gibbs. I’ll touch on a few players comments shortly, but first, let’s look at a potential line up:


Jenkinson – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Santos

Arteta – Song

Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho

Van Persie

With a bench of Fabianski, Mertersacker, Djourou, Frimpong, Rosicky, Arshavin, Park

This week has been a week of self praise for sure – with Walcott hailing the impact that Gervinho has had on the team, describing him as the “perfect signing” – and hats off to Arsene Wenger – I really think Gervinho is a quality player and a exact fit for a club like ours – his style is very good, he dribbles well, has a good eye for a run behind the defence and a good eye for a pass – and he’s still young & learning his trade…

But something else worth highlighting is Robin Van Persie’s praise for little Theo Walcott:

After every single goal, people ask me, ‘Who gave the assist?’ I just say, ‘Who do you think?’ We have that connection, I know what he is going to do, which is very important. It’s vital to have a player around me, as a striker, who knows where I move, how I move, do I want the ball into feet, do I want it behind. He knows where to find me. Stuff like that is vital. It [his 100th goal for the club] was just a big honor and I asked Theo to celebrate with me, I had my history with Arsenal Football Club.

Theo sometimes seems a little bit wasteful and sometimes makes you wonder, but as a collection of people playing the three-pronged
attack, Theo, RvP and Gervinho do seem to compliment each other quite well. In fact, the synergy is so good and exciting to watch, that the rest of the players in those positions are hardly getting a look in. Arshavin is actually in decent form, but can’t get past Gervinho – not a bad conundrum to have as a manager, and I’m sure competition for places helps the players get on top of their game. Neither Chamakh or Park Ju Young seem to have a chance in hell of getting past Robin Van Persie – who himself believes is in the form of his life.

Chamakh has spent a while adapting to life in London and his immediate impact and rate of 10 goals in 20 appearances has quickly faded in the show of our Dutch striker. His affect on the pitch has also reduced dramatically and although he has hardly had any playing time this season, when he does play, he doesn’t seem that affective. Whether or not he will get better is up for debate – he’s been linked with a return to Bordeaux, but when quizzed about it, he didn’t seem too phased and the good thing is that he believes he can succeed at Arsenal…

“I haven’t played as much, what with (Robin) Van Persie coming back from injury, but for me, it’s been a settling in period. It’s been good to play for a club like Arsenal and get used to the league, but I’m trying to learn, enjoy it and long may it continue.”

Our second back up striker is the ever busy captain of Korea, Park Ju Young, whose form for country is simply amazing. Every time he plays for his country, he seems to score. For us, he has played a few times, and scored one and actually played very well. But in his last outing against Marseille, he wasn’t at this best and perhaps that has got a few minds wondering – hence the link to Podolski recently.

Park spoke about his start at Arsenal and said:

“I couldn’t train much for about two months before I moved here. I just had to do some personal training instead. Since I joined the team it has been two months and I feel like I am in my normal condition now. The coaches adjust the training depending on the games we play and it’s good. I am settling off the pitch as well. All the Arsenal staff and everyone else have helped me. Also my wife is here so I don’t have many problems settling down.

I do like the look of Park and I think there is a lot to come from him… I, like a lot of fans out there, are just a little impatient…

Norwich will be a tough game. They play well, have a good crowd behind them. We don’t play well after Internationals – so tomorrow’s game is very very important in order to get back in the flow of things – 3 points is what we need…

Come on you reds…

  • http://Arsenalblog Mohamed

    0p we g0 there en get our 3 p0ints

  • bergChamp

    Do you think Koscielny will start ahead of Metersacker…? Will Mertersacker end up on the bench now forever???

  • robin

    Very good news about JW, although it will give Wenger more reason not to strengthen. I think 1 more top quality mid is necessary for us to make the CL spots, plus another decent defender, and a striker if RVP gets injured

  • arsefan101

    I just heard that Jenkinson has a stress fracture in his back – is it true???

  • devday

    @ Mohamed: Me too!

  • devday

    @ bergChamp:
    Yes, I think Koscielny will start ahead of Vermaelen tomorrow – they seem to compliment each other – especially as Norwich get the ball on the ground and try and play.

    Mertersacker will definitely play his fair share of games – I bet you he would be chosen if we were playing Stoke away!

  • devday

    @ arsefan101:
    Yes, he has been ruled out for a while.

    Looks like Djourou will start at right back and perhaps that will open up some space for Chamakh to be on the bench…

    With Gibbs, Sagna & Jenks all ruled out for a while, that 3 of our 4 wing backs out of action. Unlucky, hey!?

  • devday

    @ robin:
    For me, the worrying area is the striking department – when we do rest RvP, we don’t seem to have the cutting edge – and if we need to do something to win a game, I’m not sure if we have anything in our locker to do so. Gervinho is off to the ACN in January, so our attacking strength will be depleted.

    Midfield seems to be okay, but if any one of Arteta, Ramsey or Song suffered an injury before Jack returned, it would create a risk element as the others are relatively inexperienced… (Frimpong, Coquelin) or unable to play 90 minutes 3 times a week (Rosicky, Benayoun)…

    Central defence with TV5, Koscielny, Mertersacker, Djourou, Squillaci and Miquel is quite stocked in my opinion…!

  • robin

    Yes and the manager will not address any of that, as ususal.

  • Chairman Gallant

    The days of worries are over,and Arsenal are back to form and winning handsomely.I see that trend continuing this weekend with Norwich next in line for lunch.
    Even if we have some injury problems,it’s nothing much to prevent us from devouring our opponents tomorrow.My prediction-Norwich 1:Arsenal 3.

  • Berth

    I think Theo should model his style of play to Ljunberg’s that’s the only way he can be a success with us.

  • Bonathan

    personally, i’d like to see someone else given the chance at RB. djourou was pretty dreadful when he was given the chance. what are the other options?, here’s a few:

    -play TV at right back, with kos and mert in the middle. I’d back TV to do a reliable job anywhere he’s played on the pitch to be honest. only drawback with this is that it’s nice to have him at CB as well!

    – Kos at right back. personally, i think he’d do a better job than JD.

    -Miquel at RB. The guy seems very good on the ball and is young and has plenty of running in him, more than JD certainly. I’d like to see him given a chance there. Again, i think he’d be better than JD.

    – Coquelin. Has played a bit at full back in his carear. not his preffered position but there’s no doubt he’d jump at the chance if it meant getting a string of games.

    personally, i’d like to try any of those than playing JD there. i’m sure jd can do better than we seen there and can probably do a decent job some games. but we are likely to be without a recognised RB for about 3 or 4 weeks now and i think we really need to be giving someone else a go who could possibly do a lot better.

  • pires

    Another good day at the office, another good win, RvP is simply world class. Glad to see Wenger coming out and rubbishing more rumours that the Arsenal-hating media in this country love to pounce on. Anthing to take the gloss off our recent performances and neg us out. Well stuff you lot. Wenger is commited to Arsenal – end of. Glad to see Theo forcing more humble pie down the throats of his critics as well. Let the good times roll and the good results continue