Before we move on to the things I want to touch on today, I promise this will be the last I touch on the Newcastle game. Read this. Finally someone who recognizes what most non-Arsenal fans are not able to see. It is not about whingeing or being a sorry loser (don’t think “drawer” can be use in this context) but more about looking at events in perspective.
Moving on. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 3 months, you would realise that next week is the rematch between Arsenal and Barcelona. The return of Champions League will see both times lock horns in consecutive seasons. No matter what we think the final outcome would be, we can all be assured that it will be 180 minutes of beautiful football.
When these 2 teams meet, one cannot run away from the connection between the 2 clubs. That link is not more obvious than in Arsenal captain, Cesc Fabregas. He has been the subject of discussion for much of the summer and the upcoming match will probably see more of the same. There is no need to hide behind the fact that Fabregas is very much a Catalan man at heart and wears both clubs on his sleeves. He will return to Barcelona one day.
Just as well, that Barcelona’s director of football has come out to mention that they do not have the money to get him at the moment. Will that change in the summer? How many players will they sell to raise enough funds to secure Fabregas? How much loans are they willing to undertake to bring one of their favourite sons, home?
But until that happens, he is still our captain. After the performances that he has put in this season, no one can question his commitment to the Arsenal cause. With Samir Nasri not making it to that match, Fabregas will be the vital cog in this Arsenal team. Someone whom we can entrust the job to lift his side and bring us our first ever victory over Barcelona. His importance to our side is also not lost on his Spanish team mate.
David Villa have a sharp eye for the goal but also showed his ability to be a pundit by predicting that for his team to be at Arsenal, they will have to keep Fabregas under wraps. It may still be another 7 days to go before the actual game but the psychological warfare has begun. Barcelona are running away from the others in La Liga and have to broke the Spanish League record by winning their 6325th consecutive matches.
That shows just what a mammoth task that awaits us. Luckily for us, we might have Johan Djourou back at that time. The Swiss team’s medical staff has had a look at the injury that he took during the Newcastle game and has released a statement that they expect him to be back in training within the week. That time frame puts us exactly at the European tie. Having played consistently for the past few months, he will not need to work his fitness back. Provided the medical staff at Arsenal gives the green light, he should start.
That is surely a good piece of news before the international games later tonight. As it always is, nights like these is when Arsenal fans hold their hands together with held breath, in hope that all our players return unharmed. I’m going to pray now.