Hello and good day to you all. We’re just 2 days from another Arsenal match and this time it will be a trip to Stoke, or as Arseblog likes to call it, Mordor. The last time we won there was when Aaron Ramsey was brutally assaulted by a thug. Cesc Fabregas and Sol Campbell scored that day and neither will be involved in the game on Sunday, not that it’s news to you.
They won’t be the only not involved as Arsene Wenger gave out further details on the latest team news update. Of the short term absentees, only Laurent Koscielny continues his time away from the squad. A week ago, it he was penned down for a return this week. Now that has been delayed. I seriously hope that it’s not a long term one. After the season he had last year, where he was imperious for most parts, it’s terribly disappointing for him not to be able to build on that.
Our defence wasn’t the best in the Premiership last season but he was the best partner for each and every one of the other 3 notable centre backs in our squad. Every one of Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Johan Djourou has had their best spells at the heart of our defence with Koscielny alongside them. Now that Vermaelen is the captain, surely he is the first one on the team sheet and without the injury, Koscielny could and should be the next name on it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have him back sooner rather than later.
On the bright side, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be back in the squad. The English lad has played in the midfield in every pre season match that he has been involved in. It will not be a strange position to see him in as we’ve seen what he can in the AC Milan return fixture last season. He has the nous to sit back when required or drop into space when one of the defenders ventures forward. A trait which will benefit him and us in the long term, should his final position in the team be in midfield.
I wonder if Wenger will opt for him this Sunday. Knowing Stoke and the way they like to go about their game, the match might represent somewhat of a risk to field Abou Diaby. Whether Stoke will intentionally target Diaby or a mistimed tackle, I’m not quite sure that is the best option for Diaby. Not when this is the first time in a long time that he has been fit and playing for a sustained period of time. That said, we also what happened with our previous captain when he overcame his own personal injury problems and learned how to cope with the physical side of things (knowing when to pull out of challenges and shielding his body better).
Meanwhile Gervinho says he wants to emulate Robert Pires, not the worst of ideas. He had an indifferent first season in English football which was not helped by his immediate suspension after the first league game and the time spent away with Ivory Coast at the Afrian Cup of Nations in January. He will go again come January (if his national side qualifiers for it, not too sure about this point). He looks to be far more decisive in his runs and what he wants to do. Hopefully that translates to a sustained period of form and then he can truly show what he is capable of. If he can emulate Pires by winning the individual accolades, then we can be sure that Gervinho will be a key figure in our squad this season and he will chip in with a fair bit of goals here and there.
We can’t end without having some discussion on a transfer possibility, can we? Brendan Rogers was quoted after his Liverpool game, that Nuri Sahin is a near to joining them. That is by no means definitive and at this point, I do think the result has a chance to go either way. Wenger perhaps was pre-empting the quote by a quote of his own. “Working on it” being the keyword here. Perhaps he’s still keen to bring in Sahin but is unsure whether he can be successful, and thus the response.
What I definitely won’t want to see, if for us fans and media to go into meltdown should Sahin or Real Madrid decides against us. Sahin has never played for us and there’s no telling how well he would do for us if he had joined. There’s no point crying over spilled milk. We don’t always get who we want. There are some bigger names in the past whom we have failed to get our hands on, the Cristiano Ronaldo one being a prime example.
If Sahin is/was our number one target, then I hope that in the event that we cannot go through with his loan, we have number two and/or number three ready. Shouldn’t that be the way this works?