Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Arsenal Paper Round: Tuesday March 23

Thomas Vermaelen, originally uploaded by Ashburton Grove Blog.
Morning Gooners.

The main news around this morning surrounds Arsenal's decision to appeal Thomas Vermaelen's red card.

It's an interesting one. I think is was a soft red card to be given, considering Sol Campbell was only given a yellow card against Hull the pervious week for a similar challenge.

Neither of the attacking players had the ball under control and the ball wasn't in front of them either.

Arsene obviously wants all his options open when we go to Birmingham on Saturday. He doesn't want to lose Alex Song from midfield and drop him back into defence.

It's also another sign that he doesn't want to be left with Mikael Silvestre in the starting line up and no cover on the bench.

In an ideal world, I would imagine the boss would play Silvestre and Vermaelen from the start against Birmingham and Campbell and Vermaelen would start against Barcelona.

Will the FA deem the appeal frivolous? That's something I don't know. If they do, they would increase the ban by one game so Vermaelen would miss both Birmingham and Wolves.

The FA panel will meet later today to discuss the Arsenal appeal.

Thierry Henry has been talking about Arsenal being the last club he wanted to face in a competitive game.

He said:
"I'm not saying I won't try to fight or whatever because that's the way the game is - but I don't want to play against Arsenal.
"It will be weird for me to step on the pitch with another shirt on. 
"Forget about it. No. I do not want to play against Arsenal, simple as that.
"The bond that I have with the Arsenal fans I will never get anywhere else."

Robin Van Persie could be back in time for the tail end of the season. If he is back for any games at all that would be excellent, but I'm thinking he'll come on as a substitute in any of the games he does play.

At this stage of the season, trying to reintroduce a player into the business end of the season will be tough.

He won't be up to the speed of the game, for his first few matches and won't have the match fitness he needs.

But his return will provide a boost.

He said:
"I am medically fit, but physically I have to gain strength. Only then can I train with the full group. I'm not there yet but I've left a difficult period behind. For a few weeks I've been training with the ball and it looks good.
"I still hope I can take part in the final phase of the League and Champions League.
"When I said that a few months ago I looked crazy. But, as it stands now, that will happen. Only then can I think about the World Cup."
The Daily Mail report fitness coach Tony Colbert has been in Holland to monitor van Persie's fitness and said he looked sharp and ready to return to England.

They report RVP could face Wigan and Blackburn away and Manchester City and Fulham at the Grove.

Some interesting comments on the Aaron Ramsey challenge have come to light.

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has been interviewed by Matt Lawton in the Daily Mail.

In a far reaching interview, they cover the art of tackling and what Parker's views were on the challenge which left our midfilder with a broken leg.

He said:

"I didn't see malice in the tackle. I saw a bit of clumsiness.

"It was mistimed. Add to that the fact that you've got a 6ft plus defender who's probably 13 or 14 stone tackling a young kid; it's like putting David Haye in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. There's only going to be one outcome. The science would tell you that. If he mistimes the tackle, Aaron Ramsey is going to get hurt.

"If I was Mr Wenger I'd also be scratching my head, not least because it's not the first time this has happened to Arsenal. They've had three injuries like this in the last few years and Ramsey is such a great talent. I really can sympathise with what Mr Wenger has been saying.

"At the same time, though, I don't believe teams go out to hurt Arsenal players. Not for one second. It's probably more down to the way most teams approach a game against Arsenal, because of the kind of team Arsenal have become.

"Most clubs know that if you are competitive against them you might get a result just as they know that if they try to play football against Arsenal they are not going to win. That's the reality. They're too good. I think Mr Wenger understands that."

Arsene Wenger has been talking about Real Madrid and how they like trophy signings over actually winning titles and cups.

The Daily Mirror are reporting his comments.

He said:
"It is success for Real when they buy a big name player in that it diminishes the level of worry for the fans.
"But it will never wipe out the unpredictability of the sport. I find it strange when fans view new signings as trophies."

And a quirky to end the blog.

Rapper Jay-Z, a Gooner by all accounts and worth £500 million, says he fancies investing some of his cash in Arsenal.

The Daily Mirror have this story, which is sourced via an interview with the official Arsenal magazine.

He said:
"I don't know a lot about the soccer business, but in the future if the right opportunity presented itself, then who knows?
"I am a businessman and I will always look at an opportunity and, if it feels right, great.
"Soccer's popularity is growing in the US. It's never going to be the No.1 sport but more people are playing it and watching it than ever before."

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