Friday, 9 December 2011

It's Djourou and Vermaelen for me -Jack's on track -French midfielder linked

Morning Gooners.

The club are putting the finishing touches to this weekend's birthday celebrations as we prepare to mark our 125th anniversary. From the schedule published on the official site, it looks set to be a good day. Later today the club will unveil three statues outside the stadium said to be of Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman.

Every time I go to the Grove this season it feels more and more like home. Seeing these statues put in place will make it feel all the more special. Three Arsenal legends honoured for their commitment and achievements at our club on the weekend of our anniversary weekend.

Whilst the off field celebrations should go as clock work, we've got to hope the team do the stuff on it to ensure we come away with three points from the game. Usually at this time on a Friday I would have the early team news. There is nothing on the official site so I can only assume that the two players we know were injured on Tuesday night in Lukasz Fabianski and Andre Santos will be missing from tomorrow's game.

Wojciech Szczesny will return in goal, so Fabianski's injury shouldn't cause us any problems with Vito Mannone on the bench. There is of course a decision for the manager to make in defence as we're now without any recongised full-backs with Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs set to be unavailable as they continue their recovery from injury.

I can see no other option for Arsene Wenger but to pick Johan Djourou at right back and Thomas Vermaelen at left back for the visit of Everton. I would expect him to pick experience over youth, when it's an option and as we've seen in the Carling Cup there aren't any players who scream out at you from the reserves that would slot into those positions easily. Gone are the days when we had Clichy, Gibbs and then Traore to pick from.

Jack Wilshere spoke with TalkSport yesterday and gave an update on his return from injury.

He said:
"It's coming along well, I'm working hard in the gym every day and feel I'm in good hands at Arsenal. 
"We've had a few injured at Arsenal in recent years, like Aaron Ramsey but they are helping me through it. 
"I can't put a specific date on it, but some time in January I'm hoping for if all goes well."
It will be great to have Jack back in the team. I love his attitude and I think we missed it, especially when the going got tough at the start of the season. With his return to the first team coming soon, it will limit the opportunities for Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin to play, although the young duo don't play in the same position as Wilshere.

As Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph points out, Abou Diaby is also on his way back for injury and it's suggested that Arsene Wenger will assess the situation regarding loaning either or both Frimpong and Coquelin out when Diaby and Wilshere are back to full fitness.

There are a couple of transfer rumours around. The Daily Star and Daily Mail suggest we're going to bid for Chelsea's out of favour defender Alex. Personally I don't see that happening as we have five players who can play in the same position as he does.

The Sun meanwhile are linking us with Blackburn's £7million-rated French midfielder Steven Nzonzi.

And there is continued laughter at Manchester United and Manchester City as well to be had today. It's reported that Channel 5 might not even show their Europa League games. But at least the red half of Manchester have been spared the embarrassment of having to automatically buy tickets for the games. And if you needed any more reason to love Jens Lehmann, he's been giving Manchester City a good kicking as well.

The manager will speak to the media later, so let's hope for some positive news on the injury front.

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