I must apologise; three and a half days between blog posts is unacceptable.
In my defence, though, things have been insanely busy. I mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago that I just moved into a new, three-bedroom house with a couple of mates and Saturday night was our housewarming. We decided to have a hippie-themed party, mostly because it allowed us to play Hendrix and Zeppelin all night, and it took all of Saturday to set up and all of Sunday (and then some) to clean up. It was a rip-roaring success (see picture for evidence) but it did mean that I had to make sacrifices – and that meant missing out on Arsenal’s win over Bolton and indeed, an inability to blog in the party’s aftermath. Unlike Arseblogger, I’ve not yet mastered the skill of hammering out top-quality blog posts whilst recovering from a hangover.
But now it is Tuesday night in Australia and I’m about as fresh as I’m ever going to be. The only knowledge I have of Arsenal’s weekend came from various Arsenal blogs and the highlights from Arsenal TV. By all reports it was not a great performance, but three points is three points, and if the boys can stay at the top of the table with a game in hand until the clash with Manchester United then I think it will give them all the confidence they need to keep plugging along.
Arsenal news round-up
To catch up on the news very briefly I’ve decided to throw everything into bullet points:
William Gallas has been talking about how much he loves playing for Arsenal at the moment. I think that’s great and I hope he can stay fit for as long as possible because if he and Kolo Toure can get their partnership going it would solidify one of the weaker areas of the Arsenal team.
Speaking about Toure, he has warned the rest of the team against becoming complacent about their great start to the season. It was great to see Toure finally grab a goal from long-range, especially after coming so close against Sunderland, and as per usual he’s spot on with his comments. If Arsenal’s young team can hold it together mentally then I think they stand every chance of coming out on top at the end of May.
Robin van Persie’s knee injury is not as bad as expected, turning out to be medial rather than a cruciate ligament damage, but he’ll still be out for four to six weeks. Going by the Arsenal medical staff’s track record, he’ll probably be out for eight.
Lassana Diarra has spoken of his frustration of not playing much football with Arsenal. On one hand he makes a very good point, but on the other hand it’s not like he didn’t know Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva, Denilson, Abou Diaby and Cesc Fabregas were already at the club. I hope he gets a chance because the general feeling around the football world is that he could be top, top player.
The fixture list has been kind to Arsenal of late and it continues later today with another relatively straightforward clash, this time at home to Slavia Prague in the Champions League. It wasn’t so long ago that Arsene Wenger’s side comfortably took care of Slavia’s city rivals Sparta in the qualifiers and I can see another victory in the bag. Doubters may point to the tough time that Arsenal had against Steaua Bucharest as a more accurate reflection of what Wenger’s side may face but at the end of the day anything less than three points would be a disappointment. Czech journalist Karel Haring has suggested that Slavia will be a much tougher proposition than Sparta was you might find him a little hard to trust because he still believes Emmanuel Eboue is “a really good right back”. I can only wonder what he’ll say when he sees Bacary Sagna play.
There are some rumours emerging about what Wenger might do with the starting lineup against Sparta. A couple of people commented on the last blog post that the manager will playing Theo Walcott up front alongside Adebayor after some smart performances off the bench. Personally I will be hoping that Wenger persists with the Eduardo da Silva-Adebayor combination. While I don’t doubt that Walcott could have an impact up front I just feel that the Eduardo-Adebayor pairing has the potential to click into place very quickly and I feel that this is exactly what is required with big games against Liverpool and Manchester United on the horizon. The general feeling from Saturday’s match was that Eduardo and Adebayor did not work well together but on all the previous occasions that I have seen them play that could not be further from the truth. As I said, hopefully they will start again tomorrow and one or both of them can get on the scoresheet.
Three more points in the Champions League will virtually ensure qualification and allow Wenger to experiment with some other players in the remaining grou games. Baring in mind the lack of opportunities that players like Gilberto Silva, Denilson, Lukasz Fabianski, Justin Hoyte and Nicklas Bendtner are getting this will certainly be a good thing. Just for the record I’m going for a 2-0 win and will be throwing down a fiver on Eduardo to open the scoring.
What do you think?