Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Diaby injury latest, Cesc backs Manuel, Wenger sleepless, Silvestre's dig

Morning Gooners.

As we move into Tuesday we can start looking ahead to the Champions League game with Sporting Braga tomorrow night.

The one piece of news we're waiting to hear from the weekend is the extent of the damaged caused to Abou Diaby's ankle/leg by the challenge on him by Paul Robinson. The Frenchman had a scan yesterday and I would imagine Arsene Wenger will update the media as to how Abou is when he speaks to them at lunchtime.

There is an open training session for the media to go and watch, followed by a press conference, so expect news to filter through during the day.

I wouldn't thought the chances of Abou playing tomorrow night are high. 

One man who will be though is our Captain Cesc Fabregas. He's been speaking about Manuel Almunia. Upon reflection of our first four games I think Almunia has done all which could have been asked of him. I questioned whether he should have been beaten at his near post for Liverpool's goal, but that shot was hit with such venom, I'm not sure many keepers would have saved it.

The captain said:
"Manuel commanded the defence very well at Blackburn - but it is not just about one game or two or three. He is well-loved player among everybody here and performs well for this club. We all wish him a super season and have a lot of trust."
It's important that the side do have confidence in Almunia, especially the defence. And he needs to take command of those playing in front of him, because as we saw on Saturday, a new central defensive partnership is going to be nervy.

Whilst we're on Cesc, former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva spoke to the media ahead of Panathinaikos' match with Barcelona in the Champions League on tonight, and was unsurprisingly asked about Cesc's furture.

He told reporters:
"He is a great player and a good guy. I wish him well at Arsenal, but sooner or later he will return to Barcelona."
Which can't be argued with. He will return to Barcelona one day we all know that.

One man who was part of our defence on Saturday, left back Kieran Gibbs has been speaking about how competition for places is a good thing for the club.

He told Arsenal TV Online:
"It is difficult to play the same team through all of the season because players are going to get tired - that is when we start to get injuries. It is good for people to get a chance.
"Not only is the competition going to be good for Gael to play well, it is also going to be good for the club as well because we are both fighting to win help the team win something this year."
I would agree with him 100%. Competition for places in the squad hasn't been as high as it is this season and that is only good for Arsenal. There are players now fighting for a place to start in every position. And this is something that has been lacking. The one good problem it will cause the manager is a selection headache when everyone is fit, but that hasn't happened yet and will it ever with our injury record.

Which leads us nicely on to the manager. He's been talking about ahead of our Champions League game with Sporting Braga.

Asked whether he suffers sleepless nights about never winning in Europe, the manager said:
"Certainly, you always do a little bit. It goes through your head like if you have something important to do tomorrow. It goes through your head the day before a game and the day after a game.
Speaking of our chances this season he said:
"We have a good mixture of quality and more experience. You know when you see our team play that they are not any more tender. We are equipped to win the Champions League.
"Yes it [the Champions League] is missing and we will try to get that right. You are more worried about others than yourselves and you want to do well for people who love the club. For the players, for the fans who love the club."
And of who could win the competition this season, he said:
"In fairness I can see 10 teams who are equipped, we are not the only ones who are equipped. 
"We only worry about ourselves."I believe our group stage is a good test because I think this group is much stronger than it looks. 
"I am keen to start with Braga because they look a handful. They are a fantastic counter-attacking team."
I think we cannot underestimate Braga and if we do, that's when we'll realise we've got a game on our hands. As has been previously pointed out on this blog, they beat Sevilla to make it through to the group stages and that's no easy task.

And I don't believe our group is a walk in the park. We've got some traveling to do and that will take it out of us.

From what the players are saying - all the things you'd be hoping to hear them say - they are prepared for this one.

Kieran Gibbs goes on to talk about the game tomorrow night in his interview with Arsenal TV Online:
"It is the Champions League, so there is no easy group. The games are going to be hard, home and away, so it is important to get off to a strong start.
"We have shown a lot of character in our opening matches and hopefully now we can build on it for the next few weeks."
He's right. A good start is needed and that's what I'd expect to happen at the Grove on Wednesday night.

And finally for this morning, Mikael Silvestre was put up by his new club Werder Bremen to speak to the media ahead of the German side's game with our north London neighbours tonight.

Everyone's favourite French defender, and I'm writing that tongue in cheek, said:
"There must be a reason why Sol Campbell, William Gallas and myself all left the club. But it's not the place to discuss that. I'm just happy for Arsenal to continue the way they do.
"I still watch their results and some highlights because I care about my (former) team-mates and the staff.
"I had a good time over there, so I'm not going to complain. Now I'm focusing on Werder 100 per cent."
I would suggest the reason why Silvestre's your contact wasn't renewed was that Arsene Wenger thought he could get someone younger who would fight for a first team place more than the Frenchman did.

Gallas wanted too much money and then ended up getting less at Tottenham than he was offered to stay with Arsenal. Plus it was a good thing for Arsenal and Gallas to start a fresh.

As for Campbell, he didn't want to be fifth choice and believes he can still play week in, week out. 

The one thing I hear about Silvestre was he never caused any trouble because he didn't play and was a model professional. I certainly wish him all the best tonight playing Tottenham. But I think he knows the real reasons why he and those other two left the club this summer.

And that's it. More throughout the morning on Twitter.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment