The Season Must Be Close, Injuries Are Coming To The Fore
Business as usual as the injury scaremongering has started to get into full swing. The kickstart it required came in the form of the usual suspects in Austria; Tomas Rosicky and Johan Djourou. The former didn’t even make it onto the pitch despite being named in the starting line-up. There was apparently a ‘small alert’ – Arsene comes up with some wonderfully understated expressions at times – over the Czech international and a meaningless friendly was not the occasion to risk him.
Djourou made it onto the pitch and then had to be helped from it, a small hamstring problem which Arsene believed would be solved by the weekend. Even so, perhaps Saturday would be too soon for him, may be even Sunday is, and there is a chance to see him in action in Poland before the Premier League season begins. Is a pre-season friendly worth taking the risk for one of the players who has suffered cruelly with injuries in recent seasons.
The upcoming Emirates Cup fixtures require rotation of the squad and Wenger would hope to have all fit for at least part of the two matches. Not going to happen with Bendtner, Denilson and Diaby. The latter pair are expected to be fit for the trip to Poland a week on Saturday but the Dane will miss the start of the season.
In itself that is the least surprising news of the week so far. Bendtner carried the injury into the World Cup and said on several occasions that it was troubling him. A rest would have been far better than playing in matches in quick succession. However, there is, at the moment back up to cover for his absence.
Looking back on previous close seasons, Wenger will be relieved that the squad system was not in operation. Long term injuries to players in those summers would have left him light under the new regulations, perhaps even tempting into the transfer market at that time. This summer has been relatively kind in that respect but there is still more than a fortnight to go, along with a round of absolutely pointless international friendlies. Fifa has long been driving the clubs towards reducing the number of games that players are involved with, only for them to be replaced by international weeks, exacerbating the problems.
The return of Cesc and van Persie to training next week is problematic for Wenger. The manager observed that their participation at Anfield is in doubt and depends upon how much fitness the pair has lost during their holidays. I cannot believe that it will have been so much that they are unable to take the field at kick-0ff. They were, after all, training up until three weeks ago; surely they cannot have been drinking twenty pints a day whilst they were away?
A lot of ‘noise’ is how Arsene described the chatter surrounding the reported interest of Barcelona in Cesc. A lot of noise is the expectation with the self-imposed deadline of the Catalans upon us tomorrow. A lot of noise is what we are getting. The big meeting – at least it is in the Spanish media’s eyes – between Wenger and Cesc takes place this week where they are pressurising the midfielder to hand in a verbal transfer request.
The forcefulness of Wenger’s dismissal of Barcelona makes it difficult to envisage any voluntary change of position by Arsenal so the hopes of avoiding egg on their faces is reliant upon Cesc formally asking for a move. Even then, that is only a tiny portion of the chain reaction; Barcelona has to come up with a fee which is acceptable to Arsenal and the longer that this drags on, the less likely either of those actions appears to be.
Attempts by media parties to suggest that there will be a negative reaction to the player when he encounters supporters are pathetic. There will not be any gauntlet to be run; I have yet to meet anyone who does not want Cesc to stay. Some element of the relationship may have been damaged by his silence – or failure to speak on the matter, toning down the chatter of international colleagues – but as long as he is seen to be giving his all for Arsenal, there can be no complaints about him wearing the shirt, nor being captain next season.
Posted on July 29, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 390 Comments.