Thursday, 18 August 2011

Wilshere's achilles -Wenger's targets hijacked -Sling your hook Nasri -Mertesacker switch on?

Morning Gooners.

I think the glow from the victory on Tuesday night has slightly warn off for me this morning as we stare down the barrel of playing Liverpool at the Grove on Saturday.

In fact, whilst I'm not all doom and gloom about our chances, when you look at our squad and the amount of injuries we've already sustained, it is worrying that we could be handing two teenagers (Carl Jenkinson and Emmanuel Frimpong) their Premier League debuts in our second league game of the season.

I suppose then it doesn't help with that in mind that the papers are talking about Jack Wilshere being certain to miss our next two games and only having a 50/50 chance of facing Manchester United at the end of the month.

As Jack has been wearing a protective boot for his "ankle injury" (meaning, as Arseblog correctly pointed out, Wilshere has an achilles problem) for the past week, much in the way Thomas Vermaelen did, I think even a return at Old Trafford is probably pushing it.

We're down ten players from our first team squad for Saturday's game. It's worrying that there is no movement in the background to suggest we'll be adding any new players any time soon.

We'll be missing Almunia who remains in no mans land and possibly Bendtner who might not be picked because of his situation about wanting to leave the club. Then we've got Nasri who will probably leave north London today for Manchester City with the BBC reporting his exit as being very close.

Then we've got our injuries. Djourou and Gibbs couldn't complete Tuesday's game after sustaining hamstring injuries. Traore came off after nine minutes on Monday night for the Reserves with a groin problem. Abou Diaby is recovering from ankle surgery and Wilshere as previously mentioned has an achillies problem.

And then there are the suspensions to Alex Song - who yesterday accepted a three match ban for violent conduct after stepping on Joey Barton and Gervinho who was sent off at St James Park and like the Cameroon international will now miss the games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Swansea.

So our starting 11 for Liverpool could look like this:


Sagna - Koscielny - Vermaelen - Jenkinson

Frimpong - Rosicky

Walcott - Ramsey - Arshavin

van Persie

Subs: Fabianski, Squillaci, Lansbury, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyaichi (work permit sorted?), Bendtner, Chamakh.
I don't think I've seen a squad for a Premier League match look so young. A point which Theo Walcott is all to aware of.

Speaking after the Udinese win, he said:

"Before we played Newcastle last Saturday I was the oldest on my table. I was 22 and I was the oldest! It was quite funny.  
"Anything I can do to help the young players coming through and gain a bit of ­ experience, I will. I have been around for a long time now. 
"But this team has always been known for being young.  
"We can’t use that excuse any more. We have to win something this season. 
"It is important to have a mixture of experience and young players – but the boss knows what he is doing.  
"He has picked up great players before. Only time will tell what he is going to do."

I don't think Theo being the oldest at 22 is funny. Personally I think it is very scary. We desperately need to straighten yet I'm more and more convinced we won't do any business until after the next leg of our Champions League qualifier against Udinese.

If we progress we can go after our category A targets. Players who will only join us if we have Champions League football next season. And if we don't make the group stages we're left to go after players who will be happy with Europa League football.

And it seems from reading the news sites this morning that other clubs are already targeting the players we've identified who could add depth to our squad.

Juan Mata is linked with Chelsea by the Daily Mirror, Gary Cahill with Liverpool by The Sun and might not even be interested in signing Scott Dann if he plays for Birmingham tonight in the Europa League. But at least we can be cheered up by the news that the Daily Star have linked us again with Per Mertesacker.

And if you want to read something to cheer you up, former England manager Graham Taylor says Arsenal need an English spine in the Daily Express.

Cesc has won his first trophy as a Barca player, so I'm sure we're all in for some stick at work today. There's another think to look forward to!

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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