Poles Apart & Chamakh Needs To Be A Bully
Ahead of Monday’s encounter with Chelsea, Arsene is apparently facing a goalkeeping dilemma. Lukasz Fabianski has recovered from his hip injury which leaves a straight bunfight for the Number 1 position between himself and Wojciech Szczesny.
To be honest, there may not be much thought given to the issue. Whilst the younger of the two Poles performed well at Old Trafford, Fabianski had done likewise before injury interrupted his run in the side. Having seen the marked improvement between this season and last from Fabianski, it is almost inconceivable that Wenger will not restore him to the starting line-up. Equally when Almunia returns to the first team squad, unless there is a necessity to replace Fabianski, Wenger should resist the temptation to make change to keep the Spaniard happy.
Christmas and New Year will not see the return of Gibbs, Vermaelen or Almunia, that will happen by the end of January. For the Belgian, it is a slow process and understandably, past incidents with longer term absentees is seeing a more cautious approach from the club in his rehabilitation. If a further breakdown occurs, Wenger has the opportunity to purchase another centre back and he will no doubt be receiving plenty of advice as to which improbable target that he needs to be buying.
One of the summer’s signings, Marouane Chamakh has been speaking of his adjustment to England and the bonds built with the squad. Having made a good start – 10 goals in 24 appearances, he believes that he can get to the top of the striking pile with hard work,
I know I have the ability and through hard work I can improve my game. I think I haven’t reached [Drogba & Rooney’s] level yet but I will get there one day. This will happen if I keep focused and if I carry on working hard.
I don’t feel inferior to them but they’ve worked really hard to get where they are.
Having settled into the team, Chamakh will continually improve. The reputations of others whilst built on scoring a hatful of goals against porous defences, is equally founded by scoring in the big matches. Chamakh almost broke his duck at Anfield on the opening day of the season, did so against Spurs but failed at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge. A goal or two in the return fixtures would enhance his reputation in English football as well as (hopefully) adding three points to the season’s total.
Chamakh has been too readily dismissed in some quarters as not being the ‘big name’ signing craved; that description means nothing and keeping up his scoring ratio over the course of the season is more important than anything else.
Key to this being able to bully defenders in the same manner that Drogba does physically whilst Rooney will drag them around the pitch if the United tactics allow. Chamakh cannot do that yet, he does not have the previous form to draw upon. If he is able to dictate play against the Chelsea defence this Monday, he will find his reputation suitably enhanced.