Well, it did not happen last night. The weather just won’t give way. As the white snow descended upon the Grove, the Premier League match against Bolton was called off. Even though the Bolton squad was already in their hotel and ready, it was postponed in a cautionary move to avert travelling discomfort for fans.
That got me to look at the fixtures list and try to figure out where this match could fit. 4 dates looked possible. 12/13 of January, 19/20 of January, 3/4 of February and 23/24 of February. Anything else after that would be hard to fit in, considering if Arsenal should progress further in the FA Cup where it would mean the cup game being played on league dates and another rescheduling of the league fixture.
The first 2 of those dates would mean that we would face Bolton twice in 5 days. Sometimes this is good, sometimes you get a mixed result. Look at what happened when we faced Liverpool in 3 consecutive games 2 seasons ago. Though, Bolton are not of the same calibre, even if Owen Coyle do take over the manager role. I would dread if the match is rearranged to 3/4 of February. Then the match will be sandwiched between the Man United and Chelsea games. We could definitely use the midweek off to prepare for these crunch games.
Without a game to play, Arsene Wenger has been making all the news. There were a lot of comments that came out during his pre-Bolton pres conference. First he said this;
If you multiply the current numbers [points totals] by two then you will not be far from that. Chelsea have played 20 games and have 45 points, we have played 19 games and have 41 points. If you multiply that by two it’s 82 points. The champions will be around there with 82, 83, 84 points.
Which is his way of saying that even though Chelsea got to 90 points, we would still win the league if we get 82 points. No, seriously, what Wenger is trying to imply is that, big teams will continually drop points throughout the season with no one being able to run away at the top.
I believe it’s going to be a testing month for Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea. The African’s Nation Cup will have the biggest impact on his team. The players that have gone are not only top players, they are the fulcrum of his side. Without Obi (Wan-Keno)Mikel and Essien, Chelsea will have to depend on Belletti or Ballack to do a Makelele. For all their talent, I just don’t see them having the same impact. Sturridge may have scored a few but he is by no means Didier Drogba. I think there is no need for me to elaborate there.
As for Man United, considering that the biannual African competition will not affect them at all, you’ll be inclined to think that they will benefit from it. But that is not the case, if they do not sort out their defensive injury woes, then it’s going to be a tough second half of the season for them. If anyone needs to buy, its United. If last season they had 2 players who can turn the game for them, now they have only one. Their dependance on Rooney is unbelievable. If the England forward is marked out of the game, you would struggle to find another player who has the extra cutting edge to win the game. Giggs may have done well at the start but to expect his 36-year-old body to consistently performed in the same capacity, in a midfield role, would just be silly.
Another Wenger comment that caught my attention was this;
The real test will be in the next two weeks, with the projection with Bendtner. If he is out for two months, there is no way – we will need someone absolutely. We cannot have one striker.
What I can interpret from here is his unconditional belief in the ability of the young Dane to assume Van Persie’s responsibilities. Bendtner is really unlucky to also be out with an injury of his own during these period where he would’ve gotten a run of 10-15 games at the least to show his worth. It is a shame in all honesty, he would’ve provided the alternative outlet to our attacks if the normal road doesn’t work. His contribution to Arsenal’s defending of set-pieces also cannot be underestimated.
However, Wenger mentioned that without Bendtner, we would only have 1 fit striker, which I assumed is Eduardo. That also implies that he do not consider Carlos Vela or Theo Walcott as strikers or maybe because he thinks that they are not ready yet. Quite why that is the reason, I really don’t know. We’ve known for sometime that Walcott and Vela both favours the striking position and that Wenger also have mentioned likewise. If we do need presence up front, why not try with Jay-Emmanuel Thomas, someone who is already sitting on the bench on regular basis since his return from loan. The boy’s got height and physical strength to match. One thing I do know is that, in comparison to Walcott, his touch and control of the ball cannot be any worse off.
While I’m disappointment to see the game cancelled, it’s an excellent oppourtunity to give Denilson more time to get fitter and really prepare himself for the Song role.
Till tomorrow, thanks for reading.