The Wait For The Walking Wounded Begins

So the international break is over, the wait begins for tales of walking wounded to emerge. Ahead of the tales of woe though, Arsene received a boost in the shape of Nicklas Bendtner. The Dane has not played this season, his participation in the World Cup last summer through a programme of medical supervision ensured that his groin-knack was so bad that he has thus far been unable to play for his club.

Bendtner though is confident – never a shortcoming on his part – that he is fully fit,

I am sure that I will be involved in the Arsenal game on Saturday, which I am looking so much forward to after my long injury break. I actually believed that I would have to play a couple of reserve games to be completely match fit, but after training with the Arsenal staff and physical trainer, I am probably in the best physical shape ever.

Last week I was training with my team-mates for five days, and then we had the weekend off, and I had no trouble at all training.

Training is fine and dandy but matches are entirely different. His return does give Wenger options, namely being able to rest Marouane Chamakh or alter tactics if the need requires. With the imminent return of others – Robin van Persie being the latest to return to training – some semblance of a full squad being available is starting. On the back of three games without a win in the Premier League, perhaps the autumnal wobble has arrived and departed.

A few of the players, notably Johan Djourou, have sounded a warning that the title race is far from over. That is true with only seven games played, media trumpets heralding the Chelsea procession to another title are premature. However, it is also going to require an improvement on the part of Arsenal’s performances before anyone outside of the club – and a few in the stands as well –  takes the title charge seriously.

This is a hectic time. Progress in the Carling Cup means that there is pretty much two games a week between now and Christmas. Recovery by those absent to this point becomes crucial to enable full rotation of personnel to suit the opposition in the various tournaments. The mix of fixtures post-Champions League encounters makes these recoveries crucial.

According to reports this morning, Bendtner might well be joined by Cesc and Walcott on the bench on Saturday although the latter may be more realistically fit for the trip to Eastlands in ten days. It gives the squad an altogether stronger look. The return of Thomas Vermaelen will bolster the defence and leaves Wenger with the headache of whom to drop. Neither Squillaci or Koscielny has been outstandingly poor which would have made that choice simple. Squillaci possesses the experience desperately required at times although that should not detract from the impressive start Koscielny has made to his Arsenal career, far better than the naysayers would have had you believe was possible.

Of course, that assumes that Vermaelen does return to fitness any time soon, so notoriously unreliable have ‘return dates’ proven to be in the past.

’til Tomorrow.




Posted on October 13, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. With our squad’s strength returning, we should be able to put together a fine run. I’ll drink myself merry when the hard work is rewarded at the end of this fine season.

    And Barca can get frelled. Denny shouldn’t be sold at all. he’s a quality player who will hopefully get more game time. When he’s on the pitch the balance is a thing to behold

  2. The interlul is almost over! In little more than 72 hours from now I shall be waking up and searching for a stream. Good times people

  3. Good blog, Hope the big dane is really back to full fitness, he will bring a different dimension to our game.

  4. We just need to forget everything else, and put a winning run together. Chelsea will definitely drop points.

  5. yaaaaayyyyy !!! Bring on THE ARSENAL !!!

  6. When the fuck is RVp going to be Fit????????????? 4-6 weeks its now 7 weeks and still no sign of him.Maybe they meant 4-6 months

  7. YW

    You forgot to mention Almunia’s elbow,stop laughing at the back

  8. No kidding about these dubious return dates, that would be Vermaelen who was originally due back for Braga on 15th September you’re talking about.

  9. I wanted to share this with you guys, it’s in French but nice interview of Robert Pires.
    1st question: Your favourite club? Arsenal
    Best player he played with? Dennis Bergkamp. Because of the impact he had on the club, his team mates and how he made me progress.
    Best Coach? Arsene Wenger of course.
    Worst coach? My best friend Domenech!
    The player who gave you the most shit? Every time I played Man U Neville would wind me up with insults, walking on my feet during free kicks and I fell for it a few times and was just thinking about getting back at him instead of the game.
    Best Atmosphere? Arsenal vs Tottenham but he said the atmosphere was more intense at Shit hart lane.
    His daughter is really funny also.

  10. Ken

    According to Physioroom, he is due back in the next ten days.


  11. Nice one gunnerluc. Quite comedy about the Neviller. what a tw*t.

    I agree re CBs – will be difficult choice between Koz and Squillaci.

    Personally I think sagna being out for a few games is a good thing – he was shocking against west brom and the chelsea goal once again came down his side (as they did last year at the emirates). he needs to freshen up a bit in my humble opinion.

  12. I don’t mind who partners Verm once he gets back to fitness, all 3 other options are good CB’s.

    We have suffered with injuries once again, so will be nice to see Cesc, Nik B, and maybe Theo involved on saturday or even on the bench. It will be interesting to see whether we play both Chamakh and Bendtner in the same game.. who will play wide ? You would have to think Bendtner as he has played there before. I just don’t think it will work with our passing game,certainly not as well as a RVP next to Bendtner or Chamakh.

    Aerially they are both fantastic, both strong target men, and both can use their feet when need be.. on set pieces in tight games, having them both on could prove a valuable plan B, or C… ?!? I just think we will lack that fluency with our passing with both of them on, what does everyone think?

  13. RomfordPele

    No injury is convenient or comes at the ‘right’ time.. well unless you are an Arsenal goalkeeper!

  14. Chris

    I think that Bendtner is more a link up player than a target man. He might have the stature but I think Bendtner’s main qualities is his vision, the ability to find a team mate and to read the game and obviously to pop up with really important goals! That’s why if Arsene plays them together I would think Bendtner would probably be on a wing with Chamakh in the middle. But I agree Bendtner,Walcott and Cesc’s return is really good news and I can see a good headache for Arsene in order to keep everyone happy. I know I just can’t make my mind on who I would place in my first eleven.

    As for the defence, I know stability is really important in this department but as our four CB are all really talented I wouldn’t be surprise to see some rotation. In addition, with their own qualities I think they can all combine well. i don’t see a combination that wouldn’t work!


  16. If the reports last week were correct that cesc only just missed the chav game surely he’ll start against brum dont you think?

  17. gunnerluc

    Fair point, I am still not certain that RW is Bendtner’s best position despite his good link-up play, and a few very good performances out there. I would prefer having Walcott, Nasri, and Rosicky at RW than Bendtner.. Walcott being a fantastic dribbler, proving very effective on countless occasions. Nasri and Rosicky both been able to link up with the CF and pick a pass, Nasri offering the trickery to beat a man too.

    We shall see though, I would be interested to see how it works if we did playa front 3 of…


    For me our best front 3 is what started at Blackburn away…


    Within 20mins we are 1-0 up, RvP feeding through Theo with a delicious through ball. You just know that RvP can score at any time, and RvP can assist at any time, same with Arsh, and Theo is deadly too. Chamakh played very well when coming on for RvP, who in my opinion is the best CF in the world when on form and fit! So to come in as backup to RvP and have no complaints, just shows how well he has done since arriving.

    We have 3 very good CF’s.

  18. For me Kos has to start- aside from the one off mistakes he has made so far (which he will iron out as he gets more experience)- he is just simply awesome. I mean this kid you feel is just gonna be a big big talent! As thought how about playing TVcinq (Vermalen) as a left back sometimes! He has the pace,the attacking instinct and he sure is going to be more solid than Glicy! Glicy you feel is currently at crossroads- he is certainly good going forward but defensively he seems to have games where he just looses concentration. He wasnt really great defensively for France last week !

  19. I agree Chris, I also prefer the likes of Walcott, Nasri and Rosicky at RW, my point was more that if we play the two together Chamack is better suited for the CF role. Bendtner, I believe played more as a 2nd striker with the youth teams when we still played a classic 4-4-2 so that’s why I see him better suited to come from deep being fed by either RVP or Chamakh or to provide a beautiful pass to one of them than rather alone up front. But he has time to improve and he can surely grow into the CF role.

    In what position does he play for Denmark? Is he alone up front or behind another striker?

    That’s why I said there is a huge headache for Arsene with Nasri, Rosicky, Cesc, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Wilshere and Ramsey battling for 3 CM position. Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Arshvin and Vela competing for 2 winger position and RVP, Chamakh and Bendtner for the lone CF position. So many amazing player for so little place!!!

  20. gunnerluc

    The comptetition for places is incredible, its just a shame we have been hampered by imjuries so far to witness it first hand. You can even include Nasri as battling for an AM position, going by his comments the other day where he stated quite clearly he believes thats his best position. Then again, so does Arshavin, I think everyone would like to play AM! I play LM for my 11 aside team and I always ask for a shot at AM too 🙂

    You look at United and go through their squad, you cannot really pick out a great Attacking Midfielder. Ok they have the more orthodox wingers in Valencia and Giggs, Park and Fletcher the workaholics, Scholes the playmaker, but who provides the creativity? There is no better team to watch when we get 2 or 3 players combining. I love guessing who will play where, as any of our midfielders can easily slot along our midfield, or play as a 2nd or 3rd even striker!

  21. Well looking forward to Saturdays game, hoping to see cesc in the middle of the park again, maybe with Nasri because he has been in top form with France and to see speedy Theo rampaging the birmingham defence.

    I am also eager to see Ramsey back in full training, this lad was having a great progression and I really hope he gets back fully fit!

  22. Given the depth of attacking talent in our team- and the dearth of cover at United- I will not be suprised to see United fighting tooth and nail to get into the top 4.

  23. Arsenal faithfuls will be glad to have a full house. Arsenal is unbeatable with a full squad. We hope and pray that we have less injury worries this season.

  24. Godwin Ediga

    Even having 50% of our first team available should be enough for us.. losing Cesc, RvP, Theo, Almunia, Vermaelen, all at one time is only 50% I know, but the main CM, main CF, and main CB, and your top GK… it is really remarkable how well we have coped considering.

    I have said this before, but imagine Chelsea losing: Drogba, Terry, Cech, and Lampard for a period.

    Then theres Man Utd: Rooney, Vidic, Scholes, and Van Der Sar.

    Even Man City without: Tevez, Kompany, Hart, and Barry

    Man City another quality keeper to call on, and another few CMs! but take them 4 core players out and they are all deeply struggling. Especially to fill their benches with adequate replacements.

    Us on the other hand, players like Wilshire, Gibbs, Djourou, Vela, Lansbury etc have all had a shot and proved their worth when thet cannot normally make the bench when theres a fullly fit Arsenal squad.. something which comes around once in a blue moon!

  25. I think we’ll only see Chamakh and Bendtner on together in rare situations. I think perhaps late in games when teams have parked the bus and are fouling to break up play…then these two together provide a very real attacking option…the “so-called” Plan B. I could see that…

  26. axis I agree that Chamakh and Bendy are not going to play together much- they are not an ideal partnership in terms of how we play. I personally dont see it as an attractive proposition and this obession with plan B that the media constantly harps about is really a smoke screen. Bombing crosses in the penalty box looking for a big man is a very crude way to lay football- unfortunately it is also the English way!

  27. It occurs to one that the band, Everything But The Girl, had an album called ‘Walking Wounded’. Although it wasn’t on this album, they also had a great track called ‘Missing’, which I believe sums up my feelings towards our walking wounded.

    “And i miss you, like the deserts miss the rain…”

    The pertinent question however is this: Is YW a fan of EBTG? And was this none other than an under-hand attempt at a bit of 90’s nostalgia?

    They do not call me Gadget for nothing! I inspect!

  28. It’s true Rune…the whole thing’s a manufactured joke. Still, there are going to be times when a pair of trees in the box could work in our favor. Especially in Europe vs the “ten-men back” stuff we have encountered at times. Late in games vs Stoke (for example) and in need of a winner? It could happen…especially with Cesc, Arsh, and Rosicky sending in crosses. It is at least a viable option. I like it just from the stand-point of throwing teams off their plan for dealing with us. Who knows – it’s not our style and frankly I’d rather we never had to try it, but you never know.

  29. SomeRandomGunner

    Bendtner played as a sole center forward for Denmark in worldcup. He was really really good there. He played role very similar to RVP obviously he has not got RVP’s touch, but he dropped back and giving delicious through balls to wingers.
    I prefer Bendtner as a Center forward than Chamakh , Bendtner’s awareness and anticipation of the ball inside box is second to none. From what i have seen so far Chamakh does not have the instincts to be at the right place at the right time, he always 2-3 yards farther he seems to realize it late.

    I would say play Chamakh in the wings in this way he will not have 2 CBs to handle and will have room to attack aerial balls. His aerial strength is not used by being the center forward. I do not think it is easy to compete with 2 center backs and score aerially. Also his close control or i should say his touch is poor to be near box.
    Without argument RVP is the best center forward for Arsenal i would say there is nobody else better in that role. Not only in Arsenal including other clubs too.

  30. @Gadget – you dont have a TV subscription??

  31. thanks gunnerluc, was looking for that for long. Is that the complete interview?

  32. I disagree…Chamakh’s positioning is excellent, his only problem (imo) is that he’s used to having the players around him being slow to react to what he’s doing…the result is that his passes are a bit behind – it’s like he’s compensating for players being slow to move and attack space. I’ve seen many occasions where he picks up the ball and makes the right move and then expects that those around him will see his move and attack the open space; he sends the ball into the open space, only to discover that little Jack or Nasri had already moved into the space expecting the ball and Chamakh is late with his pass. He just needs to learn to trust that they are on the same wavelength and that he can safely accelerate the thought-to-action process – the others are already there.

  33. randomgunner- I think there is no debate that RVP is the most gifted striker we have- problem is he has not really delivered as he is constantly injured. Bendy did play well at the WC but he did himself no favours seeing as he has missed almost 3 months of the season. Chamakh has been excellent so far and has filled the void left by Bendy and RVP admirably. the good thing is that they all bring something different to the team. Bendy has benefitted from playing on the wings which has improved his game no end-he is certainly more phsical than Chamakh and more direct but Chamakh has more flair- over time as Chamakh develops his game a la Arsenal he may just edge out Bendy. The interesting thing to note is that we slowly building a very skillful but very physical team- Bendy,Chamakh,TVCINQ,Kos,Song,Djourou,Diaby,Frimpong (if not for the injury he would have been in the first team), RVP even little Jack has something about him. The young lads coming through like Jet, Chuks, Afobe, Sunu, are no shrinking violets either. The fact is in PL if you can marry technical flair with physical dominance you are virtually guranteed the title. Arsenal in the next three years will be a revelation!

  34. great article on untold arsenal today about who are true talisman is, RvP or Cesc. great stastical analysis. really brings RvPs injury woes to light though 😦

  35. Gadget

    My musical tastes are varied although I’m not a big fan of EBTG. Most posts have a musical reference in them, be it a lyric or song title.


  36. Gadget! I was just listening to ‘Missing’ as its turn came up on the random shuffle! Great band, great songs…

  37. This just made my day…or my week rather….Guess who’s back?

    Only one Aaron Ramsey!
    There’s only one Aaron Ramsey!

  38. Great stuff Arseman!

  39. SomeRandomGunner

    I was actually talking about his anticipation inside box especially to receive low crosses. He suddenly realises that there is a cross coming in, does not anticipate it he will learn and adjust i guess. Last year when we had both RVP and Bendtner out we have not scored any tap-ins .
    But as soon as Bendtner returned we scored/created quite a few such chances.Even though Chamakh is there we do not really look like scoring that kind of goals. Do not think i am moaning about Chamakh 🙂 . He still has to adjust to Arsenal’s game. As of now i would play Bendy in the middle over Chamakh.


    I disagree, i feel Bendtner has more flair. One of his assist in world cup was really RVPesque very similar to RVP’s assist to one of Theo’s goals this season. Bendtner has got quite a few similar assists.

  40. cheers arseman!

  41. Under 18s keeper Emil Martinez looked amazingly good in the 0-3 win against Chelsea. Especially, you know, for one of ours (bittersweet smiley here). It could well have been the other way round without him. I find the youth/reserve and Carling Cup highlights on ATVO fascinating. They could show some effort, though. One 12 min highlights per game – could do better, easily. But the archives go back a bit and I’ve had the privilege of being able to follow the appearance and rise of a number of Big Guns. Oh to Be…

  42. He’s back!

  43. I hear you Random…I think he just hasn’t adjusted to how we play to the expectation of players being in position rather than to where they are.

  44. I like the girl from Everything But The Girl. Her vocal on Protection by Massive Attack is gorgeous… and the Adam F tune she’s on is great too.


    This Friday in Arlington. Game on. Congrats to your Yankees torching the poor Minnesota Twins. No more civility. Rangers in 6.

  46. starting 11 against brums anyone?

  47. mj…
    eboue kos squilly clichy
    Diaby Wilshire

    Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

  48. Rosicky for either Diaby or Wilshere, he’s been in sublime form, sep at home. How about the bench – Cesc, RVP, Bendy, Vela, DJ, Theo, Denilson.

  49. Delia-----Block 112

    Dear me ,the Interlull dished up some of the most inept International football I have witnessed for some time . Can’t wait to get to the Emirates on Saturday for what should be an intriguing encounter .I have absolutely no idea of AW’s line-up should all the reported returnees be available. Let’s hope the match lives up to the anticipation , please. I need a large dose of Wengerball and 90 minutes of entertainment to fully erase the memory of that WBA humiliation.

  50. Great to see Rambo back in action!!! Wonder if FG has seen them yet.

  51. I know it’s a few weeks away but I hope Wenger plays Wilshere and Cesc against Man City so they can show Yaya and Barry how a proper midfield operates.

  52. Line-up for Saturday

    ………..Ebuoe……Squilacci……Koscielny….. Clichy

    Mannone, Bendtner, Arshavin,Wilshire,Varmaelen, Nodveit
    what are we gonna do when all our players return?

  53. YW,

    That is a very cool concept, and certainly gives me a buzzcockian type challenge from now on. Out of interest, was there a song reference in this post?

  54. ooh Where do we fit in Theo,Vanpersie and Song!!Wenger will be having a good headache soon

  55. Thanks about Bendy positioning with Denmark, I did not watch to much matches of the WC, at work and utterly put of by the fucking Vuvuzela and the level of play so did not see Bendtner play at all.

    About Chamakh, first I would point out to the fact that before Blanc’s arrival at Bordeaux, Marouane was not the scoring type of striker. The team had a really boring style of play, very defencive and not creative despite being coached by a brazilian (Ricardo). Marouane was used more as an Heskey type, holding the ball up front and giving it to onrushing midfielders. When Blanc arrived he set up a much more attacking team and chamakh was asked, in addition to hold the ball up to take his chances and it was with the arrival of Gourcuff that Bordeaux fans started to see the player we see today.

    So I think Marouane has the potential to improve greatly his positioning and killer instinct as he has not been educated as a free scoring striker despite his talent.

  56. As for Saturday team, that’s my prediction

    Eboue–Squillaci–Koscielny–Clichy or Gibbs
    With Walcott, Denilson, and RVP or Bendtner depending on the level of fitness coming on as substitute.

    Fabregas sure starter as he had 10 full days of training while the others where on international duty. Rosicky because he has been huge for the Czech. Gibbs because I would like to see him get a bit of first team action

  57. Vuvuzela’s have their uses, especially when my impressionable young counsins are trying to watch Twilight.


  58. When are all fit- I think AW will rotate depending on the opposition. There are players when fit who are undropable (new word), Cesc, Vermalen, Arshavin , RVP (when fit) are the core. Song seems more or less assured given he is the only muscle we have in midfield! All the others are vying for a place and will have to pretty much be on top of their game to keep their place. Competition is healthy! Arshavin though I think needs to be dropped from time to time just to give him a jolt and push him to level we know he can operate at.

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