A good Friday to you. Looking forward to the weekend? It’s hard to be when the weekend doesn’t involve Arsenal. The first weekend without them and it’s not easy. Though there’s a match tomorrow which will close the curtains on another eventful and “exciting” European football season. I’m still contemplating whether or not to do a one month Euro 2012 related post, that will be decided later.
As of now Arsenal has 9 players selected either for the final squad or for the provisional squad for the Euros. Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker for Germany. Robin Van Persie for Holland. Tomas Rosicky for Czech Republic. Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny for the host, Poland. Nicklas Bendtner and Andrey Arshavin for Denmark and Russia respectively. Potential runners-up to Arsenal’s Player of the Season, Laurent Koscielny has also been called up by France. Last but not least, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins Theo Walcott on the plane to Ukraine/Poland.
The former Southampton player goes on the same route as Walcott in getting picked for a major tournament. We of course remember all too well what happened at Germany 2006 when Walcott got on the plane without playing a single game for Arsenal. AOC though has 26 games under his belt this term, with 15 of those being a starter. At 4 goals, it should be a very satisfactory bow at the top tier for the English boy. At just 18 years of age, there’s huge expectation on his broad shoulders.
Given a choice, I would rather he didn’t go. While he’s miles better than Stewart Downing, I think it would be much better for him to take a step back and be in the best shape to start the next season. The reason is primarily a selfish one as I want him to do his best for Arsenal, and Arsenal only. However, the other reason is to bring him back to Earth after his meteoric rise this past season. That’s not to say that AOC is someone who gets big headed easily and will change his character now that he’s recognised by coaches and peers for his footballing virtues. Perhaps it’s just me, but I just want him to go away and forget about football for a month and come back refreshed for us without any additional burden.
Of course one can also look at it from the perspective that he will grow and mature on the back of participating in a major tournament. Some picks up more from a positive experience, some picks up valuable lessons in negative experience. There are also some who suffers after a negative experience. Then there are those who picks up injuries at these tournaments. I don’t even want to think about the last one. AOC is the wildcard for Roy Hodgson, someone whom he can take off the bench when there’s a need for pace and some directness in play. Fingers crossed he’ll come back fine, physically and mentally.
England could have had 3 lions playing for their 3 lions but unfortunately, Jack Wilshere could not be part of it. He’s now pencilled in to have a surgery on his knee that will see his return to first team action delayed even more. This comes a day Wilshere went on radio to say that his ankle is fine for now. This latest problem is another setback in the career of young Wilshere who did not feature in a single competitive match of our 2011/12 season. There are worries that he will never come back after continuous long term absence due to injuries, even if he comes back, he will never be as good. That conclusion, is being made far too early.
It’s a big concern that he seems to be picking one injury after another. From where we stand, we don’t have the inside information on whether this is the after effects of his breakthrough season or something else. It would also be remiss to point the finger at the medical team at Arsenal, unless the club comes out with the official statement. Which is unlikely to happen. Looks like Wilshere will now miss the tours in Asia and Africa, and just might miss the start of the season. Let’s not rush him back and risk his long term health.
With the possible absence of Wilshere and the uncertainty surrounding Abou Diaby, midfield is a big area of concern. We’ve already seen this 11/12 season how short our options are in that area of the pitch. We can’t afford to repeat the same mistake and not improve it. I’m not trying to do Arsene Wenger’s job and I’m sure he will assess the situation completely and make a judgement on it.
Lastly, I don’t understand the furore surrounding Patrick Vieira’s comments. I don’t think that amounts to taping up. He just states that every team in the world would be interested in a talent like Robin Van Persie. Don’t see much wrong in that quote. Of course we don’t like it that Vieira seemed to be trying to tell Wenger how to do his job. Perhaps the way the message is pass out could have been worded better but otherwise, in my book, he has done no wrong.
Still don’t get why he’s not working with a cannon crest on his blazer.