Arsene Wenger finally chose his first choice custodian for the club and it’s not surprise that a Polish national is the incumbent. The only surprise is that it is not Lukasz Fabianski but Wojciech Szczesny. It is a really big statement for the manager to make. For once choosing and electing a player without giving us the usual excuse.
At the moment Wojciech is No 1. He’s done nothing for me to take him out.
That is that. No two ways about it. You cannot fault Szczesny for anything since his introduction into the first team. Taking him out now would really break his confidence and belief. One of the factors will be the return of Manuel Almunia. Have Wenger finally had enough of the Spaniard? Almunia’s return from injury puts the manager in a spot. Will he restore him back into the side despite the error-free performance of Szczesny? In many ways, I do feel for Fabianski. Having played himself into the team, his absence through injury has allowed the younger Pole to usurp his place.
I am a strong believer in having a stable defence. By that, I mean a defence that remains unchanged. It does appear that the right combination now is the Szczesny-Koscielny-Djourou axis. The defenders are comfortable with the keeper behind them and vice versa. Of course, changes can be made in home games against the likes of Huddersfield but in games that it not so straight forward, more than most, we need a defensive set-up that understands and compliments each other.
Abou Diaby, Sebastien Squillaci and Bacary Sagna also return the squad for tomorrow’s game against Herbert Chapman’s former team. Squillaci’s comeback will probably mean that Wenger will call a halt in his search for another centreback. I’m thankful that in his absence, Djourou and Koscielny have been injury free. Well, at least free enough to persevere in games. But surely if the keeper cannot be dropped over his performance, then neither can the centrebacks. Squillaci will now be the backup but I will not be surprise to see him play against Huddersfield and thus one of the two some well-earned rest.
Wenger’s latest comment on possible transfer remains very vague. There’s only less than 60 hours for him to find the right target, negotiate with the selling club, negotiate the player’s contract and submit the paperwork to the FA. Which tells me, it will not be done. With the return of Squillaci, Wenger thinks that we can cope. That is a gamble on the part of Thomas Vermaelen. Any further set-back on his part and we are left with playing Alex Song in that position.
One player who did leave in the transfer window is Carlos Vela, albeit via a loan deal to WBA. Roberto Di Matteo does like his team to approach the game with the ball preferably played on the ground. Which would not be too much difference in the playing style for Vela to cope with. Yet, Owen Coyle also uses such tactics at Bolton and it is really strange to see Vela choose WBA over Bolton. You are only as good as your team mates because this is not an individual game. I may have missed something here but I believe that we’ve seen the last of Vela in an Arsenal shirt.
Something Fabio Capello said tickled me. The part where he wants Jack Wilshere to be the future of the England national team but as a holding player. Although Wenger believes that Wilshere can play in any part of the midfield, there is no way he is a defensive midfielder. Many will share my conviction that Wilshere is born to be a playmaker, someone who is not shackled by his defensive duties. You can argue that his role in the current Arsenal side also see him being more disciplined and has reign in his attacking instincts. But that is because he is playing alongside Song. Putting him solely in that role should be too much for him despite his all-round talents.
Match preview tomorrow.