Archive for November 19th, 2008


Arsenal’s Quad Hopes Shouldered?


I woke up this morning intending to be chirpily optimistic (you can’t spell optimistic without TIM!) about the Arsenal season. I was going to mention that irregardless (yes, irregardless is a word) of the form against Aston Villa, Fulham, Sunderland, Tottenham, Hull, and Stoke, Arsenal have a tremendous amount of talent both on and off the pitch. So much talent that even 4 losses in the league could, possibly be overcome and the team could still win the Premiership. It looks unlikely, given the lack of a holding midfield, the lack of a strong defensive pairing, an obviously toothless attack, our star player showing his worst form ever, and the team lacking any leadership or drive; unlikely but not un-possible. After I reminded my loyal reader that Arsenal are still mathematically capable of winning 4 trophies this season I was then I was going to get all hopeful about all the Arsenal players coming home safe and happy and refreshed after resting on the bench/scoring 100 hat-tricks. Hey, if great footballing minds like Rafa Benitez and John Terry are still afraid of Arsenal, who am I — some two-bit blogger — to question them? ARSENAL FOR THE QUAD!

Unfortunately, fate loves the optimistic, because those are the folks who are most injured when she takes a giant dump on them.


In the interest of full disclosure: I already hate the internationals. Why would I care? I’m an American who loves a French team that plays for a club in North London. Yes yes, when the World Cup comes on TV, I watch it, I love football after all, but world cup football is not my raison d’être, Arsenal football is. So, as I said yesterday, International friendlies are at best a distraction and at worse an injury-induced turning point in a season. Thus, it is with great displeasure that I can announce Theo Walcott has been injured… in training… for a pointless friendly… and could be out for 10 weeks! (see the link above)

Deep breath — Let’s try to look on the bright side for a second, ok?

First, Theo has been in poor form and needed a rest. He had a patch there in October where he looked absolutely brilliant and has since been struggling a bit. His crosses have looked very poor and even his trademark speed and ability to break down defenses with his dribbling has suffered lately. So, 10 weeks off should see him come back fresh just in time for the title challenge, right?

Second, Arsene Wenger should make the FA pay Theo’s salary. Not because they need the money, but just to make a point. I don’t care if they have to take it to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and it costs them more than they get in return, they should sue the FA. What on earth were they thinking scheduling an absolutely pointless friendly in the middle of one of the busiest times of the season?

Third, in Theo’s absence, Arsene will have to make some adjustments. I heard “Eboue” bandied about and I’m not sure who this person is. Does Arsenal have someone named “Eboue” on the team? I vaguely recall some nightmarish player named something similar but I can’t quite put my finger on it… no. Arsene has lots of options over there on the right: Vela could do it, Jack Wilshere plays there in the Carling Cup matches, Diaby can do it, Nasri is a naturally right footed player and he could do it, and Wenger has even used van Persie as a left wing on occasion which frees up Nasri to play on the right. Noboue! Bring on one of the young guns! Let’s see Wilshere out there! I know we don’t want to bring him along too soon and over-play him and all that but hey, needs must is the devil’s playground, or something, right?

Fourth, isn’t Eduardo almost back? He’s played in the wing positions as well, not to great acclaim but hell, he’s better than playing “Eboue” or whatever his name is.

Ok, now see, that’s not so bad, is it? Theo is out 10 weeks but it just means more opportunity for this burgeoning young team to show their stuff. 10 weeks to rest Theo and bring him on for the big push at the end of the season.

10 weeks to turn this frown up side down.

What the hell else are we going to do, get all emo like Tottenham supporters?


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November 2008