November 18, 2011
You see the weird thing is that I consider myself a reasonably well-adjusted person.
Yeah, there’s the whole Arsenal thing, but generally I like to think that’s under control. I get my blog written before work every day then the only major problems are when a match happens to fall at the same time as a friend or family member’s birthday or anniversary, at which point I have to explain to said friend or family member the reasons that their birthday or anniversary is less important to me than a Carling Cup match against West Brom which unsurprisingly is not taken well by said friend or family member and at least six months of awkwardness ensues.
But other than that I manage to lead a fairly balanced life. I work, I socialise, I exercise, I have a healthy interest in various forms of popular culture. But then every so often something happens to have me questioning just how balanced I am.
Yesterday the official site announced that Thierry Henry was back at the club, training with the first team to keep his fitness up during the MLS off-season. I reacted not dissimilarly to a teenage girl who’s just discovered that Bieber is coming over for tea. Tools were downed to allow me the opportunity to view the picture special not to mention the exclusive free video. Bear in mind, he’s not even kicking a ball in that video, just jogging about in the latest training top. But frankly that was enough for me.
My girlfriend came in looking slightly concerned, clearly mistaking my girlish excitement for some sort of heart episode:
‘What’s going on?’
‘No. Just to train.’
She shook her head and walked out again, no doubt counting to ten in her head and wondering why a 34 year old heterosexual man should be so overcome by the fact that another 34 year old man has chosen Arsenal as the place he wants to spend his holiday. I wish I had an answer for her.
He may not quite have the pace to terrorise Premier League defences anymore but I imagine Arsene might be wondering if he could do a job at full-back as it appears we’re not far from a full on crisis now in those positions. Arsene’s pre-match interview yesterday revealed that we lost Gibbs and Jenkinson over the international break, and neither of them even played.
Gibbs’ abdominal strain turned out to have been caused by a hernia and he had it operated on yesterday. He’ll be out for four or five weeks apparently and I can’t be the only one wondering why that took so long to diagnose. Obviously I know very little about physiotherapy but the fact that a stomach muscle strain had dragged on for so long must have had alarm bells ringing before now.
Jenkinson meanwhile has suffered a stress fracture in his back and has to rest. There’s no information as to when he might return and with Sagna of course out for a while yet that gives us a real problem at right back. Presumably we’ll be seeing either Djourou back in there or more likely Koscielny who used to play the position earlier in his career. It seems a shame to shift him when he’s been doing so well at centre-back but at least we still have Per and TV to do a job in there. The real problems will come if we get hit by any more injuries at the back. Santos is our only recognised full-back now. Again, someone like Vermaelen could fill in there but then we’re looking at the likes of Djourou and Squillaci to come back in to the side. Less than ideal when we have a fully loaded winter calendar on the way.
Injuries are almost inevitable at this time of year and the boss has been speaking about the importance of rotating the squad now:
I will certainly rotate more because we have to face so many games. I think it was last year at Sunderland that we changed 10 players because we played three days later at Manchester City. Everybody asked me why I did it but you have to rotate at some stage and that is why we have a big squad.
You do have to rotate but hopefully this time we change one or two from game to game rather than ten all in one go. I’m not sure he’s right about Sunderland. The one that sticks in my head from last season is the away game to Wigan which we went into on the back of that brilliant home win against Chelsea. We had a real chance to gather some momentum and instead we played a reserve side and drew 2-2. I was more furious than I can ever remember at a team selection. Regardless of the quality of the players, how can you expect eleven men who’ve never played together before to suddenly have enough understanding to win a Premier League game?
In amongst the injury gloom there was some positive news yesterday with Jack Wilshere tweeting that he’s off his crutches:
First day without crutches in a while! Feels so good!
Another big step on the road to recuperation.
That’s it for today. There’ll be a fuller preview tomorrow morning. In the meantime I’m looking for some reassurance in the comments. Tell me I wasn’t the only one to interrupt their day to watch a man jog around a training pitch and chat to Johann Djourou.
If You Liked This...
- Theo given chance to shine as returning full backs make this team tick
- RVP subconsciously sabotaging Dutch hopes for the good of Arsenal Football Club…maybe
- Arsene slams door on centre-back move + ‘Fireworks at the Emirates or a Bonfire Nightmare?’ Oh shut up, Gary Lineker
- Arsenal 0 – 1 Man City: Even Wenger looks tired of Chamakh
- Koscielny hopes + Koln bosses need to pull it right off like a Band-Aid