For once, a welcome international break for Arsenal

Hello there.

I trust you’re all feeling a bit better than you were yesterday. I’m hoping that the London-based supporters amongst us were able to give their Tottenham-supporting colleagues a great deal of rubbish about failing to score against 10 men.

An international break week (or ‘week break’, I can never work out which way around that should go) is upon us yet again. But for once it’s actually not a bad time for Arsenal to have one. 

Put simply, the break should give Arsene Wenger time to sort out the way he’s going to cope with the loss of Emmanuel Adebayor. According to Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, Eduardo is set for a half-hour cameo for his country mid-week while Andrey Arshavin will have a full two weeks to get up to a level of fitness to compete for a place in the team for the Premiership clash against Sunderland on the 21st. Those two players will be vital in Adebayor’s absence and have the ability to rejuvenate the attacking side of our game, something Wenger needs to think long and hard about during the break.

There have been understandable concerns coming from both the player and the manager about Eduardo’s ability to deal psychologically with his return, but the friendly for his national team will provide a perfect continuation for his steady recover. Arshavin, on the other hand, simply needs to get match fit and considering he will miss the FA Cup replay against Cardiff through ineligibility should have ample time to prepare for first-team action.

Arsenal currently sit fifth on the Premier League table, five points behind Chelsea and seven behind Aston Villa. With the former having to cope with a change in manager after Luiz Felipe Scolari’s (ridiculous) sacking and Villa facing a very tough short-term fixture list this is the perfect time for our boys to make their move into the top four. Our next five games against Sunderland, Fulham, West Brom, Blackburn and Newcastle are extremely winnable on paper, particularly considering our fresh faces up front and the defensive improvements that have been made. Fourth is the bare minimum, but third or even second is a distinct possibility.

In truth, the lack of news means there’s not too much to add to what I’ve said today. Before I go though, I want to step away from football for the moment and mention the sad state of affairs that are the bushfires going on in rural Victoria in Australia. For those unaware, 181 people have been confirmed dead in Australia’s worst ever national disaster and thousands more have been left homeless by the horrible fire. I wouldn’t wish this sort of thing on anyone in the world and want to send my sincerest condolences to my fellow countrymen who have been affected by the crisis.

A sad way to end the post, I agree, but stories like this certainly put the Emmanuel Eboue ‘disaster’ into perspective.

Have your say on Arshavin, Eduardo or the Australian bushfire crisis by leaving a comment.

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26 Responses to “For once, a welcome international break for Arsenal”

  1. Bsdnolimite
    February 10, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Ars wenger should give eduardo a chance to play

  2. Panda Bear
    February 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    I hope things start to go a bit better. The only positives to come out of the last few games is our unbeaten fun continues. I think maintaining that run is key to us finishing ahead of both Villa and Chelsea.

  3. Hans
    February 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    I am a devout Arsenal Supporter, but than I was born and bred in Holland where Soccer is our sport.
    However I was schooled and brought up in South Africa. hence my soccer affiliation.
    I do not understand how an Aussie can possibly be so fanatical about soccer! Ahh… unless ofcourde it is because he has realised that the Aussies can not play rugby. hahahah
    Thank you for maintaining an interesting and up to date blog.
    Hans from South Africa

    NB we can also play cricket you know…

  4. Dan
    February 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    it si tru, hope is good. we might finish second i think. new fresh faces in the aquad would be refreshing. about the Australian fires, it is really sad. i am not sure what triggers those fires, well we had two here in Kenya, one concerning an oil tanker and another at a popular supermarket chain.
    lots of people lost their lives.
    i think some of these things could be avoided.

    on a positive note, i also think n believe we can overtake Villa n Chelsea.
    Nxt tym.

  5. godfrey
    February 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    About the Aussie fires,i say sorry to all those affected.On to football,i repaet again in this blog that Arsenal is ma team and we have all it takes to finish among the top 4.nice tyme

  6. Spanish Fry
    February 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    @ Hans – I can’t explain it Hans. I’m a strange man.

  7. Dennis
    February 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    I am sure the international break is very welcome. I am in Uganda but deeply fill for our fans that were at White Hart Lane. Eboue is becoming an embarrassing embarrassement. My condolences to your fellow countrymen about the fires. Till next time.

  8. Johno
    February 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    SF,

    What leads you to suppose that Arshavin is ineligible for the FA Cup, He hasn’t played in this season’s tournament yet, He is , however cup tied for the Champions League.

    May I add my commiserations to those who have been injured or lost family, friends and property in the present disaster.

  9. Gibbs
    February 10, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    @ Johno
    Arshavin is ineligible to play in the cup tie replay against Cardiff b/c he was not an Arsenal player when we played Cardiff last month. He will be available for the 5th round though.

    The wildfires in Oz are sad. Its amazing how much damage an ignorant person/people can do. We’ve had a few of those in SA but they were never as devastating as the one in Oz.

  10. Radads RSA
    February 11, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    @Gibbs, Are you from RSA? Im in the Centurion Gauteng area.Feel deeply sorry for the fire disaster in Australlia SF, I know how beautiful your country is.
    Im happy again that Edu could proove himself for this international game, hope hes gonna do well during the game, so that AW wont put AW wont put the Dane in again.For now, I see the Dane startin on the 21st but I hope that Edu will take the challenge, for FA cup, Bendy will dfntly take charge.
    Goal has made a vote for Arsenal reachin top4 or not, and the result were 65% positiv and 35% no.On my side, I keep myself confident 100% that we will take at least the 3rd place with Chelski managerless, and Villa’s future tough fixtures.Villa and Chelski will defntly drop points but regardless of all of this im still confident, bcos of the arrivin of Arshavin, Walcott comin back very soon and hopefully Edu bringing change on our strikers goal attempt and creativity.As i said, We still have 13 games to play and more than half of them are played at home.To me the most diffcult games are these ones which will be played away: Portsmth, Liv, and Manu.But still, we will be already teeth armed with Fab, Walcott,Nasri and Arshavin in the mdfld by the time we play these lads.This will be a completely different Arsenal team which hasnt got anything to do with Diaby and his crew durin our difficult run since October.We must put in mind that our season is about to start from the 21st of Feb, brand new Arsenal team is now abt to come up stage on the PL challenge so we’ve got to fasten our seatbelt.I dunno guys but im just very confident, that doesnt mean that things wont turn ard if something happens like Arshavin might find it difficult to adapt with the Arsenal team or might be Injury blow or even Fab and Walcott and Edu will face long time match fitness again, nobody knows but for now, we look pretty well on ascending form and NEW LOOK, while our rivals are facing recession and difficult times.

  11. Ben
    February 11, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Arsenal will finish the season on 3rd place. I feel for the people of Austrialia they should be strong and may GOD be their strenght.

  12. Radads RSA
    February 11, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    And our brand NEW team still got 13 games to play for the ligue.

  13. Gibbs
    February 11, 2009 at 2:32 am #

    @ Radads
    Yep. Born in London, i now live in Berea, Durban.

  14. jay-jay
    February 11, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    I was watching a programme last night on tv. It had Samir Nasri when he was about 12 saying how he would like to be a proffessional footballer like Zidane and play for Marseille. I saw him in a friendly game v Lille and he was good then, he was taking the set peices then too. The main programme was about his friend but he kept popping up all the time. I really enjoyed it and it took a lot for Nasri to leave Marseille, because its in his heart. He loved that club. It was good too see one of our players before he made it big, looking at his dreams and ambitions. He looked no different to now though lol.

  15. MoMONEY
    February 11, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    All you SA guys ill be there in 2010!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2ATb2bejMg

    This is gonna be a long week

  16. Radads RSA
    February 11, 2009 at 4:28 am #

    @ Gibbs, thanks good to know.May be its gonna be a good experience to watch together if Arsenal reaches semi-finals or final and if you happen to be this side at that time or Im somwhere on a trip to Natal.I do have a good friend (partner) in Ashburton,Petermaritzbrg and Hillcrest, as well as in Berea itself.I love Natal, Id love one day to go on a trip from Durbs to Cape-Town by taking coastal road thru East-London, Queenstown and all this area, Its a huge area that I dont really know but seems to ba very interesting according to my friends.
    @MoMONEY, Warm welcome if you wanna come, There’s a lot to discover down here.

  17. Gibbs
    February 11, 2009 at 5:25 am #

    @ Radads
    Meeting up would be nice mate. Dont know about the UCL final, but ill be Joburg for the Confed cup final in June. Maybe we could go out for a drink or two.

  18. Spanish Fry
    February 11, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    All of you Saffers!

  19. Gibbs
    February 11, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    Hey SF, why do you say Scolari’s sacking is rediculous? Arent we suppose to be happy that Chelsea is in turmoil. If their stupidity allows us to creap in for a CL place, then i really dont mind them sacking a world class manager after 6 months.

  20. Spanish Fry
    February 11, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    @ Gibbs – I guess I’m happy that Chelsea are in turmoil but it is ridiculous. Scholari is a good manager with a history of success and he was not given enough time. It’s just another example that clubs cannot work towards the long-term and only value short-term success. Makes me happy to be an Arsenal fan.

    On the flipside, the word that Guus Hiddink may come in is extremely worrying. He is a wonderful coach and should he come in then I wouldn’t write off Chelsea for the title.

  21. Gibbs
    February 11, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    Agreed, Guus Hiddink is a great coach but he has less than 4 months to turn things around, thats a very short time. It will be a difficult job for him.

    BTW, rumour has it that his contract with Chelsea will only last ’till the end of the season. Thats another supid move by Chelsea (if true).

  22. Spanish Fry
    February 11, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    @ Gibbs – It makes sense. Being an Australian I’ve seen first-hand the way that Hiddink can turn things around in a very short time. He seems to specialise in saving the day.

  23. jay-jay
    February 11, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    I hope he (Hiddink) rejects it and they have to bring back Avram Grant. He didnt do a bad job but he ent nothing special 🙂

  24. Kin
    February 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    I really hope Hiddink isn`t hired (though its looking more than likely now!).Just like SF said,the guy gives the impression,he knows what he is about,think of Australia,South Korea,Russia…..and if he does well for them in the 4 mth period,he might be tempted to stay longer!
    Me thinks a Mancini is a safe bet,don`t think he`s anything special! 🙂

  25. Radads RSA
    February 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    @Gibbs,Would be pleased to share a beer or two with you mate.
    Back to the top4 race (might be even the PL tittle race_): What we need is: The least we can go is 10 wins and 3 draw games, we will check later our chances regarding of our line-up of course with all the fixtures but on the other hand, we have to see the possiblity wins, defeat,and draw games that Chelsea and Villa would go thru.Chelsea must loose 1 game or/and draw 1/2 times for us to outrun them, Villa’s side, they have to draw 3 times and/or loose 2 games for us to outrun them.WILL THIS BE POSSIBLE???Well!, We have to make the analysis.
    Sunderland (H)? Yes,Fullham (H)?Yes,WBA(A)?Yes,Blackburn(H)?Yes, CastleUnt(A)? Yes.ManCity (H)?Shud be YES but Draw is pssbl, Wigan(A)?Yes,Liv(A)?Doubt a win but must be a draw.Mddlsbrg(H)? Yes,Prtmoth(A)?Yes (But will b dffclt).Chlsea(H)?YEs,Manu(A)?Draw (Key game),Stoke(H)?Yes.
    All of this is guess but must remember that this football, so anything can happen!!, but to me , the key games here are LIV (A) and Manu (A),So lets see whts gonna happen!!!.All Ive put “Yes”straight, for me are undoubtfully wins, but draw and key games might be also a defeat.
    The time that we can really give a fair judgement will be during Fullham and WBA games, when Walcott and Arshavin are really adapted to each other on a real PL game.For now, I keep myself CONFIDENT.
    SO TO ME, DOESNT MATTER IF HIDDINK or RIJKARD or SOMEBODY ELSE, WILL TAKE CHARGE OF CHELSEA, ANYHOW, THEY WILL LOOSE ONE GAME AND WILL DRAW 1.VILA WILL DFNTLY FACE HARD GAMES FROM NOW SO NO DBT THEY WILL HAVE A FEW DRAW GAMES or MIGHT EVEN LOOSE.Couldnt make the analysis for Villa and chelski co im runnin out of time but if you guys can do it for us to see it together

  26. senderos come home
    February 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    i want senderos back!

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