Hey there. As I write to you it’s Friday afternoon down in Australia and that means one thing – the weekend. It’s been a long week and I’m going to enjoy a few long drinks before work pops around again on Monday.
There’s a few bits and pieces to get through before I get onto a preview for the Fulham game. First up is a little bit of a comment on what people had to say about the signing of Mikael Silvestre yesterday. Reader opinions ranged from “he’s injury-ridden, over the hill and a waste of time” to “he’s the new Messiah”. However, the point I was trying to put across in yesterday’s post is that I feel the Frenchmam falls somewhere in the middle.
Past his best he might be, the saviour of the Arsenal Football Club he surely is not – but Silvestre will provide vital experience and competition to perhaps the weakest department of this squad. Willam Gallas and Kolo Toure have always struggled to click, Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos are not quite ready while Alex Song continues to be referred to as a midfielder by the manager. As such, 31-year-old Silvestre might give that extra bit of stability to the defence that this side needs.
One player who has been immediately effected by the signing of Silvestre is Armand Traore. Indeed, the 19-year-old Frenchman has been loaned out to Portsmouth for the remainder of the season. Given that Silvestre has great experience playing at left-back during his career and Traore is nowhere near the finished product I feel this is a very good move. He should challenge for a starting spot at Portsmouth and it will be good for him to get some serious playing time under his belt.
Importantly, it looks like the signing of Silvestre and the loan of Traore will not be the last transfer activity that Arsenal are involved in before the window shuts. Indeed, the manager has again hinted – heck, I’d say intimated – that he is just about ready to make his final signing of the summer.
“I can surprise you sometimes, as I got one in whom you did not expect, and there still might be one more player coming in. You know the position, but I cannot tell you much more. I do not want to give you any names.”
The smart money is on Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler, who the manager watched while in action for the Swiss national side midweek. My fun money is on Stephen Appiah – but that’s simply because I’m stubborn and don’t want to admit that my idea might not be wrong – heh heh. There’s also the chance that Xabi Alonso or even Gareth Barry might sign but if I was a betting man – which I am – I’d surely be leaning towards Inler. And I am.
Regardless of who it is that signs – they won’t be much good away to Fulham on Saturday. But one man who might serve a purpose is Alex Song, who returned to the squad this week after Cameroon were knocked out of the Olympic Football Tournament. There is a small chance that Song may go straight into the starting line-up alongside Denilson in the centre of the park, while new signing Silvestre looks like he may miss out with a muscle injury.
Personally I’m hoping Wenger goes with the same side that beat West Bromwich Albion last weekend, given that Samir Nasri has recovered from his midweek tweak. Johan Djourou may have played a full 90 minutes for Switzerland during the week but in my eyes he deserves to keep his spot while I feel an injury-prone Robin van Persie should start on the bench after he played for Holland this week. I think it’s important that Wenger continues to ease the Dutchman back into action and two games in four days is not the best way to ensure that happens.
In all honesty this looks a straightforward three points for Arsenal to pick up. Fulham were extremely flat against Hull last weekend although they’ll be at home this time around an Arsenal side consisting of the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott and Nasri should be too good. I’ll certainly be counting my chickens.
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Additionally I want to remind you all that if you’re a reader from the UK you’re eligible to claim a free £10 credit on Pikum just for reading this blog. All the details here. This week’s Pikum look’s at the Arsenal v Fulham clash and you have to pick the winner, the margin and the exact score for each team. The closest pick will win the pot. Remember also that if you’re an international reader you can still bet fun money as well. Click here to get involved.
That’s all folks! Have a lovely weekend and I’ll speak to you on Monday! Up the Arse!
Have your say on Silvestre, Traore, the mystery midfielder or Arsenal v Fulham by leaving a comment.