Friday, 2 December 2011

Diaby out but Gibbs returns -Mexican star "agrees move" -Brazil forward linked

Morning Gooners.

Well it's a busy Friday morning with the manager heading to the training ground for an early start with the media followed by light training and then the trip to Wigan later.

It's a fixture which hasn't been too kind to us in recent years and whilst the league table doesn't lie at the end of a season, Roberto Martinez's side are probably better than their current position suggests and are going to be up for our game tomorrow.

We've got to ensure that our current wobble (a draw against Fulham and a league cup defeat to Manchester City) doesn't continue. And the manager is keen for us to return to winning ways and record our third successive win on the road in the league this season.

He said:
"In the Premier League we are on a good run and we want to continue that. It's important that we respond well [to the draw at Fulham].  
"A successful season is based on that - how much a team can respond to a disappointment and how quickly you can come back and win a game. That's what is at stake."
Presently we sit seventh in the table on the same amount of points as Liverpool and two points behind fifth place Chelsea who play fourth placed Newcastle (three points ahead) in the early kick off tomorrow.  We need a mature performance at the DW stadium, ensuring we don't give away any silly goals and take all three points with us on our return to north London.

The early team news is as expected. We've not lost anyone with a fresh injury from Tuesday night but nor do we have anyone back to full fitness. The manager has revealed Abou Diaby will be out for around ten days with a "slight muscular problem" - no doubt an injury which is related to his body adapting to the latest ankle surgery he has had. Tomas Rosicky will also miss the trip to the north west but should be on the plane to Greece if he recovers in time from a thigh problem. The Czech international is back in training, so it shouldn't be too long before we see him again.

As well as declaring he would be interested in playing for Team GB at the Olympics, Kieran Gibbs tells The Sun he's back in training following his hernia operation.

I don't expect to see the inclusion of many of the younger players from the Carling Cup squad in the 18-man party which will travel to Wigan. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain may have won lots of plaudits from his display on Tuesday night but the manager is urging caution and says the teenager still needs to work on the defensive side to his game. He's certainly working harder at that side of his game and I watched him closely on Tuesday to see that he's more positionally sound than he was when he first joined the club.

Another who impressed was Emmanuel Frimpong - not just for his banter with Samir Nasri. The manager is keen for the Ghana-born midfielder to be more disciplined in his play. I have enjoyed the league cup run because it has given me the chance to see Frimpong more. I have to say I like his attitude and the way his youth means he's not intimidated by players with the reputations of Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. He bit into tackles with them like any other player. But he needs to work on his shooting and shouldn't be influenced by the crowd calling for a shot from more than 30 yards.

I expect the manager to revert back to the side which drew with Fulham last weekend. This team need to get back to winning ways and it wouldn't hurt if it was down to Robin van Persie continuing his rich goal scoring form.

The manager has indicated that he believes we are too reliant on the Dutchman at the moment but hopes the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Gervinho will come good in front of goal.

He told the official site:
"At the moment I can't deny that [we rely on him for goals] but I believe that the likes of Gervinho, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott can score goals and I believe they will. 
"They can score goals, I am am completely confident of that. And they will score. At the moment Robin is always on the end of things. I think he will continue but I also think it will change that the other players will score goals as well."
Perhaps one way round us not being dependent on van Persie's goal was if we had another striker who was in form. Marouane Chamakh and Ju Young Park are hardly going to cause the Dutchman to have sleepless nights at the moment.

No one wants to say it but what if the worse did happen and we did have to cope without said player for a number of games? We would struggle. There is no direct replacement for a player of his quality who is on such a good run at the moment.

Entering the January transfer market has to be an option. There is talk of Mario Goetze, Lukas Podolski and in recent weeks we've been linked with Brazil striker Leandro Damiao. The 22-year-old has scored 31 goals in domestic football this year, so could be worth a go - if we can meet Internacional’s asking price for the player which is sure to be more than £15million. The Daily Mirror suggests we've made a firm enquiry for the forward.

And a new name has been linked with a January move to the club. The Mexican press are reporting we've agreed a deal to sign Chivas midfielder Marco Fabian de la Mora. His family are briefing the media that the player has already put pen to paper on a deal to move to north London next month.

I know nothing about the player but his goal scoring record for a midfielder is impressive. I'm not sure if he's made enough senior appearances for his country to get a work permit, but our South American scout has been busy after working on the Joel Campbell deal last summer and de la Mora could be his next capture. I'm sure there will be more to come on his deal in the hours to come as there is nothing in the UK press at all on it.

For some extra reading there is a good interview with Johan Djourou in The Independent. Well worth five minutes of your time.

As I mentioned, the manager is due to sit down in front of the media from 9am, so expect more news on the team from then.

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