While I’m sure the players are glad for the extra days of rest, it’s a sentiment not shared by Arsenal fans all around the world. Frankly, we’ve missed them already. Tomorrow could not come any quicker. There’s several things surrounding the QPR match.
First of all, it will be the anniversary of David Rocastle’s death. Now, I’ll admit that he was before my time and I haven’t really seen him in action except the period where he played for a team called Sabah, right here in Malaysia. I didn’t know of his Arsenal connection back then. But I’ve read enough to know how much this person is revered within the Arsenal community. May his name/song be sung out loud in remembrance at Lotfus Road tomorrow.
Secondly, if he plays and I’m sure he will, the match will mark Bacary Sagna‘s 200th game in a red and white shirt. He never looked out of place right from the very start. If anything, Sagna has been the beacon of consistency for Arsenal Football Club. He’s one of the best right backs in the world right now. Even Lee Dixon would’ve been proud to have him as his replacement. If we include Lauren into the mix, Arsene Wenger has made some remarkable choices at right back.
Defensively, we can never have too much to complain about Sagna. He puts his tackles in when required and is tough as a nail. Only recently he has suffered a long term injury but prior to that he’s almost like a robot. The Bruce Willis of the Unbreakable, if you would allow it. Brave and strong, he’s everything you would want from a defender.
Then there’s the offensive side of the game which has improved tremendously with every passing season. Sagna has got bucket load of energy with the stamina to support every attack. He’s not super fast but speedy enough to contain the fastest of wingers. The improvement into his crossing should be the indication of the continuous improvement that he strives for. Still working on improving other aspects of his game when he’s already such an accomplished defender. The assists to Robin Van Persie are just rewards for his better crossing abilities.
Speaking of RvP, he hasn’t scored in our last two games. That’s not a dig at him. He has done remarkably well this season and we can’t be so dependent on him in every single match. Even superheros have their off days. It’s great to see others chipping in to support the skipper and help carry some of the responsibilities off his shoulders. That is looking at it from the point of the skipper but there are also other things to consider.
Goals are bound to instill confidence into players. When others take the lead and share the goal load, they inadvertently play with renewed vigour and zest. Some in the team has needed that shot of confidence more than most and the more players that get in on the act, the better. Theo Walcott has taken the derby goals and run away with it. Hopefully Gervinho is next in line to profit from this.
Then there’s the opposition. Knowing the other side has only one talisman, one player who could hurt you, kind of make things easier, tactically. Basically deny the one player the room/space and the job is half done. But when there are several players who could hurt you, the dynamics changes. Marking cannot be focused on one select players and double-teaming becomes hard. The more we have who are on good form and has the ability to find the back of the net, the more advantage we would have.
Only 2 months left before the end of the season. You would want to avoid any transfer talk but it’s inevitable that you can’t. Lukas Podolski’s move has been moved further back and back. Most of the sources say that the negotiations are complete but official announcement cannot be made at the request of Cologne. That lead to stories about the strikers in the squad leaving. Marouane Chamakh, Park Ju Young and Nicklas Bendtner being the few names mentioned.
Though not all of strikers on our books are linked with a move away. In Joel Campbell, we have one that Wenger wants to have as soon as possible. His work permit being the reason why we have not been able to see him play for us yet. There’s hope that an appeal in the coming months would be successful seeing as he has played most of Costa Rica’s games and plenty of matches with Lorient in the French Ligue 1.
Campbell will be an interesting one, not because we would once again have a “Campbell” in our squad, but because he has shown flashes of brilliance in his first season in Europe. That goal against World Champions, Spain was one for the picture book. He looks fearless in his game and that is an approach that has been very successful with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Match preview tomorrow. I’ll leave you to your Friday endeavors.