Usually when Arsenal play on a Sunday it totally throws out my blogging schedule. I like to do my match previews on a Friday regardless of when the game is played but when it is on a Sunday Arsene Wenger has a tendency to withhold useful player information or injury updates until Saturday. It then means I have to write up a pre-preview followed by a dodgy second preview where I conjure up some tosh that nobody really wants to read.
There’s no such nonsense today though with the manager essentially naming his squad for the game against Blackburn. Theo Walcott will return as will car crash victim Nicklas Bendtner, while Eduardo has been ruled out with injury. A few people on the blog had been posing the very valid question, “Why hasn’t Eduardo been playing more recently?” with the mystery being solved by Wenger’s admission that the Croatian has been playing with a slight thigh problem that was aggravated against Olympiacos.
I have to say – as much as I can be a day after Wenger’s 13th anniversary with the club – I’m a little peeved with the Frenchman. He admitted in today’s press conference that “it was a gamble to play him [against Olympiacos] and unfortunately his muscle injury got worse” and it does beg the question why, in a fairly meaningless Champions League group game that we were never going to lose, he was risked. Sure he came on and assisted the goal but there was every chance that we might get one without Eduardo’s introduction and I honestly feel it was a poor bit of man-management by Wenger. Luckily I’m too happy today to dwell on that issue for too long so I’ll move on.
The ins and outs leaves us with another very strong squad and regardless of what combination of players the manager puts out I fancy us to win and win well at The Emirates. Vito Mannone will continue in goals behind what should be our strongest back four while I feel the manager may shuffle his pack slightly higher up the pitch. I’ve been saying for a few games now that Cesc Fabregas could do with a rest and after a superb performance against Olympiacos this might be the game for it. Aaron Ramsey or Tomas Rosicky could slot in while we could see Nicklas Bendtner on from the start or even Emmanuel Eboue higher up the pitch. The attacking options are almost endless and I will be intrigued to see who does get the nod from Wenger.
In other news today old boy Thierry Henry has given his own tribute to Arsene Wenger – stating that “he’s the type of guy that makes you realise that you can do anything you want” as well as admitting that he would love to come back to the Arsenal Football Club in some regard after he retires. They are wonderful words from an absolute legend and there’s not much else I need to add really.
Before I go today I just want to throw out a quick happy birthday message to my mate John at work. A fellow Gooner and the only one at my work, by some fluke of coincidence John happens to sit next to me and he’ll be celebrating his birthday on the day of the Blackburn game. Happy birthday John and hopefully the boys can do the business for you on Sunday.
Right, I’m off to sample some art and have a couple of wines. Cheerio!
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