Hello again. It’s been some time since the last one. Just like Mr. Dependable, Mikel Arteta, I’m refreshed and recharged after a short break. The latest international break has come and gone. One major casualty is definitely Theo Walcott, who will be out for at least another 2 weeks after his collision with the San Marino keeper. Which is a big shame because Walcott has been very useful coming off the bench in recent games.
While it’s never good to see a player being injured, we do have other options that we can use in his absence. Someone like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will surely be looking more positively at his chances to feature more in Walcott’s absence. The same assurance is not found when talking about the other injury that we have. The year before we had multiple injuries in one particular area which was centre backs, last season it was the turn of the full backs. This season, it looks like the problem moved further back.
Wojciech Szczesny still have not recovered from his injury and is staring at what is now the norm that is 2 weeks. The number 2 at the start of the season, Lukasz Fabianski has also suffered a new ligament injury and will require visits to the specialist to determine the extent of the problem. A little strange to be picking up new injury when he has already been out since the start of the season. It’s a touch unlucky in the case of Fabianksi who once again does not get to benefit from an opportunity to have a prolong run in the first team with Szczesny also not being able to feature. Many will do well to remember that the last time this happened, Szczesny was the one who took the chance with both hands.
This time around, the one benefiting from it, is Vito Mannone. The 24 year old Italian custodian has already played 7 times this season. While it would be fair to say that he hasn’t exactly been particularly poor in any games, it is fair to say likewise about his excellence. By that, I mean that he hasn’t exactly shown that he’s potentially one of the best keeper in the world. There’s just something which separates him from another young keeper like Szczesny. If I have to pinpoint one thing, it would his authoritativeness in his own penalty box, or the lack of it.
That said, the experience of playing continuously as a first team starter will do no harm to Mannone. If he harbours any hope (and I’m sure he does) of displacing Szczesny as the numero uno at the club, he will have to take full advantage of the game time given. It is true that the defence has been working extra hard to ensure that Mannone doesn’t get too exposed. That’s what happens when there’s a “lesser” keeper behind them, it’s only natural for the team to be extra protective. Once Mannone is able to show that he’s more than capable to perform the task required and doesn’t need the extra protection, that’s when he will be able to provide the right type of challenge to Szczesny.
What is a bad week for some is a good week for others. This week saw Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong continue their progress to finding their full fitness. All three of them completed the full 90 minutes in a closed door match against a Chelsea side that contained John Terry. None of them managed to get into a scuffle with the player banned for 4 games due to racism charges, which is slightly disappointing. I would have had my money on Frimpong to do something. That apart, can’t be happier to see them coming through that game unscathed.
As a result of getting through that game, news came out that Wilshere is hoping to feature in tomorrow’s game against Norwich. Something which I’m not adversed to. Here is a player who have not played any first team game for well over a year now. Yet, has been given ample time to recover and have already played 3 “pre season” fixtures of his own. A place on the bench would not be something unacceptable. Perhaps there’s 10 minutes in the game for him or perhaps he will just spend the entire match watching from the bench or warming up along the sidelines. All of which, does help in his aspiration to be match fit again. Patience is the key word here.
That is a virtue which doesn’t exist in the dictionary of one Stuart Pearce. It says that Pearce will be willing to take Wilshere to the U21 European Championship which happens after the end of this season. Should Wilshere not succumb to any further injury, it would mean no break for him until that break in 2015, should England qualify for the Brazil 2014. How does that help a player who just recovered from not playing football in over a year. To push him so much so soon is just poor handling one the best talent in England. And we haven’t even talked about a player who is the first name on the senior team if fit, playing for the U21s.
Someone in the FA seriously need to reconsider Pearce’s position in their organisation.