Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let me get this right ... ?

Theo Walcott, a true bright spot for Arsenal this year as he continues to improve and become more and more integral to the proceedings at the Emirates in north London, has separated his shoulder while on duty for a crammed in and meaningless match for England. He is slated, at first review, to miss three months. For the record, that will see him out, from this date, until February 19, 2009. He will miss league and Champions League matches against Manchester City, Kiev, Chelsea, Wigan, Porto, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, an FA Cup tie, Bolton, Hull, another FA Cup tie should they make it through, Everton, West Ham, Tottenham, another FA Cup tie should they make it through, and potentially Sunderland.

Need we continue to retread the theme of the "meaningless international friendly?" I don't think so, not deeply at least. Everyone knows how many matches players are faced with these days. Everyone knows that England, like every other country is currently facing the deep dive of World Cup qualification matches. Everyone knows that England, much unlike many other leagues, does not take a winter break. Indeed they cram in even more matches over the holidays.

So Theo's out. Our bright spot dimmed. Our burgeoning attack from the flanks - transitioning our team back to one that plays the full width of the pitch - slowed. Our right side weakened. Desperately. Like really, really, really desperately. While we've been so focused throughout this campaign on an absence of leadership, how much we miss Flamini rampaging from box-to-box, and the sieve that our central defensive pairing has turned into, we've another problem to add right to the top of the list. And this one will take some creative work from the manager to address IMMEDIATELY if we're to avoid a massive dive in the table. Make no mistake, Arsenal are on the brink right now. Poor results early, injuries now, and we are left on a precipice. 

Look to the right ... Sagna is out. Eboue is out. Walcott is out.

Look at the weekend ... Cesc is out.

Just how the Arsenal will line-up against City this weekend is anyone's guess. I'd love to hear what you think. Let us know. Certainly we don't have enough players to push five in the middle as Arsene likes to do against difficult competition, or in Europe.

Back four? Clichy, Silvestre, Gallas, Toure, (Djourou)?

Middle? Nasri, Diaby (Ramsey), Denilson, (Song), (Toure)? There are problems all over the place with this one. Diaby hasn't been in the middle much of late, Toure can go wide, but then you've got to slot Djourou in the middle of the defense and put Silvestre out right. Can you really put Ramsey and Denilson in the same middle? I wouldn't.

Middle? Diaby, Nasri, Ramsey, Toure?

Whatever the case, it'll take some work from the manager.


MulderBurns said...

Have no idea what he's going to do. I think this is what I would do:


Wenger loves Silvestre, so we'll probably see him in place of Djourou, but I'm a Djourou guy so I put him in there. And we'll probably see Bendtner again, who I just can't look at anymore.

In the middle, possibly switch Diaby and Denilson - or, what I've wanted to see is Vela possibly on a wing at some point. Drop him back and turn it into a 4-5-1/4-3-3.

Beyond that - what do we root for in the Villa-ManU game? Normally, this isn't even a debate - I root against ManU in every game. But, I'm afraid we are deeply into the position that 4th is as well as we're going to do - that said, I think we're facing the prospect of openly (or at least quietly) supporting ManU this weekend.

(cue wretching sound)

MulderBurns said...

Well, scratch that - now I see Toure is hurt, so I suppose it's Djourou on the right and Silvestre in the center? Good God. Are these guys made of glass?