Preparations for the FA Cup game with Manchester United are underway but there is still a stream of comments coming from the camp about the club’s performance in the weekend win over Blackburn. Philippe Senderos, who scored the opener at the weekend, gets the ball rolling with the admission that Arsenal has been paying a lot more attention to their set-pieces this season.
“Offensively and defensively we have really concentrated on set-pieces. We have scored more goals and we are attacking the ball really well, so hopefully we can score a few more this season.”
It’s been good to watch a number of goals fly in from corners and free-kicks and the fact that they are going in is a pretty obvious sign that the extra focus is paying off. Some supporters – and you can put me amongst them – will probably feel that it’s about time this was the case. I don’t have time to be bitter about it right now though, so let me finish on a more positive note and simply echo Senderos’ final comment in hoping there will be more to come before the end of the season.
The man who has been Arsenal’s dominant force in the air this season has undoubtedly been Emmanuel Adebayor, and he has recently praised the influence of ex-teammate and club captain Thierry Henry in his development as a player. The Togolese striker has been banging them in from all over the place this season and revealed his close friendship with Henry as well as how the Frenchman’s words of encouragement and advice have greatly impacted on his mental strength.
“Thierry to me is like a big brother. He already sent a message to me after the game to congratulate me. He talked to me a lot during the summer when he was leaving, he calls me and we have a lot of chats. I’m trying to listen to the advice and at the moment it’s working so I’m very happy.”
I guess when you’ve danced together the way they’ve dance together AND enjoyed it you’d expect there to be some sort of a friendship, but I have to say I’m still a little surprised at just how close the pair seem to be. Regardless, Henry’s influence seems to be helping Adebayor because there’s no question that his finishing has improved and he is starting to iron out the rough patches in his game. The big man has always had the pace, power and determination to be a good footballer and it’s been a pleasure to watch him develop the parts of his game that were missing this time last season. A few more goals and I think that golden boot is as good as his.
Just finally today is the news that both Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure are back from the African Cup of Nations in Ghana and should be available for Saturday’s epic FA Cup tie away to Manchester United. The manager revealed that both players as well as Tomas Rosicky are a chance of participating in the match given they pass fitness tests, while also commenting on the status of Robin van Persie’s injury.
“Kolo and Eboue came back today [Monday] so we hope to see them tomorrow to see if they’re not injured. Rosicky, he looks better. Van Persie looks better, but he is still a few weeks away. But Rosicky maybe has a little chance for Saturday.”
It’s certainly good news to hear that both Toure and Eboue should be available but it does sound to me like Rosicky will miss out. Assuming that Eboue does pass a fitness test you would expect him to line up on the right and perhaps the Czech midfielder will be made available for the important Champions League clash with AC Milan just a few days later. As for the news on van Persie’s injury, well, I’m not even going to comment. Can you blame me?
I have to say with Manchester United in the FA Cup and Milan in the Champions League on Thursday next week it’s pretty exciting times to be an Arsenal supporter. There will be heaps more previews and news before the two clashes but I’m looking forward to hearing your pre-game thoughts on the matches as the days roll on. Have a good one.
What do you think?
Have your say on set-pieces, Adebayor or the Africans by leaving a comment.