Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Duo miss opener, Wenger on Cahill, Sagna on Wembley, Spurs are priceless

Morning Gooners.

Tonight sees our first game in European competition this season, with a tough test of Portuguese runners up Sporting Braga. I'll preview the game in a post later this morning, but first here's a run through of what else is going on.

The main development from yesterday was news of Abou Diaby's injury. He and Thomas Vermaelen will miss tonight's match, with the Frenchman also set to sit out the Sunderland match at the weekend.

Arsene Wenger only listed two matches for Diaby - he didn't say when Vermaelen was likely to return - but it appears that was because the midfielder's ankle is still heavily swollen.

The manager said
"I'm vague because it's the ankle on which he had surgery. I was very anxious because he had a scan yesterday and with Diaby there are always bad surprises on the scan.
"But the scan looks quite promising. We don't know how long he will be out as we don't know how long the inflammation will take to go down."
I hope for us and Abou it's not a long term injury. For me he's an outstanding technical player, but I do have my issues with him. He's been so desperately unlucky with injury and last season he made his breakthrough, making more appearances during the last campaign than in any other season he's been at Arsenal.

So for him to be out injured so early in the season is desperately sad. 

The FA have said they won't be looking at Paul Robinson's tackle on Diaby again with a view of retrospective punishment, which is about as much as you would expect really. Very disappointing. 

The manager has also changed his mind about Gary Cahill's tackle on Marouane Chamakh which earned the Bolton defender a straight red card.

Wenger said:
"You can say Cahill's red card was harsh, but he had no intention at all to play the ball. Tackles from behind with two feet off the ground are a red card."
And he's right. All the players who've received red cards whilst playing against us this season have deserved them. And Robinson and Kevin Davies should also have been sent off on Saturday as well.

At yesterday's press conference, Bacary Sagna also spoke to the media. With the final being at Wembley this season, the assembled journalists wanted to know if that made reaching final any more special.

"The final's at Wembley, which is a plus. You always want to play in front of your fans.
"It's a short trip to the stadium but a long way to go to the final. We have to give everything to reach it."
To be honest, for me it doesn't matter where the final is, as long as we give winning the Champions League our best shot I'll be happy. And the whole stadium hosting final ploy didn't work too well for Real Madrid last season.

The manager has listed the teams he thinks have a chance of getting to the final. They are: Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, AC Milan and Lyon. 

Some hard teams to beat, but as soon as it turns into a cup competition it's any ones guess who will reach the final. Who would have predicted the two who got there last season would have done this time last year?

The manager runs the rule over Braga in the Daily Mirror. Whilst the Guardian have a nice piece on Marouane Chamakh.

Last night saw the Reserves take on Manchester City's Elite Development Squad, the out come being a 1-1 draw. Match report on the official site.

And finally for the moment. Spare a thought for all those Tottenham fans who headed to Germany last night to watch their lot throw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen. Glad to see Harry is taking all the credit for this one.

I'll be back later with a preview of tonight's match.

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