It has been a while since I last blogged, and it seems now that the blog has become one that only gives previews and reviews of games. I intend to change that trend though, should my work and study schedule lighten up a bit. But for now, that seems to be far away.
Speaking of tight schedules, Arsenal came out of their tight schedule of 7 games in 20 days, involving both the FA Cup and the Premier League. The Gunners managed 4 wins, including 2 cup wins, 2 losses to Chelsea and Manchester City and a draw with Liverpool. Not too inspiring, but atleast we are afloat. Still in the cup with a decent chance two win it and very much in contention for finishing in the top 4.
If that was not enough, there was this meaningless round of friendlies in midweek. France narrowly lost to Germany, while England beat some bunch of guys calling themselves the Brazilian national football team. And there were the usual round of injury rumours as well.
Hot in the news right now, is, you guessed it, our boy prodigy, Jack Wilshere. He put in a masterful performance against Brazil. He linked up well with Steven Gerrard and Tom Cleverley in the first half, before Frank Lampard replaced Cleverley in the second half.
More so impressive is his confidence, that really belies his age, and the fact that he was England’s best player, probably only equaled by Steven Gerrard on the night, despite having returned after such a long time out, goes to show how much he has grown as a footballer.
Arsene Wenger is proud of Wilshere’s exploits so far in his young career.
As a very young boy you could see he had a special talent,but when you see a boy of 16-years-of-age, you never know how he will develop. He is starting is career now really, having been out for 17 months injured, so the influence he has on the English national team is fantastic.It is not just the physical aspect of the game, but also the mental pressure he will be under every time he plays,We will have to manage him well physically to make sure he doesn’t have to face burnout.I expected Jack to play only a part of the game on Wednesday night, but it didn’t happen. Because of his quality, he will be expose to that kind of issue, but will have to be managed like everyone else.I believe that you do not want to set any limit on the development of any player especially when he plays at that level at his age.The most important thing for me will be to keep his passion for the game and keep the attitude of wanting to become a better player. If he keeps those two ingredients, he can of course become a fantastic player.
Another player who impressed at Wembley was Theo Walcott. Playing on the right, he managed to flummox Adriano several times, until the Barca left back got rough, before being substituted. Walcott also had to put up with some of the same earlier in the week against Andy Wilkinson, another typical Stoke player, devoid of even basic footballing quality. He kicked and harried Walcott time and time again, but it was good to see the diminutive striker come back at him again and again.
Meanwhile, one player, who has failed to shine this season, after all the hype of last season, is definitely Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, he has reiterated the need to be patient.
I’m only 19 years of age and I’m at Arsenal Football Club,I know I’ve got to bide my time, and maybe this is one of those times. Just to get a start was really important to me, and I know that when I get the opportunity, I’ve got to make sure I try and take it.It’s always nice for the confidence when you get a run of games. I had a few a couple of weeks ago, I think I played maybe five or six games on the spin and that was nice. I’ve got to expect to sometimes be pulled out because we’ve got so many talented players at this football club.Everybody wants to play so you’ve got to take being taken out of the team sometimes, let someone else have a go and make sure you’re ready to come off the bench and affect the games and help the team. You’ve got to bide your time, especially when you’re young.
In other news, Arsenal legend Liam Brady, currently head of the youth set-up and responsible for bringing in a plethora of youngsters through the system, has decided to call it quits on his time at the club. ‘Chippy’, as he is fondly known, leaves behind a 17 year old legacy with the academy, added to 8 years as a player.
Another big loss for Arsenal, will be that of Andre Santos, who is reportedly close to sealing a 6 month loan back to his native club, Gremio. Latest rumors are that Santos has already completed his move.
Right from driving faster than light, to swapping shirt’s with the traitor in broad daylight, to his defensive shenanigans, to terming his fellow Arsenal teammates as homosexuals, Santos has done it all. Farewell, you crazy Brazilian!
Right, team news then. Thomas Vermaelen pulled out of Belgium’s squad due to a calf injury, and is expected to be out for the clash. Laurent Koscielny allayed reports of being out for 3 weeks, and will face a late fitness test. Kieran Gibbs is definitely out of this one. So, that would mean either a pairing of Ignasi Miquel with Per Mertesacker or Bacary Sagna with Per Mertesacker, in case Koscielny doesn’t pass the fitness test. I would have to go with the former, as Miquel looks more of a centre-back than Sagna.
Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin are all fit, and available for selection. Gervinho has returned from international duty, but is not expected to feature.
Carlos Cuellar is out for the Black Cats owing to a hamstring injury, and that would mean a calamitous centre-half pairing of Titus Bramble and John O’Shea. Surely, we have to win this one. Another annoying oaf, Lee Cattermole, who was destroyed by Aaron Ramsey in 40 minutes, not too far back in time, is out with a knee injury.
Here is how I expect the teams to line up.
Sunderland, as well know, will set up defensively, and look to stifle Arsenal. Their main dangermen are Sebastien Larsson and Adam Johnson, both capable of long range efforts, and some a good crossing range. Additionally, Stephane Sessegnon can cause plenty of problems himself. Stephen Fletcher is a typical poacher, and another player Arsenal will have to be wary of.
What has been impressive about Arsenal recently, is the will to fight on, and grab results. A good attacking verve has been the forefront of Arsenal’s play, and surely that will be required in plenty to break down a Sunderland side, that has conceded only 12 goals at home this season.
Olivier Giroud will look to create physical presence up front, and Walcott could have a field day, if he can get into good positions.
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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