Lots of things to go through and talk about today, so let’s get to it.
Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri has both been given 1 match bans each by UEFA. That will take into effect when Arsenal participates in the European competition, which should be the Champions League next season. It means, they will both have to sit out the first game of the group phase. Don’t think there is a problem there. For the last 5 or 6 seasons, due to the strength of our seeding, we have sailed through the group phase with ridiculous ease. Hence, there is no need to appeal the ban and risk making it longer.
Thomas Vermalen has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Hardly any surprise there. Although we’ve been given news on how the Belgian is supposed to be back in training within 4 weeks, then 8 weeks, then 16 weeks but we knew it was never that simple. Seeing as we never ever see him feature in 2 consecutive training sessions. That Vermaelen has relapsed 6 times is real disappointing. I just hope that he recovers fully and play a big part next season.
A legend has returned to our shore. Jens Lehmann has signed a rolling month to month deal. The return of Mad Jens is due to the injury crisis to our goalkeeping department. Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny’s injuries has allowed the former Invincibles to return. I’m sure he will bring the wealth of this experience to share with the squad and could be the person that can help push us over the finish line. I’m not too sure how he’ll perform when/if he is required to play.
Arsenal return to Premier League action tomorrow at West Brom where we are looking to continue our unbeaten run since 13th December 2010. That is 11 consecutive matches in which we have not lost a single game. From one point of view, that kind of runs are of championship winning material.
The cup exits have been painful and it does highlights our failure to address certain parts of our game. The defensive side of our game has failed as a unit and they need to realign themselves, if we harbour any hopes of winning the league. That we will be down to our last option in terms of centreback is not lost on me.Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny has had a whole week of training to improve on their understanding. Who to come for the ball and who to attack and what happens when the other goes in tackling.
Someone needs to be the leader. The job doesn’t necessary just fall on the shoulder of the captain. It also should come from other players on the pitch, when needed. On occasions when the captain has his off day. Wenger is right in noting that even with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Dennis Begkamp, we still lose games. Leaders does not guarantee that we don’t lose games.
Match preview tomorrow.