Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Szczesny's mouth - Fabregas training again - Wellington gets called up

Morning Gooners.

The international break is well underway and it's going to get worse before it gets better in terms of all things Arsenal. In someways it's good for the players to go away and hopefully come back with renewed focus on what we want to achieve.

Only two senior outfield players who aren't injured have remained at the training ground: Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci, so they'll be practicing their shooting against Manuel Almunia and Jens Lehmann. I'm sure that will be an interesting exercise to watch. The official site have a guide to who is playing for their country.

The Spaniard has promised to take his chance now that his old foe is behind him, watching on. But whilst I'm sure a lot of you like myself would like nothing more than to see the back of Almunia, playing Lehmann seems a stretch too far, even for Arsene Wenger.

Almunia though has said he will seize his chance to play. He said:
"I have had some very bad moments this season but now I am content because I am playing again.
"I am a professional and I would never leave a club or a project unless it was the decision of the manager. I will always defend my club. I am an Arsenal player and that's where I want to succeed.
"The injuries to Fabianski and Szczesny have given me a chance in the position again. I am sorry for my team-mates and I'm hoping they make a quick recovery, but now is my moment at Arsenal. It's an important time but I will try to enjoy it and do my best for the team."
It seems to me that these quotes might be old because there is no reference to his mistake at West Brom. Even so, I think we are stuck with him. I just hope the goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton can build up his confidence in the next two weeks so that he's mentally ready to play against Blackburn.

In other news from our goalkeepers, Wojciech Szczesny shouldn't try his hand at international diplomacy if these comments about his teammates are accurate.

However I think Bendnter might feel complimented to be called "arrogant" and I'm sure Jens Lehmann has been called far worse than "a nutcase."

Personally, having watched a lot of Szczesny interviews, I think he might have been having a laugh with the audience.

There is a nice piece in the April edition of the official Arsenal magazine with him. He talks about taking his chance and not expecting to be called upon so soon. The Mirror Football website has an extract of the full piece.

Finally on the keepers front, Guardian readers have gone Photoshop crazy on the return of Jens Lehmann.

Jack Wilshere has reflected on the disappointing draw at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

"We were a bit sloppy, but showed great character to come back from that and have to push on now.
"There are nine games left and we really have to go to it. Manchester United still have to come to the Emirates, and we will have to beat them there - from now, that is the biggest we have to look forward to. Until then, we will just have to win every game.
"We all feel we are still their main challengers and, in the dressing room, we believe we can win it.
"Hopefully the fans do too, because we need them behind us as well."
I think there will be twists and turns in the run in that no one can predict now.

Obviously I hop that they go in our favour but you cannot see either us or Manchester United going nine games unbeaten or without dropping points between now and the end of May. We've both been far too inconsistent for that to happen.

Let's just hope it doesn't come down to a defensive mistake and I hope we can look back on the West Brom result as a point gained rather than two points dropped.

We shouldn't forget that the title race is in our hands mathematically. Win all our games and we'll be Champions.

One player who will be back for that running is our captain Cesc Fabregas.

He revealed on Twitter yesterday that he's now running again after aggravating his hamstring in the Champions League game against Barcelona.

He tweeted:
"I started running today for the first time so I'm very happy to be back outside."
Hopefully he'll have enough time to be fit for the Blackburn game.

A transfer rumour? Gael Clichy is stalling on a new contract with the club until the summer, according to the Daily Mail.

Congratulations to Wellington who was yesterday called up to the Brazilian under 18s squad to play in the Mediterranean International Cup next month. He's the only member of the squad to play outside of Brazil.  

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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