Arsenal’s injury problems seem to be diminishing as the club prepares for the important Premiership clash with Sunderland this weekend.
Manager Arsene Wenger revealed today that a number of his side’s key players are now injury-free and ready to return to training. Wenger commented that Jens Lehmann, William Gallas, Tomas Rosicky and Alexandre Song have all recovered from their injuries and will resume full training this week. However, all four players along with Eduardo da Silva, who is still suffering with an ankle problem, will be unavailable for the match with Roy Keane’s Sunderland.
The news means that Manuel Almunia and Philippe Senderos are set to keep their spots for another week, but it will be interesting to see whether they are displaced for the likes of Lehmann and Gallas when they latter two become match fit. Personally, I will be hoping and expecting that Gallas returns to the side in place of Senderos, despite the Swiss defender’s good performance against Steaua Bucharest midweek. A couple of readers of the blog commented yesterday that they believed Gallas does not have the right to walk back into the side. Whilst I would agree with this if Senderos was playing consistently well the fact is that he isn’t, and the presence of Gallas is only going to improve the Arsenal defence.
However, the same can not be said of Lehmann. Wenger has continuously reported that the big German has suffered from elbow problems, but the truth is that he was dropped because of poor mistakes against Fulham and Blackburn early on in the season. When you consider that Almunia has only conceded two goals during his time between the sticks and remember that the German also made some really inappropriate comments about him a few weeks ago, I think it would be a total injustice to see the Spaniard displaced. Nevertheless, it’s Wenger’s decision and he really could go either way.
The great rotation debate
Robin van Persie spoke yesterday about the great ability of the current Arsenal side, and he followed things up today with some interesting comments about team rotation. Van Persie revealed that he is a fan of the way that Wenger refrains from rotating the squad too often because it gives the players an opportunity to build an understanding on the pitch that would otherwise be impossible.
“I like the fact that we play together week in, week out. Some teams switch – for example Liverpool – that is OK if they choose that. But when Cesc gets the ball I know what he is thinking about. When Ade gets the ball I know what I can do for him. Everybody knows their part.”
It’s certainly OK for Arsenal when Liverpool are dropping points in the Premiership, as they are at the moment. It’s also OK with me if they are losing games – like the one against Marseille – where I have $5 on their opponents at very, very long odds. On a more serious note though, I feel that rotation is a bit of cop-out and something that manager’s should avoid at all costs. It’s alright to give a player a rest if he needs it but to rotate players week in, week out simply to keep everyone fresh and give everyone a go is not the way to go. For a team to be successful you need to have players who know each other’s games inside-out and this is obviously something that van Persie believes Arsenal has, which is great. I just can’t see this happening anytime soon at Liverpool. However, if Rafa Benitez wants to continue rotating his side then I’m quite alright with it because it’s one less title challenger that Arsenal have to worry about.
Pretty boy Ronaldo
While I’m in the mood of criticising opposing teams – quite objectively, I might add – it’s probably worth mentioning a recent comment from Cristiano Ronaldo that many of you will no doubt enjoy/be infuriated by. Speaking with interviewers after Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Roma, Ronaldo was asked about a cut he sustained above his eye and came back with this response:
“It’s not a problem. In four or five days I will be beautiful once again.”
Oh. My. God. Get over yourself. This is exactly the type of comment that will always make me lean to the side of “diving pretty boy” as opposed to “dribbling genius” when it comes to my opinion of Cristiano Ronaldo. I really do despise the guy, despite his obvious abilities on a football pitch and when I read stuff like this I’m thankful that noone like that is running around in the Arsenal team week in, week out. Granted, there used to be, but thankfully he’s now long gone.
Just before I go I want to give you another reminder about the Arsenal FC Blog eMagazine competition that I have running at the moment. You can read all the details here. There’s only three more days until the eMagazine gets launched and I’m only keeping the competition open for another day or two, so be quick if you want to score a free shirt.
What do you think?
Have your say about the rotation policy or Cristiano Ronaldo by leaving a comment.