Champions League action tonight and a chance to seal qualification. An Olympiacos defeat would almost ensure top spot. That said, previous seasons have shown that having the home leg first is no disadvantage in the second round.
Arsene believes that November is the month where most injuries occur and as if by magic another one appears. Gael Clichy is the latest to succumb, a stress fracture of the back likely to keep him out for more than a month. Kieran Gibbs is going to take advantage of this and with a World Cup around the corner, it is not a bad thing for the youngster to get some serious playing time. Perform well and Arsenal will have another England left back on their books. Presumably Arsene will hope that Traore recovers to take on Carling Cup.
Tomas Rosicky returns to the bench tonight which is good news, certainly to have someone who is so influential available from the bench if Alkmaar proves to be as stubborn to break down as in the match in Holland. Equally, Samir Nasri ought to be at the very least in similar position. Perhaps it is too soon for him to start but his inclusion from the start would allow Alex Song or Diaby to have a rest before the visit to Molineux this weekend.
Diaby made an interesting observation about his reception from supporters. Certainly this season is the first time we have been able to see him on a regular basis. Yet he still has his critics, the latest in a long line of players to fall foul of Championship Managers. The player said:
I am trying to be focused on what I am doing now and in the future as well. Definitely mentally I am stronger because I had a lot of problems in the past. Even in the games I am getting more confidence as well. I don’t know [what the fans think of my commitment]. I try to give my best in every game. That is it. The most important thing is to give our best and the team win.
Arsene went a step further suggesting that Diaby’s natural instinct is to attack rather than defend, the spark that ignited his fury at the weekend. Diaby is on the path to becoming an excellent all-round midfielder but needs to be consistent over several seasons before he gets elevated to that status. The first step is to be injury-free which hopefully this season will be the start of.
There is a belief that the team can do well this season in all competitions and the next month or so will go some way to deciding that with the next international break being the last interruption until late winter in 2010. Currently, Arsenal are the form team of the Premier League, a momentum being carried across all competitions. A win tonight would keep that going rather nicely.
Stan Kroenke’s purchase of more shares has created a bit of a stir but things may not be as they seem with the American. Whilst he cannot apparently stump up the cash immediately on some deals, a takeover of the club appears to be on the cards with cash rather than borrowings.
Owning 40% of the St Louis Rams, the other owners are apparently putting that franchise up for sale which may be used to fund a full blown bid for Arsenal. At least that is the speculation. Which may or may not be true but if that is the case, it would be hard to see how the Board would be able to not recommend accepting any bid, irrespective of the security felt through plurality of ownership.
Personally though, I am unconvinced that Kroenke is looking to takeover. Not having settled the bill for buying part of Fiszman’s shareholding leads me to believe that more than anything Stan has put himself up as a ‘blocker’ to any bid from Usmanov. If that is the case then millions of column inches have been wasted in speculation, which I doubt anyone would be unhappy about.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.
Posted on November 4, 2009, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 219 Comments.