Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Szczesny "injured" -Walcott told to sign on -Bould steps into Wenger's shoes

Morning Gooners.

The manager hosted his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight's game and the team news is mixed. First choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is "injured" - an ankle problem he picked up in the warm up against Southampton on Saturday. If he was injured prior to the game I would certainly question why he started.

Had any other player been injured in the warm up they wouldn't have started the game last weekend. So I question why Szczesny was allowed to start. And to add to his ankle problem, he was only that game returning to first team action following a rib injury.

I have to admit I didn't notice anything wrong with Szczesny. His distribution was still poor. And we all know he was at fault for the goal we conceded. In the past Arsene Wenger has created fake injuries for his players in order to drop them. I'm not saying that's what he's done with Szczesny because it would be a huge risk given that we've got our fifth choice goalkeeper on the bench tonight.

But it wouldn't surprise me either. Wenger can be ruthless and if he feels that Szczesny has become complacent then he has every right to drop him until the Poland international's form and mindset improves.

The other team news is that Abou Diaby returns to the squad after missing the game at the weekend.

I would expect the manager to make a few changes to freshen the team up. I wouldn't be surprised to see Laurent Koscileny and Andre Santos given starts and maybe a couple of changes in midfield with both Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin pushing for places.

Olivier Giroud will want to start against his former club and I would be surprised if Wenger didn't given him the nod. We really need him to get off the mark and at his former ground wouldn't be a bad place to start.

I would be surprised to see Theo Walcott start. It seems the manager is genuinely frustrated with his contract situation at the club. And I believe he should only pick him where it is absolutely necessary for the team.

I don't believe the manager should tie one hand behind his back and leave Walcott out of the squad altogether because that wouldn't make sense. As much as I can see there being a strong case for leaving him out of the squad to rot in the reserves until he signs a new deal, I don't believe that we would be as strong without him as with him.

Wenger will tonight start the first of a three match UEFA touchline ban. Steve Bould will take charge of first team affairs, with the manager having no influence on the team once they arrive at the stadium.

The manager has already been asked whether Bould has what it takes to succeed him just months after being promoted into the assistant manager's role. Wenger was of course very diplomatic about it and of course Bould will be in the frame when the time comes but it's just too soon in my opinion to be even talking about that.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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