Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Diaby putting club before country? -Giroud's pop at Robin -Rosicky's comback

Morning Gooners.

So Arsene Wenger was again proved right when it he said it was too soon for Abou Diaby to be playing 90 minutes week in, week out. The midfielder has withdrawn from the France squad to face Belarus tonight because of a muscle strain.

That makes Abou's involvement in his fourth back-to-back Arsenal game against Southampton on Saturday a doubt, but maybe he's putting his club career before that of his international one. France should be beating Belarus without him. They're hardly giants of world football and given the resources the French have at their disposal, a victory tonight - even without Diaby - should be expected.

Diaby has played 249 minutes out of a possible 270 minutes so far this term, coming off after 69 minutes of our opening day's fixture with Sunderland at the Grove, to be replaced by Aaron Ramsey.

His performance at Anfield was his best in an Arsenal shirt for some time and displayed exactly the reason why Arsene Wenger has stuck by his countryman. At the moment it is too early to speculate whether he'll be unavailable for the match with newly promoted Southampton.

Until the Frenchman has been assessed by the Arsenal medical staff on his return to London Colney, Arsene Wenger won't have ruled him in or out. But at the moment we have options available to us.

Aaron Ramsey can come in and play in the deep-lying role. Last season the Welshman was played closer to the striker but on occasions was asked to play deeper. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in that role against AC Milan in the Champions League home game and played well. Or the manager could opt for Francis Coquelin who has yet to play a minute of league football this campaign.

Along with Diaby returning to London unable to play his country's second international game of the two fixture break, Theo Walcott was released by England yesterday after coming down with a virus. Quite how serious it is remains to be seen but Roy Hodgson didn't want any of the other players infected, so opted to send Theo back to Arsenal.

However there is slightly more positive news from the French camp regarding Olivier Giroud, who is available for selection for tonight's game.

The forward has been talking about the anticipation which is surrounding him: when will he score his first goal because he's not been able to hit a barn door so far.

He said:

"I'm coming in after someone who scored 30 goals last season, but who took eight years to reach that level. 
"I feel that I have less time to establish myself and that there are more immediate expectations of me."

That certainly feels like a pop at the greedy badger. But he's correct, last season was the Dutchman's best at the club in eight seasons and it did take him six-and-a-half years to reach a period where he was able to spend a length of time off of the treatment table.

As a forward there is always going to be a level of expectation surrounding you once you have joined a new club. Your prime job is to score goals and until you put the ball in the back of the net, people will question whether you are up to the task.

I have no concerns about Giroud. Yes, he's missed two prime opportunities against Sunderland and Liverpool, but he's getting himself in the positions to score which to me is a good sign. He's also got to adapt to the pace and physical nature of the league, so I think it's only right he's cut some slack.

There is positive news emerging from the treatment room at London Colney where it's reported that Tomas Rosicky is within two weeks of returning to full training.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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