AFCB editor Andrew Weber rounds up the day’s news…
Almunia admits worries
A day after captaining Arsenal at Anfield, Manuel Almunia has admitted he is struggling to cope with the speculation surrounding the goalkeeper’s position at Arsenal.
“To be honest, it is so difficult [to concentrate]. Arsenal is a big club and speculation is always in the news and everywhere. The only thing I can do is keep working because I have a contract here and I have to do what the manager wants from me. If somebody comes in, I will have to talk about my future at Arsenal. That is it.
“I don’t see anything else outside Arsenal. It will be very, very difficult to play for another team in England if it wasn’t Arsenal. Spain, also, would be difficult. But I am 33 years old and only have a few more years left in football. I would like to enjoy them. I am a keeper who enjoys playing – just playing. I have to work and if one day I am not good enough for Arsenal, I will talk. That is no problem.”
I’ve said before that I believe a new No 1 goalkeeper is a must for Arsenal to challenge for the title this season and if one does come in before August 31, harsh as it seems, it will be Almunia who makes way.
With the news that Arsene Wenger is expected to improve an offer for Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Shay Given also emerging as a possible option after being left out of Manchester City’s team against Spurs, it genuinely appears like Almunia’s time will be up at Arsenal.
Yet despite the dark clouds looming for the Spaniard, one has to admire loyalty and commitment to the Arsenal cause: it’s clear he is not the sort of person to throw up a hissy-fit if things go his way and that will help make negotiations a little less painful for everyone involved.
Chamakh’s bravery gets respect
Arsene Wenger was quick to praise new signing Marouane Chamakh for his performance against Liverpool and more specifically, the part he played in the goal.
“Chamakh showed with the goal that he is not frightened to put his head and body in. That is exactly what the League is all about and that is what we love here.”
Although it was hilarious to see Pepe Reina put through his own net after his part in the Fabregas-in-a-Barcelona-shirt incident, it was a little disappointing to see Chamakh get denied a debut goal by the width of the post.
The Moroccan showed on many occasions for Bordeaux that his best attributes is his ability in the air – a product of his height, an outstanding vertical leap and the bravery of an Australian Rules footballer – and it was great to see him show those attributes in his very first game in an Arsenal shirt.
Gerrard makes a fool of himself
Like Chamakh, Laurent Koscielny had an eventful debut at Anfield, putting in a great defensive performance, kicking Dirk Kuyt in the balls and then being sent-off harshly in stoppage time.
Koscielny was also the player on the receiving end of an overly aggressive and unnecessary Joe Cole tackle that saw the now-Liverpool player see red and left the French defender with a “a big knock on his shin” that the Arsenal medical stuff thought “could be broken”.
Cue Steven Gerrard’s ridiculous summation of the incident:
“When you see the player’s reaction after the tackle you think that might be the end of his game but he sprinted back onto the pitch for the second half – but there you go.”
It’s a fairly stupid statement by a clearly very stupid man.
Both Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey have had a leg broken by similarly-dangerous tackles so if any team is going to react to them it is going to be us.
And for the record Koscielny hardly “sprinted back onto the pitch for the second half”, he walked on with all the other players and was clearly feeling the injury throughout the remainder of the match.
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