Hello, hello. I’ve got a quick Olympiacos preview for you today and some chat about Arsene Wenger’s unwillingness to spend money before the anticipated unexpected return of the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast.
We of course host Greek side Olympiacos in the Champions League tonight at the Emirates in a game where three points will be expected. I don’t think many people would disagree that our overall performance at Fulham on Saturday was not good enough despite the win and I believe the manager and the fans will want to see better from the Arsenal boys tonight.
Unfortunately the team news going into the match-up is not good. Nicklas Bendtner has been confirmed as unable to play until the weekend after sustaining minor injuries in a car accident. Meanwhile Denilson has received the rather bizarre news that he has fractured his back and will be out for another two months. I seem to remember Gilberto Silva sustaining the same injury as Denilson a few seasons back, so perhaps geneticists should be taking a look into whether weak spinal chords are more prevalent in Brazilian defensive-midfielders. Or something.
The point is that neither player will feature against Olympiacos and they are joined by Theo Walcott who is apparently set for a run-out against an Olympiacos reserve-team. I’ve never heard of a Champions League reserve game but if it gives Walcott the run-out he needs to get back to first-team football then I’m all for it.
As I said before Olympiacos at home should be a relatively comfortable three points and a good opportunity to rotate a couple of our underperforming or tired players. I’d like to see a couple of Kieran Gibbs, Emmanuel Eboue, Thomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo come into the side and it certainly wouldn’t be the worst idea to give a very tired looking Cesc Fabregas a rest. Meanwhile Hero of the Minute Vito Mannone will start again in goals and I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he backs up from his sensational performance at Fulham.
Moving away from the Olympiacos game and Arsene Wenger has reiterated yet again that he’s happy with the current squad despite the fact that he has significant money to spend on players if he wants it. In his own words he said:
“There is money to spend, but at the moment I am very happy with the squad I have. It’s not because I’m against spending money, I have nothing against spending money. But I do not spend money because out of (the) squad is Nasri, Walcott, Bendtner. If by December we need to buy someone to add to the squad I will do it. Success on the pitch is the most important by far, but success on the pitch cannot be maintained if you are in financial trouble.”
By and large he’s right, but I am still of the opinion that the squad could do with another Alex Song-like player to provide quality back-up. Denilson fans will say that he can do the job, while there is also the feeling that Wenger sees Samir Nasri as capable of doing the job but with both players currently out with fractures and Song away for the African Cup of Nations in January I still feel we’re a little short.
Anyway, that’s that for the visual part of today’s post – now it’s time to tickle your auditory senses via the return of the Arsenal FC Weekly podcast.
This week I’m joined on the podcast by Jamie Sanderson from Young Guns in Part One to discuss the Carling Cup win over West Brom as well as Arsenal’s start to the season, while in Part Two Jammathon from Third Gen and discuss the 1-0 win over Fulham, Vito Mannone’s performance and why everybody seems to hate Abou Diaby.
Cheers and here’s to three points over the Greeks!
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