Fractured Fibula: Bacary Sagna out for three months!

October 3, 2011

As if losing to Tottenham was not enough, we are now going to lose Bacary Sagna for a minimum of three months with a fibula fracture.

Bacary Sagna was substituted during the game after he was pushed by Assou-Ekotto and he landed awkwardly.

Speaking after the game, Wenger informed the initial signs weren’t good and further news was awaited with the medical staff checking the fibula.

“We are very worried about his injury. He is in hospital at the moment and it is too early to say but the first signs do not look good at all. It is the fibula in the ankle that has to be checked, that is what I have been told. We will know tonight.

I think he was pushed quite hard by Assou-Ekotto and I’m not sure what happened to him. He might have landed the wrong way, I don’t know. I will have to see it again. Straight away he wanted to be substituted.”

Later in the night, the following statement was released on the official Arsenal site.

The Club can confirm that Bacary Sagna sustained a fracture to the fibula in his right leg during the match against Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon.
Further detailed investigations and assessments will take place on Monday, during which time Bacary will see ankle specialists and the Arsenal medical team regarding the further management of his injury.

It is expected that Bacary will be out for approximately three months and a surgical procedure cannot be ruled out at this stage.

With us already short in defenders, one of our consistent performers is going to be missed now.

With a surgery not ruled out, we will have to keep our fingers crossed that there are no setbacks. This season was already tough and has just gotten more difficult.

Let’s hope he returns in time. I wish him the best of luck.


Bolton vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

April 24, 2011

Are we still in the title race? Mathematically, yes! But considering the way we have played and failed to bolster our position in the last few games, we shouldn’t even be talking about the title. The objective now should be to finish the season on a high by winning all our remaining games and see where it ends for us. For me, right now the best way to approach games is to forget about the title and the past few weeks, forget what Manu and Chelsea are doing, forget that we have won only one game in the last six and forget what the media is saying. Arsenal! Play like you have nothing to lose and hopefully the wins will come, starting from today against Bolton.

With the negativity surrounding Arsenal at the moment, it is hard to concentrate. I have kept myself busy and away from football after the Tottenham draw. Most likely, I won’t be able to even watch today’s game due to work (I will try though). The best way to reply to all the negativity and questions being raised is as I mentioned above, play like there is nothing to lose.

Bolton are playing at their home today. They were battered in the FA Cup semifinal but it doesn’t justify the way they have played this season. Sitting at eighth position in the table they will offer more than a good resistance. They will play their game and won’t hesitate to attack. They can be physical too. It will be a difficult game but I believe we have enough quality to get the three points.

I don’t have much to say on our game. The problem in the last few games has been two fold. First of all we don’t seem to find goals but if we do, we concede the same amount in the process as well. How do you get over such a problem? By buying? By selling? By sacking the manager? No! This doesn’t mean we don’t need to buy in the summers. There are some players that need to be offloaded and we do need a few reinforcements. However, buying or selling won’t be the solution to the problem. We can only solve our problem by doing the basics of football right, which we seem to have forgotten lately. Keep things simple, keep the focus for the full 90 minutes and not switch off like we did against Tottenham and we will win games.

As far as the team is concerned, it will be straight forward to pick.

Except Diaby there are no injury concerns. To replace him Wilshere will come back into the middle alongside Song and Fabregas.

As far as the defense and forward line is concerned, it is going to remain the same as it was against Spurs.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri, RVP, Walcott

To conclude, Arsene Wenger’s pre-match press conference comments regarding summer spendings have come under lots of scrutiny already. I will discuss that more in detail in later posts. However, I would like Wenger to stop explaining the world the mental strength of our team every time he talks to the media. It is doing us no good! Only performance on the field is going to help us.

That is all. Enjoy the game and have a good day!!


Arsene Wenger on Lehmann’s performance, Almunia’s Knee injury and Szczesny’s return

April 10, 2011

Jens Lehmann did well during Arsenal’s win over Blackpool after his surprise start due to an injury to Manuel Almunia in the warm ups.

Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger praised the performance of Lehmann by saying how his decision making was spot on and how his authority helped the team on set pieces.

The manager added that he wasn’t concerned about starting the game with him but admitted that the only problem was of replacing Lehmann, if something had happened to him during the game, due to having no keeper left on the bench.

There did come such a moment during the game when Lehmann could have been sent off for bringing down DJ Campbell in the danger area but Blackpool scored the goal, when the referee played the advantage, and Wenger admitted that it was an important split second of the game.

Regarding Almunia’s injury, Wenger said that he has a knee injury which needs to be assessed and added that he doesn’t yet know If he will be available for the next match. However, Wenger concluded by saying that Szczesny is not far away from returning.

Arsene Wenger, after the win, said:

“[Jens Lehmann] did well. His decision-making was spot on. In fairness, he didn’t have a lot to do because we controlled the game quite well. He is commanding and his authority helped us on set-pieces.

I was not concerned because I replaced a good goalkeeper with a good goalkeeper. The only concern was not having a goalkeeper on the bench anymore. If something had happened to Jens, because he had not played for a long time, we would have had a problem.

Yes. That was the important split-second of the game. I felt Jens played the ball, even if [the referee] gives a penalty he can give a yellow card because he tried to intercept the ball.

{Manuel Almunia] has a knee problem, we have to assess that. I don’t know [whether he will be ready for the next game]. We have [Wojciech] Szczesny who is not far away.”


Arsene Wenger on why Fabregas started on the bench and Samir Nasri’s injury

April 3, 2011

Arsenal’s title hopes were dealt a major blow after yet another lackluster performance which left Arsene Wenger disappointed and frustrated.

Speaking after the drawn game against Blackburn, Arsene Wenger admitted that it was a frustrating performance which lacked energy and sharpness and how it’s a major concern to see the team perform as such. The manager added that it is difficult to find one reason for such a display as he conceded that part of it was down to Blackburn’s good defending and more of it down to the poor offensive performance from the team.

When asked about why Fabregas started on the bench, the manager revealed how the decision was a difficult one and down to the concerns of Fabregas as in the past he has been troubled by his hamstring when returning from injury. Arsene Wenger explained that with the number of setbacks Fabregas has had this season, it is only logical that things are done step by step in order to avoid a recurrence of the injury.

Regarding Nasri’s head injury which was suffered early on in the game, the manager gave good news by saying how he is alright and will be available for next weekend.

After the game, Arsene Wenger said:

“It was a frustrating performance because we had no pace in our game. Overall it was a flat performance with a lack of energy level, a lack of sharpness. It was quite a big concern to see what we have seen today.

It is difficult to identify one special thing. I felt we started OK and after our game became flat. Very few players looked to have the resources to put the pace up in the game. Part of it is down to the fact that Blackburn defended well but I don’t put the majority of reasons down to that. I feel it is more down to our poor offensive performance today.

It was a difficult decision but you could see that he still has some concern. I believe he is over his injury. He got a little setback at the Nou Camp, but before the game he was fit. Today he was fit, but there was some still reluctance in his head, so I decided not to start him. He has had a few setbacks of course so he did not know completely if he could play 90 minutes. It takes step-by-step to get completely back and be free in his head and not concerned about the injury. He was concerned about having a recurrence.

[Samir Nasri] is all right.”


Arsene Wenger’s injury update ahead of Blackburn

April 1, 2011

The International break is finally over and Arsenal are up against Blackburn this Saturday. Arsene Wenger on Thursday gave an update on the players including the ones returning from International duty.

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Arsene Wenger confirmed the availability of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Abou Diaby, and Theo Walcott for selection on Saturday. They all have recovered from their respective injuries although Wenger added that the decision for starting them is not yet made.

Meanwhile, Wenger revealed how a few players returning from International duty will undergo tests before a final assessment will be made for their inclusion.   Wenger said that Van Persie, bruised knee, and Bendtner, ankle, both are having a good chance for selection while Ramsey will also undergo test.

The only confirmed player out of action this weekend is Denilson with a toe injury which Wenger informed is short term as he also added that the rest of the squad is available.

Arsene Wenger on Thursday said: 

“[Fabregas, Song, Walcott and Diaby] will all be available. I have not decided if they will start the game yet but they will all be available.

Van Persie has a good chance too. He has a final assessment tomorrow but we believe he will be fit. It is a bruised knee. Nicklas Bendtner is in the same situation. He will have a test tomorrow on his ankle and we’ll see. In fact, we have a few players with tests tomorrow – Ramsey with his groin, Bendtner with his ankle, Van Persie with his knee. I will make a decision after training in the morning.

We just have Denilson out. It is short–term. We have one or two players with question marks but all the other players will be available.”


Do we need to sign a new keeper this summer?? | Robin van Persie injured, I hope not!!

March 30, 2011

It has been a week since the last time I updated my blog as my final year project and catching up on university work has kept me busy. During this time much has happened in the football world and I can’t make up my mind on what to talk first.

Anyhow, I will be quick and short over here. To start off with, the thing that I feared the most to occur in this International beak, I am afraid, has come to pass, which is an injured Robin van Persie returning to Arsenal. Van Persie got injured in the 5-3 win against Hungary on Tuesday after scoring the opener. He got a knee to his thigh and was substituted before half time. However, Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk believes that van Persie could be back for the weekend to play for Arsenal. He said:

“Robin got a knee to his thigh. With luck he could play for Arsenal this weekend.”

I really hope he does make it and that it isn’t a serious injury because without Van Persie, our chances of challenging for the title will surely be over. We are already in chaos at the back and if we lose our top goal scorer, I can imagine what the results will be in the final games. Last season when van Persie got injured on International duty, which ruled him out for half the season, similar things were said only to be revealed that it was a more serious injury. I hope this time it is not like that and he starts against blackburn.

The other bit is related to the goal keepers getting linked with us. Talks of Ajax keeper, Maarten Stekelenburg and Juventus keeper, Gianluigi Buffon to Arsenal have erupted after what happened in the Arsenal’s game against West Brom. Now, I am not sure if Stekelenburg is as good as he is rated. Although, I haven’t seen him play much except during the Football World Cup where frankly speaking he didn’t impress me much. He wasn’t the only one with Hugo Lloris also a high profile keeper who didn’t impress.   However, these are Stekelenburg’s words regarding a move to Arsenal:

“If Arsenal make an offer, I will leave Holland.”

Will we make an offer for him? I think that is a big NO! And I will leave the matter as it is.

Similarly, Gianluigi Buffon’s agent has also not ruled out Buffon’s move to Arsenal at the end of this season, although, we haven’t yet contacted him. I would have really liked to see Buffon come in as number at the start of this season and even right now when we need a keeper. However, after seeing Szczesny’s performance this season, I am not sure. The question that needs to be asked is that do we need to sign Buffon or any other keeper this summer? No doubt, Buffon is a top class keeper and he is an asset for any team, I feel a move to sign him or any other keeper will hamper Szczesny’s progress. We also have Fabianski, who has done well and we have Mannone in line and they will all be back next season. And hopefully next season we will not be in a similar situation, with three keepers injured, as we are now. Bringing Buffon or any keeper in for a high price I believe will be a waste of money when we can always spend that money to sign players in position we do need to reinforce, defense and defensive midfield to be precise.

The thing about which we should be concerned right now is that we have Almunia in goal and Lehman I feel isn’t yet ready to replace him, after his outing in the reserve game against Wigan. Sadly we cannot do anything but only hope we don’t suffer much because from now on till the end of the season, each game is a must win and if more goals are let in like the one Almunia conceded, it will bring an end to yet another season of ours which promised so much.

In other news, there was talk of Barcelona not having enough money for Fabregas or something similar and Xavi opening his mouth again to show how smelly it is. I won’t link to both the news. There is also talk of Clichy’s contract and him leaving us this summer, I hope he doesn’t because, Gibbs, I feel is not ready to take over. Also Arsenal has decided not to appeal Wenger and Nasri’s ban, a good decision and one I was hoping for. Also, we are going to have Fabregas, Song, Diaby and Walcott back for the Blackburn game. Szczesny and Djourou may yet feature for us before the season comes to an end. The international break is over (almost) and as of now we only have a doubt on van Persie. So, all is not lost yet. A winning streak from now till the end of the season and we will lift the trophy, fingers crossed!!

Have a good day.


International break: Djourou to return in 4 weeks, Lehmann must start, UEFA’s Ban and Pictures of Leaked Arsenal Home Kit

March 23, 2011

The problem with International breaks is that nothing exciting happens in it. This International break is no different as it is already getting boring and only two days have passed with 10 more to go. Also these breaks usually don’t turn up good for us with mostly our important players returning injured at the end of it.  This season, however, we have been quite lucky on that front except on a couple of occasions. Theo Walcott  got injured on International duty but he recovered. Vermaelen’s injury, however, has really bitten us in the arse as his absence has been felt throughout the season. Other than that, the breaks have gone well, for our team has benefitted in the shape of added rest and also our injured payers have recovered without missing games.

This International break has come for us at the right time as we have been going through a very bad patch of results. We have been knocked out of two competitions, failed to win a final and on the trot drawn two games in the Premier League, which has opened up the debate regarding our players’ mentality and lack of trophies. I won’t go into that because at the end of the season, we will know clearly where we stand and as to what we have learnt and achieved. We still can win the league, no doubt. If we fail, many questions will be asked and this time Arsene will have to answer them because hiding behind lack of experience will not be an option. We have to sort out our problems during this break and make sure our injured players recover in time.

As with most International breaks, there isn’t much happening. Players have been linked here and there as always. In the past couple of days, however, most blogs have come up with the players that Arsenal need to sell at the end of the season. There are a few players that need to released as they have been given too many chances, yet they have shown no improvement or consistency. I will be coming up with my list at the end of the season because right now it doesn’t feel right. We also need a few reinforcements but again I will discuss it at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, there have been a few developments. The first bit is good news in the shape of Djourou’s recovery. The official Arsenal website has revealed that Djourou has undergone an exploratory surgery on his shoulder, with no need for a reconstructive surgery, and is expected to return to training in four weeks. If we are lucky, we can have Djourou back for the United game, which will be a big boost because at the moment that game looks to be the title decider. Before that, however, we have to win our 5 games, including matches against Liverpool and Tottenham to really have a chance to challenge United for the title. With plenty of our regulars also destined to return at the end of this break, we can remain hopeful that this title can still be ours. And here is to hoping that the 14 gunners that have been called for international duty return in one piece, especially Nasri and Van Persie.

The second bit is the keeper situation, which is giving me nightmares. We have lost Fabianski for the season already and we have lost Szczesny for quite some time. As for Almunia, I have lost my trust in him after yet another howler against West Brom. I was excited with Lehmann joining us but that excitement has been short-lived after what Wenger said to Arsenal TV online.   

“Lehmann is like a guy who has not been in goal for a long time but who has kept his body fit. He has the basic physical fitness, he needs little bit of decision-making practice in goal.”   

After Almunia’s mistake, I don’t see any reason for Lehmann to not start the next game but this point of him not being ready is leaving many doors open. If he wasn’t ready, why was he signed in the first place!? And I am not complaining here because he can guide us through to the finish line with his experience but he would have done that even without signing. We needed a cover and a keeper who was in practice should have been signed, if Lehmann was out of practice. As nothing can be done now, Lehmann should be made ready to start the coming games because to be honest, we can kiss goodbye the tile if Almunia stays in goal. Here again the International break can come to our help because two weeks time IMO is enough for Lehmann to get ready. And hopefully he will start in goal against Blackburn (my fingers are crossed).

In other news, Arsenal will be deciding next week on whether to appeal the UEFA bans against Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri after they receive the detail reasoning from UEFA. Now, one match ban is not a big problem and as is the case most ban appeals end in extension of it. So, I feel that it will be better for us if we don’t appeal and just serve the one match ban.

Finally, here are some of the leaked pictures of what is believed to be our home kit for next season to celebrate our 125th anniversary.

That’s all for now. Have a great day!


Arsene Wenger’s injury news ahead of Sunderland and Aaron Ramsey’s inclusion in the squad

March 4, 2011

Aaron Ramsey is in inline to be included in the Arsenal squad for the match against Sunderland this Saturday with Koscielny having a small chance to feature.

Speaking to Arsenal TV online on Thursday, Arsene Wenger admitted how there is a chance for Aaron to be included in the squad with him getting better every day as he praised the midfielder’s passing ability and ability to score goals and added that it will be good to have him back.

Meanwhile, the manager said that there have been no new injuries and added that how only Koscielny has a small possibility to make the Sunderland game with the Frenchman having a good chance for Barcelona.

Regarding Alex Song, the manager revealed that he isn’t available for Saturday and is also doubtful for Barcelona and added that his knee will be assessed on Monday.

Cesc Fabregas also has a possibility to feature against Barcelona as the manager said his injury is being assessed every day and as things are going, he has a good chance for Tuesday.

Ahead of the Sunderland game, Wenger said:

“There is a chance Aaron could be available in the squad for Saturday. It will be very good to have him back. He is getting better and better now. We know he has a great engine, has great passing ability and can score goals as well.
 
We did not lose anyone last night. There is a meager chance we could have Koscielny back for Sunderland. But he is the only one we can hope to have available. Koscielny has a good chance [for Barcelona] though. His hamstring is getting much better and he is not completely out for Sunderland yet.
 
However Alex Song is out on Saturday and he is doubtful for Barcelona. At the moment he has not practiced at all. He has this knee problem that gets better everyday. But we’ll assess it on Monday. As for Cesc, we go day-by-day. We assessed him today and he is positive about his injury. We feel he has a chance. I do not want to disappoint people so I say he has ‘a chance’, I strongly believe that.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers