Thursday, 17 March 2011

Wenger's UEFA D-Day - Djourou on his injury - Wilson on Lehmann

Morning Gooners.

Yesterday Alex Ferguson was punished by the Football Association for his comments about referee Martin Atkinson and was handed a five match touchline ban and a £30,000 fine. This could mean he might be forced to watch the game with Arsenal at the Grove from the stands, if (a) he doesn't accept the charge and appeals the decision or (b) Manchester United's game with Newcastle is rearranged prior to the fixture in north London.

Today is D-Day for our own manager Arsene Wenger who is up before a UEFA disciplinary committee after being charged with improper conduct by European football's governing body.

Samir Nasri will also face the same charge. 

It follows their 'conversations' with Swiss referee Massimo Busacca during and after the Barcelona game. 

I'm sure they'll be fines and a possible touchline ban for Wenger. It would be a surprise if there wasn't!

I'm expecting we'll find out later the extent to Johan Djourou's injury after his visit to see a specialist yesterday.

He tweeted about the appointment but didn't give any specific details on the prognosis or how long he's likely to be out for.

There are more details in an interview he's given to The Guardian and I expect that the manager will tell us it's too soon to say if he'll play again this season.

The defender said:
"In my heart, I was initially hopeful because they said to me that I didn't have a rupture and nothing was broken so I was thinking: 'Brilliant, I can get back as quickly as possible.
"But then we come to reality. When you dislocate a shoulder, it takes a lot more time. The thing with shoulders is that if you don't operate and I played in a month, it could come out again. We'll just have to see how it settles over the next few days."
He saw the same specialist as Theo Walcott did when he had shoulder problems. And we know Walcott had to have surgery to prevent  his shoulder from being dislocated every time he came together with another player.

I would love Djourou to be back this season. We've got a much better chance of winning the league with him than without him but I think we've got to presume the worst. One thing's for certain, Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci will play in defence this weekend, with Ignasi Miquel on the bench.

Alex Song is a player would could slot in there as well, but he's still injured and as far as I'm aware, the club are yet to contact Rangers about the possibility of ending Kyle Bartley's loan early.

I think the manager will want to get to Saturday 5pm with three points from a victory at the Hawthorns and then decide about what to do with his defence during the international break.

We've still yet to have the signing of Jens Lehmann confirmed by the club and you would hope it's just a formality that he signs the paper work and there won't be any haggling over who's covering the costs of taxis - which was why the announcement of Sol Campbell's signing was delayed until days after he'd played for the reserves against West Ham last season.

Ex-Gunner and all round nice guy Bob Wilson has been speaking of Jens' return.

He said:
"Jens would be incredible in the dressing room and he is fit enough to play anyway.
"I did speak to him about a month ago and he was more or less saying it was time he needed to spend a little bit more time with his family, because his life had been football, but he was incredibly fit looking.
"And, my goodness, what an input he would have in the dressing room, having been part of unbeaten title team.
"For Jens to be within the Arsenal set-up at this crucial run-in time I think could be terrific. I think he would very quickly get into his shot-stopping, you just do not lose that."
I think that Lehmann has personality which is something we've been missing. Yes, he's eccentric but he's also a proven winner and I don't think that should be underestimated. 

He will help us get over the line, I'm sure of that. And if called upon I'm sure will do a job for us between the posts.

We all know there isn't much chance of him playing but I think news of his return has given many supporters a lift.

The Daily Mirror say Theo Walcott won't be fit to play this weekend and in turn won't be picked by Fabio Capello to play for England for their games.

To be honest, I would rather Walcott were fit for our nine game run in. If we can have the majority of our players back in time for Blackburn Rover's visit to the Grove on April 2, I'll be a happy man. I don't want our players going away on international duty. They come back broken most of the time.

Arsenal legend Tony Adams talks about his time in Azerbaijan.

And finally congratulations to the Reserves who last night beat Liverpool 2-1 in the last minute. I don't think there is anything quite like a last minute winner.

Expect updates later on Djourou, Walcott, Song and Fabregas as the manager speaks to the media ahead of our trip to West Brom on Saturday. Let's hope for some unexpected good news!

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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