Today is an auspicious day as the longest serving manager in Arsenal’s history celebrates his 60th birthday. There won’t be any lavish parties or anything. I’m betting that it will just be a quiet dinner with the family and then straight to his desk to run through Tuesday’s draw at AZ Alkmaar. That’s just the person he is. If anything, he has shown more than anyone I’ve ever known that diligence do pay off.
So here’s a toast to you from the bottom of my heart. Big thank you to your parents who brought you up real fine. And a big thank you for you years at Arsenal which no doubt is a job that gave you more grey hair that you probably would have wanted at 60. I’ve already written 2 long posts admiring your achievements with our club and that would be enough, I guess.
At the same time that Arsenal played Alkmaar in Holland, the Arsenal Reserves also played their league game at Underhill. The draw procured also ended the Reserves winning start to the campaign. But the bigger news was that the match also saw the return to action of Samir Nasri and Lukazs Fabianski. The French playmaker has been out injured since the freak tackle during pre season training while Fabianski has been out since the friendly at Mestalla Stadium. Both came through unscathed and should continue their rehabilitation with more training with both being targeting the Liverpool game next week as their return to competitive action.
Nasri’s return will be a welcomed one. Although Arsenal have scored a hatful of goals already this season, Nasri still have a big role to play. As with the draw with Alkmaar, when there is 2 defensive players in the midfield which in this instance was Diaby and Song, sometimes the pressure and responsibility is too much for Fabregas alone to bear. And when his game doesn’t work, then Arsenal will find the creativity lacking in their game. For is Arshavin or Van Persie is to drop deep to collect then they will also lose the option up front when they have the ball.
For situation like this, it is wonderful to be able to bring on a player of the calibre of Nasri. I think he had a decent debut season last year and showed that when push comes to shove, he can deliver. With very good close control and the ability to glide past players, his vision is almost comparable to Fabregas. His pass for Van Persie last season at home to Liverpool was breathtaking. Which kinda bother me, cos Arsenal already have a player like that on the bench at Alkmaar in the mould of Jack Wilshere but unfortunately he did not get the shout to come on. With the players tiring and the game almost at walking pace, Wilshere’s introduction would have burst life into the game just like he did during the Emirates Cup. But then again, I guess we have to be patient with the young boy.
So lets raise our glasses to Mr Wenger. Happy birthday boss.