Proper Football Returns But Is It In The Players Heads?
No Darius this week, moving homes has taken its toll on his internet access, the only bright spot being Mr La-Di-Da’s local pub has a wi-fi. I remember the days when a pool table was thought to be seen as a sign of a pub going upmarket. The times, they are a-changing.
For all of the good news that has emerged recently on injuries, Arsene dropped the odd bombshell or two yesterday. Nicklas Bendtner, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott will be back in the squad for tomorrow’s encounter with Birmingham City whilst Cesc, Vermaelen, Sagna and Almunia will all be in contention for the visit to Eastlands next weekend, or the trip to St James’ Park (or whatever the hell it is called now) in the Carling Cup. Entirely negative was Arsene’s observation that Robin van Persie is now missing throughout this month, sometime in November being the best estimate. Football is littered with wasted talent, lack of application being a common theme. When it is injury which robs a hugely talented player of a strong career, there is something more desperately saddening about it all.
The absence of Cesc is disappointing, especially as in the immediate aftermath of the defeat at Stamford Bridge he noted that had the game been the following Tuesday, he would have been fit. However, given how disrupted the past six months of his Arsenal career have been, better to be safe than sorry.
Cesc has called for ‘a winning mentality’ to emerge, interpreted as ‘win or I’m off’ in some quarters. His Scott Walker moment came in a radio interview recently when he said he had no regrets about the summer’s transfer shenanigans. The strength of Arsenal’s position in this affair – sure to emerge in 2011 once more – is emphasised by Fabregas’ comments,
When I spoke to Wenger he told me no – he was very emphatic, that the transfer was impossible.
Whilst there is no doubt that Barcelona will try again and again, Fabregas should also be in no doubt that he is going nowhere unless it suits Wenger and Arsenal. Samir Nasri indicated his willingness to take on the central role in the captain’s absence whilst the emergence of Jack Wilshere this season at a level ahead of expectations highlight the strength in depth that the club has.
Fabregas’ body language has been interpreted as wanting to be elsewhere but in what has been almost a cameo thus far this season, his effort cannot be faulted. The Spaniard observed,
It wasn’t to be and that’s that, though in my head I keep thinking it could have been a good opportunity.
‘But here (at Arsenal) I have everything. I’m still happy. I’m very comfortable here, I like the club, lead the team, play football. We just need to start winning titles because we have a wealth of quality. A winning mentality is missing.
It is a criticism levelled frequently at the players but does them some disservice. None of them appear to enjoy losing and all want to win a trophy. Tired as it may be to some but you cannot win if most of your first choice XI is missing for months on end. That is nothing to do with mentality and everything to do with fitness and luck, in equal measure.
Anyway, a chance of returning to winning ways is at hand and the players should grasp it firmly. ’til Tomorrow.