More bad news to kick things off today with the word that Kieran Gibbs went off injured for England U21 against Lithuania. When it rains it pours, doesn’t it?
While the extent of the injury remains unknown the fact that Gibbs has gone for an X-ray suggests he won’t be playing against Sunderland this weekend. He’s also the second player to come back from International break with an injury (third if you include Abou Diaby) and with William Gallas, Bacary Sagna and Andrey Arshavin still to play there’s a genuine chance it could get a whole lot worse.
With Gael Clichy out with a stress fracture Gibbs’ injury will provide a particular dilemma for Arsene Wenger as to who will play at left back. Mikael Silvestre’s lack of pace and attacking instinct should rule him out while I feel the manager will be reluctant to break up the Gallas-Vermaelen partnership that has worked so well. Meanwhile Wenger is likely to feel that Armand Traore does not quite have the experience to step in at such a crucial juncture of the season.
Personally I think it will be Emmanuel Eboue who gets the nod, particularly if Gibbs’ injury turns out to be relatively minor. The Ivorian has been used there before and played a couple of games on the left in pre-season and I think he is the best like-for-like replacement we have for someone like Gibbs or Clichy. Plus, we could all use a little more Eboue Murphy in our lives.
Moving on and the manager has named the player that will replace Alex Song when he heads off in January to the African Cup of Nations. And that player is… Denilson!
No surprises there really, however it is interesting to hear Wenger rule out Samir Nasri as a possible candidate because of his tendency to attack and his “little handicap in the air”. Denilson is of course unavailable at the moment with a stress fracture in his back so let’s hope he has a complication-free return.
And that’s it for today in a jam-packed but rather short post. I’ll be getting up tomorrow at 3.30am Australian time to watch Egypt and Algeria battle for a spot at the World Cup before poking my nose into the other European qualifiers.
Take it easy.
Have your say on Gibbs’ injury, Denilson, Nasri or World Cup qualifiers by leaving a comment.