A multitude of Arsenal players have been speaking recently about things stretching from the wonderful team spirit and unity at the club to the influence of ex-captain Thierry Henry.
First up is Nicklas Bendtner, who has been talking about the the unified vision of the players at the club following the 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the Carling Cup midweek. Bendtner, who scored his first competitive goal for the club in the match, also spoke about how important it was to grab the first goal against Newcastle.
“All through the club, including all the young players, everyone knows what it’s all about and the way to play football. Tonight was just another showing of what the Club is going through at the moment. It’s always nice as a striker to score. It was important for me, of course.”
Although Bendtner has been one of the few Arsenal players to have been frustrated with the club at time this season (can you think of the other ones?), these comments are a nice indication of how it must be to play under Arsene Wenger. There wouldn’t be many clubs around who have such a shared vision through from the first team to the youth and most of the credit has to go the manager. Bendtner’s other comment about how important it was to score is also fair enough; he has ambitions to play for the first team and the only way he’s going to get there as a big centre-forward is to score goals. I have to say that I’m a massive fan of Bendtner and believe he is one player who could step up at any time in the Premiership or Champions League and make an impact. Despite this, with Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor playing well up front and Eduardo da Silva showing signs of quality, I think his time may come later in the season.
Gallas unsure about return
Another player who is currently not part of the starting team, albeit for very different reasons, is William Gallas. The Arsenal captain is still nursing a groin injury after a nasty fall against Blackburn in the second match of the Premiership despite the fact that he was predicted to return several weeks ago. Gallas spoke of his frustration with the injury and revealed that he is not sure how long it will be before he appears again for the club.
“I will be back but I don’t know when. I don’t want to set a target. We are top of the table, though, and playing well so I want to be part of it. I’m very sad that I’m still injured and I have to be strong in my head.”
Although I want Gallas back into the side as soon as possible after the less than convincing performances of Philippe Senderos, I can see why the Arsenal medical staff have been so tentative to let him play. Anyone who has suffered a groin injury will know how important it is to be rid of it before playing to decrease the chances of a relapse. The fact this is Gallas’ second groin injury in as many seasons suggests to me that the caution the medical staff and indeed the player himself are taking is necessary. Much as I would love to see the Frenchman return I would hate to see him reinjure his leg, a situation that would most likely see him miss the rest of the season.
Gilberto wants to stay
The man that many thought would be captain this season ahead of Gallas, Gilberto Silva, has commented on his desire to re-sign for the club despite speculation suggesting that he wants to leave Arsenal when his contract expires in just over a year’s time.
“I have one more year left on my contract and we will see if I can sort it out, like we did the last time my contract was down to its last 12 months. I have always said I want to stay at the club.”
It’s nice to hear him say that after the recent speculation and despite the fact that he is struggling for a starting team position just at the moment. Although the Brazilian’s direct rival for the second central midfield position next to Cesc Fabregas is deservedly being held by Mathieu Flamini at the moment, I feel that Gilberto will still have his part to play this, and indeed next season. Wenger has made a habit of ensuring the players in his squad are multi-skilled and Gilberto’s ability to play both central midfield and central defence mean he remains a valuable part of the team. There will also be times when Gilberto’s cool, calm style of play will be more effective than Flamini’s aggression and Arsenal supporters should remember this.
Fabregas on Henry, again
While Flamini has staked a strong claim for a starting team position there is no doubting that the man who is absolutely indispensable to the Arsenal side is Fabregas. I spoke yesterday about the comments the Spaniard made about Thierry Henry leaving the club in the summer and also the comments made by the Frenchman in response. Since then, Fabregas has moved to clarify his position over the comments he made about Henry being an intimidating teammate.
“He is my friend and a colleague and it would be very unfair to say anything bad about him. I have seen every game this season. He is improving and against Sevilla he made a great pass for the goal and had a fine chance that hit the post.”
I spoke about the recent interaction between the two players and put forward my reasons for Henry’s departure yesterday and Fabregas’ statement seems to back that up. It’s obvious that the two have a positive relationship and the media’s interpretation of events was, unsurprisingly, incorrect. Indeed, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be telling us that the only reason Fabregas has been watching Henry is because he wants to play for Barcelona next season. Some things never change.
What do you think?
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