Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Vermaelen recovery going well - Nasri will sign - Barca youth product to join?

Morning Gooners.

Well it's already a busy one. No sooner has the thought of a replay with Leyton Orient hit the back of our minds are we on to thinking about the next game. It is of course Stoke who come to the Grove on Wednesday night and I'm sure like me you're looking forward to it with as much excitement as a visit to the dentists.

It's not the football I'll mind, although we know Stoke don't play football. It's some sort of association rugby I understand with towels on the sidelines to wipe the ball with and long throws to big forwards, who will try to win fouls near the touchline, sorry I mean goal line.

Anyway, we know what type of game Stoke will play. They will test to see if we are 'up for it' so close to the Carling Cup final. I know the player certainly will be. We have to go into this one with only one thing on our mind. Winning three points.

Alex Song certainly has his mind on one thing and one thing only.... not the colour of his hair but beating Stoke.

He said:
"We need to stay focused on winning our next game for the league before the Carling Cup final.
"We are still in the FA Cup and I am 100 per cent sure we will win the replay at home."
It's great that although I'm sure the players would have preferred some time off, they still have the desire to win every game, no matter which competition it's in.

This morning appears to be a day when the press are spinning quotes one way then the other just to get a story.

There is a scare story in the Daily Mail about the fitness of Thomas Vermaelen, for example.

They report the Belgium international has suffered a set back and won't be fit for the Barcelona game on March 8.

This is contrary to the reports I've received which say the defender's rehabilitation work is on schedule and there have been no set backs.

It was Vermaelen himself who said he wanted to be fit for the Champions League game. And that was a very ambitious aim to set himself, having been out of competitive football since early September.

Arsene Wenger has never given the return leg as the date Vermaelen would be fit and has wanted to take care with the player's recovery. Even now it is probably another three to five weeks. One thing's for certain, no one wants to see Vermaelen suffer a set back when he does finally return.

The second scare story of the morning concerns Samir Nasri's contract situation with the club and how he might leave at the end of next season.

He's got 16 months to run on his current deal and the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Star are running quotes taken from an interview Nasri carried out with Sport magazine.

They include a line used in the News of the World on Sunday which I've already posted about.

Obviously the magazine have put this story out there so they can use the newspapers to plug their product.

As we've all heard countless times, Wenger has said Nasri's contract situation will be sorted in the summer and as far as I'm told he has no desire to play anywhere other than at Arsenal and will sign the improved deal.

For whatever reason though the announcement will be made once the season is over.

There is news that we are looking to do a deal with Barcelona youth team product Jon Miquel Toral Harper. The story goes we want to sign him on professional terms before he is allowed to do so with the Catalans.

Toral Harper is a 16-year-old midfielder and we are hoping to exploit a loop hole in the same way we did with Cesc Fabregas.

There is more Arsenal/Barcelona stuff around in the form of comments made by Pep Guardiola about Jack Wilshere not being a target. The Sun say Barcelona won't bid for him. Whilst the Daily Telegraph use the Guardiola comments to suggest that Barca have given up on trying to sign Cesc Fabregas.

The Spaniard said:
"He [Wilshere] is a great player — a great player for Arsenal.
"And in any case, Arsene Wenger doesn't sell his best players!"
So spin that anyway you want....

And the final case I bring you is that of the Twitter police over at the Daily Mirror, focussing on what Wojciech Szczesny tweeted about Ashley Cole's penalty on Sunday. You would have hoped they would have bigger and more important things to write about but according to them, Szczesny was poking fun at Cole:
"Tweeps, what do you think Ashley was aiming for when he took his penalty?"
Followed by:
"Is it a plane? Is it an aeroplane? No, it's just Ashley throwing Chelsea out of the FA Cup."
That's right. Throw the book at him. Ban him for 12 games. Sometimes, you'd hope the media would get a grip with what's important about the game.

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.

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