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The final walk in the recovery path

As usual, the manager had his pre match press conference to discuss all things Arsenal and this weekend’s game is going to be an emotional one. Particularly so for one specific player. Arsene Wenger meet the press and announce that he will not have the services of Abou Diaby, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri for our trip to Stoke. Apart from that, there’s good news on Johan Djourou who should be available with long term absentee ready to join up with the rest of the squad.

More importantly, Aaron Ramsey has been confirmed to be returning to the ground where he career was almost decimated by a thug. Last season, this was where his blossoming career was almost over before it started. Slightly over a year ago, an overzealous and malicious lunge from the Neanderthal known as Ryan Shawcross, broke his leg in 2 places.  That the world outside of Arsenal became protective of the culprit is an entire discussion on its own.

It is rare for the manager to do so but he has confirmed that Ramsey will play. No prize for guessing but surely right from the start in the absence of Fabregas. For Ramsey, this represents the final path in his long road of recuperation. The physical side of things can easily be overcome via various trainings and exercises. We’ve had players who suffered the same kind of horrendous injury, even within the existing squad and we never seen these players fully recovered from the mental side of things. Getting through this game, this stadium would be a major and perhaps the most important step for Ramsey.

The culprit though, still remains unrepentant. Shawcross is so deluded to think that Stoke are actually rivals to Arsenal. No! We all know you’re stupid, so shut up please. We do not think of Stoke as a rival. We hate Stoke. We hate their fans. And we hate you. The only reason we are going to boo you is because of your act of cowardice.

There will also be the strange figure and presence of Thomas Vermaelen who will travel with the squad to the Britannia Stadium. The Belgian captain is only likely to have a place on the bench after only managing to complete 90 minutes of football under his belt. After all the misconception about his injury and the wrong diagnosis, Wenger will have to cautious about playing him. No matter how much we do not want to admit it plus the mathematical possibility, we are out of the title race barring some miraculous sequence of results elsewhere. We need Vermaelen next season and that should be the only thought on that matter.

Meanwhile on the business side of things, the hike on ticket prices for next season has caused much anger from the paying supporters. It is not helped by news such as this. I cannot tell you whether the quoted £1 million loss is of any significant value but it still represents bad business. I know nothing is guaranteed in the business world yet I feel the team could’ve done better in evaluating the right sponsorship deals. Not only those with high value but also those that comes with much better background and modus operandi. Here is the commendable frank admission of Ivan Gazidis that we are still far from achieving all those but at least, plans are in place to reach that status.

More tomorrow.