Arsene Wenger has given the latest on the team’s status today. Speaking to Arsenal TV online he said that he has the same squad available for the Fulham game as it was against Villa last weekend. The only concern is of Nasri. On Nasri Wenger said that he got a knock on his knee in the Wigan game. Still he believes that Nasri will be alright and ready to face Fulham as it is a minor injury. Apart from this he said there are no new fresh injury concerns.
“Nasri has got a knock from Tuesday night. It is a knee problem but he should be alright. Apart from that, we do not have any fresh players injured.”
He further added that there will be no new players returning from injury as Vermaelen and Diaby are still out along with Fabregas. The squad he said will remain unchanged from the Villa game.
“There are no other ins or out. Diaby and Vermaelen are not available. Fabregas (hamstring) is still injured so it will be a similar squad to the Aston Villa game.”
As for Van Persie, Wenger is yet unsure on whether to give him another start. He said that he will look in to his recovery from the Wigan game before deciding. He said that with a strong squad available he is going to rotate his players from game to game to keep the players fresh.
“I will see how Robin recovers [before deciding whether to start him]. I rotate a bit from game to game at the moment. So I’ll see. But we have quite a strong squad available.”
In other news we are to face Ipswich Town in the two legged semi-final of the Carling Cup. The semi finals first leg is going to be played on the 11th or 12th of January at their home with the return leg on 25th or 26th. Ipswich town overcame West Brom in the quarters to face us. Birmingham has been drawn against West Ham in the other semi final.
Ipswich’s manager, Roy Keane, commented about the draw. He said that they have got the toughest of the draws. He further elaborated that Birmingham and West Ham would be delighted to have avoided Arsenal and play each other. As for the tie he said that they will look forward to it when it comes. About Arsenal he said that they are a top team and they will be happy with the draw.
“I think it is the toughest draw we could have had. Put it this way, West Ham and Birmingham will have been delighted to have avoided Arsenal. We will look forward to that when it comes. Arsenal are a top team and will be delighted with the draw.”
On his own teams performance against West Brom he said that they played well and was pleased for the fans and his team. He said that the players responded positively after Sunday’s loss in their local derby. The match he said would have been over before they scored had the West Brom keeper not made some great saves.
“The performance was pretty good. That does not always guarantee the right result but we should have won by three or four goals. I am pleased for the players and the supporters because it has been a frustrating time. All the players did very well and responded well after Sunday. The game should have been over by the time we scored but their keeper made some great saves.”
No match is easy and as we have seen this season none of the teams can be taken granted for. It will be a good match no doubt but I believe we will win the tie and the tournament. Fingers crossed!
On to Other matters. Our former player, Ray Parlour, has spoken about Vermaelen to be given the captaincy of the team. Speaking on this he asks questions regarding Squillaci, Koscielny and Djourou that if they can deliver for the whole season and be leaders along with that on the pitch. He said that the centre backs position is very important to a team. They have a bird’s eye view of everything and as a result they can direct a team effectively from there.
On Vermaelen’s return from injury, Parlour wants that Wenger should give him the captain’s armband as he is a good player and that he has the leadership qualities. He believes that Vermaelen can learn from Tony Adams and Viera’s time at Arsenal to drive the team to success.
“You look at the situation. You’ve got Squillaci, Koscielny, Djourou – are these good enough to go through the whole season and pick you points up. We all know goalkeepers can save you 12 points a year so can centre-halves. It’s a very important position, they can see everything happening, they’re the ones who can demand from other players. That’s why they’re so important. I think Vermaelen is going to be very important because he’s a good player. He’s got a great leap on him for 5ft 11, usually centre-halves are 6ft plus. I think it’s one of these times where if he thinks Vermaelen can do the job give him the skipper’s armband and say to him ‘these are skipper’s we use to have, Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, who used to drive the team on, can you do that’ and see if he can do it.”
We can also forget signing Schwarzer in the January window as he has signed a new contract at Fulham.
Schwarzer has said this on fulhamfc.com:
“Delighted to have finally signed a contract extension with Fulham after a great deal of speculation surrounding my future in recent months.”
Mark Hughes had this to say on Schwarzer signing a contract extension:
“[Schwarzer] is an important part of my plans for the future and I am delighted to see one of the game’s finest current goalkeepers commit his future to the Club.”
Personnally I am not bothered with the news as much as currently Fabianski and Szczesny are doing good. Although if we need to sign for improvement , we can have plenty better keepers than Schwarzer. As a matter of fact I am delighted myself that at least one speculation has been settled.