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!