Vermaelen’s absence shouldn’t be felt too much

A bit of a disappointing start today with the news that our appeal to have Thomas Vermaelen’s red card overturned has been denied.

Not sure why this decision was made – any sane individual could see it was not a foul and therefore not a sending off – but I suppose what needs to be considered is that is the FA who is dealing with this. The are neither sane nor and individual and are never likely to get these sort of decisions right.

On the positive side I suppose we can be happy that the challenge was not deemed frivolous and Vermaelen’s ban will stand was not extended beyond the original one game. The decision confirms the fact that Arsene Wenger will have to choose two of Sol Campbell, Mikael Silvestre and Alex Song to start at the back against Birmingham.

I expect it will be Song and Silvestre starting together at the back with Denilson playing the holding role in midfield. The change will give Campbell time to rest for Barcelona where he can play alongside Vermaelen and allow Song to move back to his favoured midfield position.

Personally I don’t think our ability to get three points at Birmingham will come down to our defensive stability, more about getting our attacking game working. If players like Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri fire then I don’t think Vermaelen and Sol’s absence at the back will be felt at all.

The attraction of Barcelona in the Champions has distracted many Arsenal fans from the very real possibility of us topping the league table by the end of next weekend.

We face Birmingham away, followed by Barcelona at home and finish the week with a relatively comfortable home game against Wolves. Meanwhile Manchester United face Bolton away, Bayern Munich in Germany and an epic clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford.

There is nothing more difficult in high-end football than backing up after an away leg in Europe and I fully expect Chelsea to grab at least a point against United, leaving the path clear for us to take top spot, granted we win our two games of course. Watch this space.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Vermaelen’s appeal, Barcelona or the Premier League by leaving a comment.

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32 Responses to “Vermaelen’s absence shouldn’t be felt too much”

  1. king gooner
    March 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    i wouldn’t take brum lightly by any stretch of the imagination-it will be physical with jock mcleish looking to do his old mentor red nose a big favour-nor would i leave denilson to be around by a couple of dirty b’statrds like bowyer & ferguson-song needs to play there or we’re in trouble-also sol man reqd at the back for what will be a physical battle-WE OWE THEM BIG TIME FOR EDDIE!!!

  2. SOBIN THE GOONER
    March 24, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I think we have to play song along with silvestre.And give rest to sol.And play fresh vermi against barca.
    FA SUCKS

  3. Anonymous
    March 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    d english fa r nt in dr right senses anyway bt i xpct we gt 3pts @ d wkend.Bt barca?Am scared 2d teeth.It all lies on fab dt day 2 mk evry tin work.And arshavin shld stop loosin chances so barca wnt punish us 4 it.I pray we qualify…

  4. robert
    March 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    well if i remember correctly birmingham has the smallest amount of yellow cards this season (or close to it) so i don’t expect them to be too physical on us.
    But they are organized and have a good work rate so it might be tricky to open them up.
    On the other side I don’t think they’ll be too motivated, they are safe from relegation and can’t go up too much in the standings.
    I say a 3-1 for us would be achievable.

  5. londongunner
    March 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    it’s fair to say that Arshavin isn’t in the best of form at the moment but while this maybe the case I don’t think we should get on his back for it. Seeing his little red face puffing away breathlessly after 30 seconds of the match may frustrate you, as may his ‘not bothered’ demeanor, but the truth is the little Russian has been an unsung hero for Arsenal this campaign. He may not hit the heights we know he is capable of all the time. But who could? We expect so much from Arshavin, maybe too much but the truth is Andrey is one of the most important players in this Arsenal squad. It’s obvious that he is not playing at the top of his game but he is a player who the opposition fear because he is unpredictable, a massive advantage for Arsenal. I’ve seen people have a pop at the way he acts and his lack of form, some even say that he is selfish and doesn’t care for the good of the team. I disagree. Arshavin played a long time completely out of position, with an injury I might add, for the team. Did he moan? No, he got on with it. Does that sound like a selfish person? I think at the moment we need to get behind everyone of our players. We are on the verge of something truly special this season and the more support, the better. Arshavin needs our backing. He doesn’t need any grief. Yes, he is off-form but he has done a lot for our club since signing last season. The squad, and most of its players, are hitting form at the right time. Andrey Arshavin will turn his form around. Imagine when he does! Remember, form is temporary, class is permanent. Arshavin is pure class and he is an Arsenal player. And I’m glad of that.

  6. Dan
    March 24, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    i think playing BARCA at this stage of the Champions league will give us the opportinity to show that we are the best.

    i know BARCA are good, but going with what people think, that we are just pushovers, i will relish it when we prove all the critics wrong and come out winners from the clash.

    this is a good moment, i believ we have a good squad that can give as much as they receive, and with the motivation the players have at this moment, i echo AW WORDS, IT IS A 50:50, it can go any side.

  7. santos
    March 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I will like us still us sol and song at the back because at this very point in time every single is important to us. let us just focus on our game this saturday and put behind barcelona
    after having the three point then our mind will be set on barcelona for win and thomas will be back for action

  8. George
    March 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    The FA and Refs are bias towards foriegn players in England.This wil nt b d case if it were 2 b Rooney,Lampard,Gerrald or Terry.

  9. voley_gun
    March 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    If Arsenal wants to get through Barca .Then we should score a massive 5-0 in home against them.Else with Messi and Henry it would be impossible for us to take the lead or defend the lead when we score 1-1,1-0,2-1 or 3-2 etc.Somehow arsenal should show Barca that they are facing an unpredictable and dynamic goal scoring club.

    Possible scorers
    ———————-

    Arshavin -2 (clinical finish from the edge of box)
    Vermaelen -1(a long range shot outside the box )
    Fabregas -1 (clean strike from mid range in front of goal)
    Nasri/Walcott/Rosicky/Bendtner -1
    if
    Nasri ( a left footed torpedo)
    Walcott – ( a deadly run and a cool finish)
    Rosicky – (Stylish long range hit)
    Bendtner – (Towering Header)

    See it looks very simple.

  10. Prince Charles
    March 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    U are right in your analysis but lets not under rate Baminghum because they have caused very many surprises this season, am worried about them!!!!! the gunners have to be careful!!!

  11. Arsesession
    March 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Birmingham is a mammoth challenge. I see this as more critical short term than the 1st match v. Barca.

    Silvestre has not played enough to step in and be a band aid and when he has played its been inconsistent – not a replacement for such an important match.

    Why aren’t other’s being suggested to step in at CB to partner with Sol? Traore began his career at this position.
    He’s 6′, stocky, and has pace. Sagna could fill in for this match. Isn’t there someone from the reserves that can give us cover for one match?

  12. arsene_al
    March 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Its a ad time to loss TV, sol is unavailable becos of Barca, we have to use silvest and Song, sagna and eboue on d right to help in the mid area. Denilson, diaby and Cesc, clichy, AA, bendtner and walcot. Nasri shuld be on d bench becos he is d only person dat can play for diaby if he gets a knock.

  13. the gunner
    March 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    This is the season we have been waiting to happen.we worked a lot with patience and quality so it is time to get reward.we will win both premier league and champions league.please plan your celebrations ahead!!!
    the gunnerssssssssssssssssssssss

  14. mandirorg
    March 25, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    We all know that if Wenger wants to buy a player who shows great prospect he is willing to do something special.

    The story on how Wenger beat SAF when he signed Aaron Ramsey right under his nose is well known. Ramsey who had been shown round at United by Neville and who had not seen SAF in person on that occasion than was invited by Wenger. Wenger took Ramsey on the plane to Austria and talked with him in person on how he was seeing the future of Ramsey.

    United who had already mentioned the fact that Ramsey would sign for them as a 100 % sure had to eat their words as Ramsey was so impressed with the personal contact and attention that Wenger gave he decided to go to Arsenal. A great move from Aaron and from Wenger.

    But this was not the first time Wenger used this tactic, for there’s also the story of when he made a personal contact with the Cesc and his family. We can see that our manager really is a man who is not only interested in the player but also tryies to do his best to accommodate the family of the player as well.

    Certainly if you go to another country as Cesc did I think it is very important for the family of the player to know who you are dealing with. Well I, as a father, would take that in a account if I had to make such a decision.

    The story about Vermaelen is another example of how Wenger deals with players he absolutely wants to sign for Arsenal. The negotiations had been going on between Vermaelens’ manager and Arsenal for some time. And then Wenger decided to take his phone and talk direct to Vermaelen when he was on holiday to talk about the way Wenger was looking in to it and the fact that he really wanted Vermaelen to sign for Arsenal. Thomas admitted that to get a phone call from Wenger was really one of the biggest and most important things and played a major part in his decision.

    I really think that the fact that Vermaelen at first hesitated a bit on joining the Arsenal had everything to do with the fact that he could have stayed his whole career at Ajax, where he was already a captain at a young age. His bread was baked over there (as we say in Belgium).

    And maybe he feared a bit the fact that he maybe just wouldn’t be good enough. That old Flemish habit, (a bad habit it seems), of being modest about your own performances. But just the fact that Wenger found Vermaelen so important to give him a personal call was the last push he needed to take on the biggest challenge of his life. And how well did he do.

    So these are three things in which Wenger made a vital and final contribution on bringing in players that really have been great signings or will become in the future (in Aaron’s case).

    But now onto today’s issue.

    One of the hottest prospects in European football is another Belgian player and every transfer period, (well the last one anyway), he has been linked with moves to whatever club you can think of.

    His name is Eden Hazard and he plays for Lille, in France. He was chosen as best young player in last season in France.

    Real Madrid, Liverpool, Barcelona, Milan, and Arsenal all have been named as possible buyers of the biggest hope and prospect of Belgian football. Even this week media reports suggested that Liverpool has asked Lille how much he would cost and the put a price of 22 million euro on his young head.

    Hazard himself has recently signed a new contract with Lille, but this could have been a smokescreen so Lille can be sure they hold the cards when other teams come in to try to buy him away.

    And today the news got in the papers in Belgium that Eden Hazard, who is 19 by the way, has received a phone call from Wenger himself. The press reports don’t mention what was said exactly but they all point out that this looks like the Vermaelen transfer all over again. As with Vermaelen Arsenal has been sending scouts to almost every game he plays for the last season, to training session to see how he lives and to practice games. So yes it looks like Wenger is really interested in him like he did with Vermaelen.

    But Hazard was quoted as having said: “He had signed a contract with Lille but that he was very flattered with the interest in him and it could be a dream come true to play in the EPL at some stage in his career”. He also has said that one his dream teams was Arsenal.

    We will soon know if Wenger has done the trick once again. If he comes it will be another nail biting moment I must confess. When Vermaelen came I hoped and prayed he would be good enough. I would have been afraid to show up in London if Vermaelen would have done it all wrong. Instead Thomas did us fans from over here a big favour. If we now say we are from the same country as Vermaelen we only get extremely good reactions. Hope that if Hazard does come over he can do the same trick like Vermaelen did. And if he comes you will have known why and you have read it here first.

  15. flyin dutchman
    March 25, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    bul#sh@t!!!!,any1 can see that there was no foul expect the foolish fa,fatcats,I don’t why from the referee, fa and players seem to want to break down a club that great advertising for the league.Even though we didn’t win any of the big two,people still had the t.v on,no doubt whenever the liverpool or chelsea play each other they game plan makes the match boring just like the liverpool vs manu last week. I must be out of my mind if I had to select silvestre for the b>city game, he hasn’t convince me one bit that he deserves to play centre back,since putting that arsenal jersey he had been beaten on so occasions,rememba that chelsea fa cup semifinal I think last year drogba ran him out to score that last minute goal to win and many more, song would be my obvious choice, but no one can play that defense role like song hell- no not denilson hot and cold performances are not gud enough when playing for a top club okay!! denilson fans.

  16. flyin dutchman
    March 25, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    what da hell is keeping gallas from playing this week that calf should heal by now, at least rvp should be in training this week, after been in holland for long.

  17. Rian Joubert
    March 25, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    I agree. Birmingham is not gonna be easy. But having a refreshed Vermaelen is good for the Barca game. We were gonna face Barca anyway so I don’t mind facing them now. We really need a cup this season. I am sick of my ManU, Liverpool and Chelsea friends throwing ugly facts in my face. I want the people who wrote us off at the beginning of the season to eat their words.

  18. dave m
    March 25, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    What’s with Arshavin????

    Andrey Arshavin believes Arsenal needs to buy “three or four real stars” before they can realistically challenge for trophies despite the club’s lofty position on the Premier League table.

    Whilst most pundits would agree that Arsenal lack the depth of a Manchester United or Chelsea, the outspoken Russian’s comments seem to come at a strange time given Arsenal are just two points behind league leaders United and still in contention for the Champions League.

    Arshavin said he has thought Arsenal have been understocked since selling Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor in the summer and only bringing in Thomas Vermaelen to replace them. That transfer activity, combined with injuries to Robin van Persie, Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey, will make it “difficult to achieve success” this season.

    Arshavin also claimed that the youngsters rolling off Arsene Wenger’s production line must possess stronger mentalities to go with their technical ability.

    “I am still of the opinion that to win trophies Arsenal needs more players,” Arshavin is quoted as saying in the Sun. “There is the simple fact that last summer we sold two players and bought only one. So there is an obvious deficit of at least one. Then we lost Van Persie, Gibbs and Ramsey for a long time. So for me it is natural we need new players.

    “Without the variety of players we have less diversity in attack. That allows our opponents to read our combinations more easily. Finally, it results in less ball possession for us and our defence comes under more pressure.

    “The Premier League is very interesting, at least as long as we continue fighting to win it. But without new experienced players, real stars, it will be difficult to achieve success. Ideally we need three or four such experienced players and then among our youths there should be guys who are not only good at playing football but have real character.”

  19. Shane
    March 25, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I think that the biggest issue for Arsenal will be the physical aspect of the game. And truth be told there are two players who i do not feel can stand up to that. Denilson stands tall as the greater, and Walcott, despite many improved performances has also entered the list. Yet i think the birmingham will try and kick us. This is the time where we will miss the experienced head of Sol, and also Gallas. Unfortunate for Gallas is his inability to play against Barca. I think sol however will be a very able player in doing so.

    I think Arsenals assault really needs to come out and attack. As Birminghanm have had a rather good record this seasn, deservedly resulting in their high position on the table, dreaming of European football. Yet we are going to need a physical team. I really wish that we had another defender in place of Sylvestre.

    Diaby is a deserved starter ahead of Denilson for the holding midfield role. Denilson in defene, while he may be applying pressure, does not apply the pressure which turns into marks on the score board. Diaby can rough house at least with his size, and is a pressence.

    I expect to see Cesc drop back a lot more, with a lot more pressure coming from the flanks. bendtner as a pressence up front will be vital to hold up the ball and bring other players into the attack.

    i think the flanks are going to be important. It would be fair to say we are spoilt for choice there. Walcott, Arshavin, Nasri, Eduardo, Rosicky

  20. Vijay
    March 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I just HOPE the game against Barca does not turn out to be an anticlimax just as the united or the chelsea game.

  21. censored
    March 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    I think TV5 being out of the birmingham is a blessing in disguise. Being out of the game will give him time to recover for the Barca match.
    If last season taught us anything it is that we shouldnt underestimate our oppenents. I think Silvestre will play with Song at centre back. As long as we put the game to bed, we should do okay. Birmingham tend to start games badly (2 condeced to Everton, 2 conceded to Sunderland).
    The reason why theres been a jibe at Arshavin is not fully due to his poor form. Its also due to ugly football. Ever since we lost to Chelsea 2-0, we won 1-0 against Liverpool. That game was about getting the result rather than winning pretty. How often have we played pretty football except the Porto game? Wenger’s tactics in the league recently have been about getting the result rather than winning big. He doesnt want to over-commit forward. Every time we are about to make cross, there’s rarely more than 3 players in the box. With the diminished support to our forwards, we cant blame them completely for their supposed bad form.
    However, even before our ugly tactics started, our midfielders have contributed much more goals than the forwards. So somehow there must be a compromise between playing ugly and giving more support to the forwards.
    About the Barca tie, well, put it simple, its gonna be a great match. But the biggest obstacle to beating te European champions is not Messi or Ibrahimovich, its our minds. We have to approach the game with a winning mentality and forget about wat happened in 2006. Getting a positive result at e Emirates is aboslutely important. If we win without reply, we stand a chance. 84% of teams that go into the 2nd leg with a lead go through.
    C’mon you gunners!

  22. londongunner
    March 25, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    This Arshavin interview is a month old and was originally done by a St Petersburg radio station,just old news the media are blowing all out of proportion.

  23. shambogunner
    March 25, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    birmingham will be a stern test this weekend….i dont agree with statements suggesting they will bring the physical stuff again,frankly im tired of hearing fellow fans whining about it…..we are in danger of becoming moaners and hypocrites,birmingham hav the fewest bookings this season while at one time under le boss we had the worst disciplinary record going for 3 or 4 seasons,just because we now only hav 3 or 4 guys that will only make a tackle (song,verm,gallas,sol), doesnt entitle us to label other teams we feel are inferior as ‘kickers’ or ‘over physical’,i mean some of you are sayin these thing before the game has occured….fair enough if the do kick our guys off the field then hav a go but your just sounding like self- righteous whinging little girls,remember birmingham,and other, fans follow their team as much as we do and it must be patheticto hear a wealthy top four club label them after they successfully negotiated their premier league status on much lesser resources,they shud be commended not taken for granted……i guess what im tryin to say is lets not become like man utd and chelsea supporters, penciling in predicted 3pts before wev played the games and expecting to roll over teams and be let dictate and play our game,if we werent blessed with such gifted attackers you cud be sure if barca,utd,real or chels came to town we too wud play 11 men behind the ball and celebrate a draw like a victory….try to keep an open mind
    just to mention aswel those players i listed as tacklers in our team above,song,verm,sol and gallas hav all amassed their fair share of cards this season,just something to keep in mind
    that said i expect us to continue our good form,birmingham hav been on the slide of late and our form is the complete opposite,its a team that needs to win versus a team who are safe and playin out their season….will still be tough tho,as will wolves who won 3-0 away to west ham last night and in kevin doyle and jarvis hav quick commited players…wont be easy at all

  24. londongunner
    March 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Arsenal Football Club have refused to confirm reports that there is absolutely no one amongst the Internazionale Milano’s ageing squad who is of the slightest interest to Arsenal as a potential summer signing. Although it is alleged that one of our junior coaching staff might have said that Wesley Sneijder would fit quite well in our reserve squad. At this point in the season it is normal for some of Europe’s leading clubs to start flexing their anal muscles prior to the opening of the summer transfer window. Although Inter’s attempt to ruffle Arsenal’s feathers with the ‘Cesc to Inter’ crap has been regarded as totally farcical even amongst Britain’s more pathetically gullible football punditry.

    According to a celestial source the usual Italian bullsh*t about Cesc Fabregas being a seriously potential summer acquisition for the one time Italian giants seemingly had Arsene Wenger rolling around the floor laughing hysterically. Its a well known fact that the majority of Serie ‘A’ clubs do not have ‘a pot to p*ss in’ never mind the ability to stump up for one of the world’s leading players. A source none to close to Arsenal Football Club said that they’d like to thank whoever was responsible at Inter for giving all the coaching staff and directors a good laugh.

    Inter however wish it to be known that they are still pretending to have serious intentions with regard to acquiring the services of Cesc Fabregas. The fact that they can’t afford him or any other of the world’s top players is of no account. The fact that Mourioho is soon to walk out on them is of no account. Naturally the fact that they just might be meeting Arsenal soon in the European Champions League semi final has nothing whatsoever to do with this spurious news story. I for one have no doubts whatsoever that Inter will also be purchasing Messi, Essien, Ronaldo and Bobby Zamora to play alongside Fabregas. Not.

  25. senior citizen
    March 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    But what happened to Gallas as you had said sometime back that he was only out on calf issues? I completely don’t believe in Silvester. At this time one fails to know why Senderos who was better left and not the French man.
    I would suggest we concetrate so much in the Premier league…..

  26. peter stoery
    March 26, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    Give yourself a 10 if you strongly agree, a zero if you strongly disagree or any integer in between.

    1. I would not replace RvP with Torres, Drogba or Rooney

    2. I would not replace Cesc with Gerrard or Lampard

    3. I would not replace Song with Essien

    4. I would not replace Almunia with Cech, Reina or van der Sar

    5. I would not replace Clichy with Cole or Evra

    6. I would not replace Gallas or Vermaelen with Terry, Alex, Ferdinand or Vidic

    7. I think that both Eboue and Sagna are better than any other RB in the EPL

    8. I would not invite two of Fletcher, Anderson, Deco, Ballack, or Lucas to replace two of our group of Diaby, Denilson and Ramsey (and Nasri & Rosicky)

    9. I would not invite two of Rodriguez, Kuyt, Benayoun, Nani, Valencia, Cole, Malouda to replace two of our group of Walcott, Arshavin, Nasri and Rosicky (and Eboue & Bendtner)

    .

    Some of the questions are not so easy. I think that Essien is better than Song, but not enough better to go through the disruption of the exchange. And can Essien fit in (twice) to the one touch football that opened up WH Porno and almost put Cesc in on goal.

    I score 90, but anything over 60 would indicate that you are very pleased with our team.

  27. Avik
    March 26, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    I don’t disagree with points 5 and 7. Point 4 is a hilarious joke.

  28. Shane
    March 26, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    In the game of Cameroon vs Ghana, Song bullied Essien. The only thing that i would prefer of Essien would be his finishing shot. Song has far better distribution. I would also replace Almunia with Cech. I think him and VDS are on Par due to VDS decaying age.

    I would not change our squad. Eboue is the worlds best sub. And is putting in the performance of a lifetime. Sagna is Mr Reliable, Theo is coming into his own and Clichy is back to his best, and will hopefully exceed what he once was.

  29. dave m
    March 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    I’m just pleased that our last six games are:

    WWWWWW

    It’s a great feeling coming up to Barca

  30. MoMONEY
    March 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Looks like it will be Song + Campbell vs Birmingham and Song + Vermaelen vs Barca. Cant say I disagree with it either. We must grind out the win vs Birmingham and Campbell gives us the best chance.

  31. JERRY PETER
    March 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Arsenal fears no one. Arsenal are really going to prove it that though we have young boys, but football is not all about young boys but all about what one can play at a particular time.
    I stronly beleive that Arsenal are going to prove it to Barca on 31st 8:45 Up gunners, real gunners, for live.

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