As the white snow descended layer upon layer on the Grove, Arsenal fans like myself have to live up the fact that it will be another 8 days before we see our beloved team in action again. Referee Lee Mason decided that the conditions did not allow for a football game to be played. Having seen every inch of the green grass disappearing by the minute in the Europa League game between Bayern Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, I find myself agreeing with the referee’s decision.
A lot of the justification was based on the safety of travelling fans more than the condition on the pitch. If given the task, I’m quite sure Arsenal’s groundsmen would’ve made the pitch as playable as possible. It is all good and nice to know that the official and the governing body of the game has the fan’s best interest in mind, the same can also be said for the players. Playing on such slippery surface could have a bad effect on them with increasing chances of incurring injuries. With the likes of Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas possibly starting the game, I’m thankful that it was called off.
With the cancellation, this means that the next Arsenal game would be on the 27th at home against Chelsea. It gives more chance to our players to recover and get in the best possible shape. With another extra week of rest and training, maybe then the likes of Lukasz Fabianski and Abou Diaby might get a chance to play in that game. It will also help Nicklas Bendtner’s cause seeing that his spirit are bound to be up after becoming a father.
Perhaps the only player to see the downside of that would be Wojciech Szczesny. He would have played in the Stoke game and the postponement puts his place in the starting line-up a doubt. There’s every chance of Fabianski recovering sufficiently to start against Chelsea. After being compared to Peter Schmeichel by his manager, it would be a big let-down for him to go back to the bench.
From the opposition’s view, Chelsea also had their game against Manchester United called-off. I see that as a good thing as well. Chelsea have not won in the last 5 Premier League games and 6 if you include their reverse against Marseille. They could have beaten United today had the game gone on, or maybe not. If they had a good result, that might get their confidence going again and that would not be a good thing for us. As it stands, they will still be wobbling and without a good result going to the Grove.
Apparently, Pep Guardiola fears Arsenal. You suspect that is more of him showing respect to us rather than him actually worried that his Barcelona side might lose to Arsenal. His conviction of how good his team is, would have been improved by their thrashing of Espanyol in the Catalan derby. Believe me when I say that Espanyol were not overrun and had good moments in the game. Yet, every time Barca stepped up the pace, they scored. Worrying times ahead for us on the basis of their performance thus far this season. Still, many things can change in 2 months.
More tomorrow. Talk to you then.