Thursday, 23 December 2010

Vermaelen's training - Chamakh on "adorable" Wilshere - Bendtner and Denilson to stay

Morning Gooners.

I'm not sure about you, but I'm yet to be in the Christmas mood. I know the big day is only two days away but there is something missing in my mind compared to last. I don't really know what that is. Hopefully I'll find whatever I'm missing before midnight on Friday... otherwise it might come a bit late.

Our first festive fixture doesn't take place until the day after Boxing Day (Monday). It's the visit of Chelsea to the Grove and I'm all sure we're all hoping for a good performance from the boys and three lovely points.

There has been concerns over whether the match would go ahead, but I'm told the club is confident it will take place. On Saturday it was the sheer volume of snow that fell which meant it was too much for the ground staff to get the pitch back into a playable condition in the short time there was before kick off.

It also meant there was no chance the snow could be cleared from outside of the ground either. But the majority of the snow has now disappeared, although some still lingers because of the low temperature.

So there is every hope that baring any kind of similar snow shower taking place the game will go ahead.



The manager has given some early team news. Abou Diaby is back in the squad and Lukasz Fabianski is fit enough to start in goal. Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are closer to full match fitness with another week of training under their belts.

But we'll continue to be without Thomas Vermaelen, who the manager is being extra cautious about. And you can understand Wenger having been burnt so many times with the possible return of the defender only to be left disappointed - like a child on Christmas morning who's been given the wrong present.

The Frenchman said:
"I would rather say late January. He is short on fitness and we have to build it up. That will take three to four weeks.
"He has started now and the signs are good. But I have been hit so many times with backlash that I am very cautious with Vermaelen."
I don't think there has been a major set back like some of the headlines you'll read. It was obvious to me when he didn't return straight away there could be a problem.

Vermaelen left a huge hole in the centre of defence but I think with two Premier League rookies in the side we've coped as well as can be expected. But I'll be happy when he is finally back in the starting 11.



Elsewhere, there is a long interview with Marouane Chamakh in the Daily Mirror. It doesn't appear to be covering any new ground.

Interesting though it is to hear about his friendship with Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.

Of his friendship with Nasri, the Morroccan said:
"We have got on really well together since the start of pre-season. 
"He has been like a brother to me. He took care of me, really helped me, took me out and invited me to his house to watch World Cup matches."
And of being in the same team as the Spaniard, he said:
"I love to play with Fabregas. He is a fantastic kid. I didn't really know him before I arrived here. In the few matches we have played together, I have found a player with fantastic talent, great vision and a very rare quality of passing. 
"Yohann Gourcuff (at Bordeaux) was superb, but when I see that I play with Nasri, Fabregas, Diaby or the little Wilshere, an adorable kid, I can say that I am very lucky."
I think it's because of these strong friendships he's built quickly with his team mates is one of the reasons why he's settled and adapted to English football so well.

Ten goals already is a fantastic return. If the second half of the season can be just as fruitful, we'll all be overjoyed.

Also around are what appear to be old quotes from Nicklas Bendtner on his future and if they are fresh quotes they seem old because I seem to remember hearing them all before.

He said:
"I want to get back to 100 per cent, get back into the squad and take my chances when I get them to prove I should be there.
"At the end of the season we can see where I am, see where the team is and how well we have done.
"I hope we will win something this season. We have a great chance in the Carling Cup which I hope we will take full advantage of. The FA Cup is coming up and we are still in the Champions League. I think it looks positive."
Which is the right kind of attitude to have. The manager said in his pre match interview with the official site that neither Bendtner nor Denilson would be leaving in the transfer window. Which is good to hear because I can't see the point of letting players go now when we  appear to be on the verge of something.

That's it for now. Later on the manager will host his pre match press conference. Hopefully there won't be any nasty surprises on the injury front. 

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