Working late does have its own benefits. Well, for me, it has given me some time out to blog, on what has been a really really hectic day. Now that the day is almost over, I have finally got some time to post today, from the office, even though it is kind of against the rules. And, anyways, there’s been quite a lot happening right now, in the world of Arsenal.
Nothing more exciting than the return of Jack Wilshere to training. The midfielder, who has been out for the best part of over a year, finally had a training session with the first team, and according to some estimates, should be ideally around 10 days from regaining his fitness, and an additional 5 days away from returning to the first team squad.
I really cannot remember a time, atleast in recent memory when we had most of our players fit and available for selection. No, really, I can’t. The very bonus that we have Rosicky, Wilshere and Frimpong all regaining fitness, and they will add to an existing array of Cazorla, Ramsey, Diaby, Arteta, Coquelin et al is pretty pleasing and reassuring.
Mikel Arteta seems pretty pleased with Wilshere’s return, but I am sure he won’t when the young Englishman is pushing him for a spot in the first team.
It’s going to be a big boost for everyone, starting with us players because he’s going to raise the quality in training.The fans have been waiting a long time. We get Jack’s enthusiasm in training. I know what it’s like to be out for a long time and you can see how excited Jack is about being back in training and about showing how good a player he is.He’s going to bring something to the squad and more quality to the team. That can only be good for everyone.
Another player returning to training is Emmanuel Frimpong, who had Frimponged himself, when on loan with Wolves earlier this year. He is expected to return to full fitness earlier than Wilshere. This means that this is the first time in years that the medical team at Arsenal could go on a vacation. Oh well, let’s not jinx it.
Arsene Wenger certainly seems pleased with the number of options he will be having at his disposal.
We need to manage him (Jack Wilshere)well,He needs a few games in the reserves. He had ups and downs. He was focused, especially in the last three months. We have to be a bit cautious.When you’re so young and you’re out for 14 months, it’s a good test for your mental strength.I always thought he would come back. I believe what he’s gone through will make him even stronger.
He’s (Emmanuel Frimpong) a bit in front of Jack on match fitness. He could play tonight for reserves. He has worked a very, very long time and he is ready.
Moving over to some Teutonic themed news, and there’s plenty. Well, first of all Arsenal legend (I think it’s pretty safe to say that) Jens Lehmann has been vocal in his praise of Arsenal’s new German duo of Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker.
Now with Podolski and Mertesacker they have two German players who are very experienced because of their caps in the national team of Germany, I think they’re near 100, both of them are near 100 and still at a young age.They are expecting of course to see them performing three times a week on a high level, so far my impression is that everybody’s quite happy with them, but everybody knows that they still have to improve, to adapt to the English football and to adapt to the pace of the game there.Lukas and Per are both mentally strong and they have definitely got the potential to perform and to improve their game.
The German also was pretty optimistic about the Gunner’s trophy chances this season.
I’m quite optimistic about the current season and hope of course that Arsenal will win something,All right, there are some teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea, who come into the game with big money in the bag, and only one of them can win the trophy.That shows you that you have to be better at little details in knowledge, wisdom and approach of your team and of your set-up.Arsenal always had a great approach, they always made it into the top four with probably the smallest budget of all the big teams now, and so why should it not happen this year that all of a sudden, when nobody expects them to win something, all of a sudden they go on to win something.
Who are we, mere mortals, to argue with thy views, Sir Jens? He also did have the choicest of words for Lord Robin van Persie.
When you see a player wants to leave for money reasons and probably because he thinks that somewhere else it is easier to win, you have to let him go,Particularly when he has only one year on his contract and when he played the first season without an injury in eight or nine years.
One legend, who clearly isn’t happy about the sale of van Persie, is Tony Adams.
Robin didn’t want to sign on the terms offered and he had fallen out with the manager, what can you do at that point?Arsenal sold Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy the year before to Manchester City and it sends out all the wrong messages for me, being a selling club.You are talking to the wrong man because I very much see Arsenal as the biggest club in the world. So I can’t understand why anybody would want to play anywhere else. But I can understand it was very different for me. I had people in the boardroom who were very ambitious and wanted to win like me. That’s easy then. Your contract goes in front of you and you sign it because you are all pulling in the same direction. Robin wants to win and he thinks that he can win things with Manchester United and he can’t with Arsenal. That’s hard to take.
While most will share the view of Adams, there are many who don’t, and I am certainly one of them. The reason is quite simple. The very fact that we were over reliant on one man to deliver the goods, was pretty detrimental to us. Now, with more than one forward who can score goals, it helps us diversify in attack as well as exercise our options. Moreover, it doesn’t do us, or the player any good, when he has already reiterated a desire to leave.
Adams also spoke worryingly about the defence, which, surprisingly has been the best defence in the league, at the moment. The Doctor of Defence, himself, who was one half of a formidable central defensive pairing with Steve Bould, presently assistant manager at the club, had this to say.
They don’t defend as a team now,The problem for me in the last seven years is the defensive vulnerabilities as a team — the goalkeeper, the back four, even the central midfield players, the mentality of the team. I don’t think they are a team that are set up to do what Chelsea did last year in the Champions League and I don’t think Arsene wants to.I don’t want to put these current players down because they are fantastic. But we used to train constantly with [manager] George [Graham]. We worked at it. We went out there and did it every minute, morning and afternoon. It used to drive us insane but on a Saturday you would know it inside out.
Year in, year out the team with the best defence win the league and we saw the team with the best defence win the Champions League, so it makes you wonder why a lot of teams aren’t focusing more on defending.It’s a European thing. I have said it to Arsene — ‘your full-backs are playing like wingers’. Teams were exploiting it at the Emirates and it was a massive flaw. Arsene would say, ‘I know’. I think he recognises that’s a problem. Whether he does anything about it . . .
Finding the balance has been a bit of a problem for Arsenal over the years, but the signs are there that the team is willing to work and fight like a real defensive unit, without sacrificing much offensively. Mikel Arteta, has been very disciplined and professional in his duties as a defensive midfielder. His work rate, by filling in at full backs, when Gibbs and Jenkinson bomb forward, has been a noticeable feature of Arsenal’s games so far.
Also, to see Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well, helping out the defenders behind them really has helped out the defence massively. Add to that the experience and the intelligence of Per Mertesacker, and the steel, and killer instinct of Thomas Vermaelen. The defence finally seems to be ticking. And we still have Laurent Koscielny, who I feel, is our best defender, in balance.
LFG, or Lu-lu-lu Lukas Podolski, is remaining calm about the side’s title credentials. The German has had a great start to life in North London, having scored thrice, and being key to Arsenal’s overall play, offensively as well as defensively.
When I came on the first day to the club everyone made it easy for me. Not only the team around the team, the coaches, the physios, the president and all the staff make it easy for me. I feel happy at Arsenal. It is good for me.The team and Arsene Wenger make it easy on the pitch. Last week we played very well. This is the style of football that I like – we play with one or two touches.We play straight to the front and this is the style that I like.We have only played four or five matches and we are not ready to speak about the title or the Champions League.We must carry on playing like the last few matches and we must keep on fighting.When you are playing up front you want to score goals and like to score goals. when you score goals you are very happy for yourself and for the team.I don’t know about targets – we will see. We have only played four or five matches and I have three goals and I am very happy about the good start for me and for the team.We must keep fit and well – it is a long, long season and we don’t have a break in the winter like in Germany. So it is different for me, but I like to play football and be on the pitch.
Moving on to some team news then. First choice *coughs* goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to be out for around 3 weeks, which means Vito Mannone will get an extended run in the first team, which will cover key games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Olympiakos and probably even the Carling, I mean Littlewoods, what was it again, Rumbelows, oh, my bad, Capital One Cup clash against Coventry City. So, basically the same team that face Montpellier will start against Manchester City, the only exception being Alex Oxlade Chamberlain or Theo Walcott replacing Olivier Giroud up front.
That’s it for now. I am totally exhausted. It’s 3:00 AM here, so good night everyone!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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