Tomorrow, we face Leeds in the FA Cup… and tomorrow also marks the return of Thierry Henry to the playing squad. I am a massive fan of Henry – he is a legend – but I kind of feel that the return of the former hero is overshadowing everything else at the moment. There are a lot of things going on at the club and despite massive attention needed on those areas, the world seems to be focused on the return of the King. Don’t get me wrong – I am eager to see him in action, I am keen for him to help the squad, to fill in the gap. I hope at the end of his loan spell, we see a rejuvenated Chamakh and an exciting Gervinho re-join the squad. I’m hoping our full backs, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby return and we have no further injuries for the reason of the season.
But, in reality, I doubt that will happen.
I’m an optimist, which means that even now, 12 points of the top, I still have a feint title hope. It’s not like we haven’t clawed back a 12 point lead before. United & Chelsea don’t look great, so there is scope to catch them.
Whilst we look good, it’s obvious that we lack any serious strength in depth – there is a culture of saving the pennies at the club, and this means it’s unlikely we’ll ever sign a player to replace an injured one. Despite the plethora of injured fall backs and the sales of Eboue, Clichy and Traore, there is no desire to purchase a player. Despite the fact that the boss only trusts Robin Van Persie and doesn’t rate Chamakh or Park at all, there is no desire to bring in another forward that can actually compete at this level.
Tomorrow, we will play Leeds and for me, the FA cup could be our only real chance of a trophy this season. We have seen what one win can do to a squad and I’d love for us to start winning trophies again, and soon.
Over the Christmas and New Years period, we played a serious amount of games, but from now until the Champions League kicks back in, we don’t have hardly as many games, going back to one a week – with the next game after Leeds on Sunday at home against Swansea. For that reason, I don’t expect a massive overhaul of players in the first eleven, but I do expect some changes. Robin for example, will certainly be rested, and I think Arteta will be too.
Henry will play, but I’m not sure for how long… Arsene confirming.
“I’m pleased [to sign Henry] because it took a little while to get the paperwork done, but finally it is done. He works hard, but he is a bit behind physically. In one or two weeks he will be fine. He will be involved against Leeds. At the moment 90 minutes is a bit long for him because he has not played for a long time.”
Let’s have a look at a predicted line up:
Coquelin – Metersacker – Squillaci – Miquel
Song – Rosicky
Oxlade – Benayoun – Arshavin
With a bench of Almunia, Koscielny, Ramsey, Henry, Walcott, Arteta,
Van Persie, Yennaris
That would make – resting Van Persie and Arteta, starting with a lot of fringe players, and giving our star of the back line, Koscielny, a rest too. The line up gives us options to change the game if we need to. Walcott, Henry
and Van Persie are all good attacking options and Ramsey, Arteta and Koscielny defensive ones if needed. We could have done with the likes of Frimpong, Lansbury or Vela for this game, but hey, they’re on loan and therefore a non-discussion!
Update: Van Persie is actually on holiday in Dubai and therefore will not be at the game.
Mr Keown was in the press earlier today and gave a resounding verdict on Henry’s return:
“I saw him train with Arsenal on a corporate day and I saw the reaction from Arsene. There was a glint in his eye and I wondered if he would bring him back. At the beginning of the season, Arsenal had lost a gumshield and were lying on the floor on their backs. Now, they’re on our feet and I think Thierry can deliver a knockout punch. He is the best athlete I’ve ever seen with a pair of boots on.”
I hope the former Gunner is right!
Today we have a very tasty FA cup clash up in Manchester when Man United play Man City at City’s ground – kick off at 1pm. Will be a cracker….
Until tomorrow, have fun…