Friday, 19 October 2012

Walcott, Gibbs and Fabainski injured -Arteta's "honour" -£15m Lopez targeted -Wilshere's call-up?

Morning Gooners.

The anticipation is certainly building as Arsenal prepare to head into tractor country tomorrow for their game with Norwich. The injury news isn't too positive. Theo Walcott is out for the next two games while he recovers from a bruised lung. Kieran Gibbs won't have any involvement this weekend either as he's not fit yet but should also be back for the QPR game next weekend.

The manager has confirmed that Lukasz Fabianski was set to see a specialist yesterday about his ankle ligament problem. While Wojciech Szczesny is still the mythical two weeks away from being available.

We might have expected that the manager's prediction of having Abou Diaby available after the international break was optimistic and that's proved to be the case. The midfielder is now a few weeks away from a return to the first team. As is Tomas Rosicky who's yet to kick a football this season.

However the manager has confirmed that Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will be in the squad for tomorrow's game following his cameo for England on Wednesday afternoon.

It's away from home where we've seen our best results and performances this season. Three wins and two solid draws and  the manager believes because the games are more open, we've been allowed the freedom needed to get results on the road.

He said:

"The games are a bit more open and because we have a positive attitude away from home. 
"Sometimes we take more advantage of our chances [on the road]. I’m very happy with the behaviour of the team, [be it] away from home or at home. 
"Maybe [we’ve] played with less freedom at home - with a bit more pressure. Let’s do well at Norwich, and I think that will put the team in a better position at home as well."
The feel good factor should be around the squad following our win at Upton Park. It was important to go into the international break with three points following our very disappointing display at home to Chelsea. With two of the leagues bottom three sides to play this month, we've got to ensure maximum points in both of them if we are to have any chance of competing for the title.

With Gibbs out, Santos will come in for him and I'm sure the manager will not want to curb the Brazilian's attacking style of play. But we need to be careful not to be exposed on the left. I'm sure the Brazilian will be told in no uncertain terms by the manager and Steve Bould what is expected from him. And when he's on the pitch Lucas Podolski will offer him protection.

And I'm sure that our vice captain Mikel Arteta will also have a word. It will be interesting to see Santos play in the league for the first time this season and see what kind of effect Steve Bould's had on him. With both Santos and  Carl Jenkinson remaining at London Colney during the international break, I would have imagined Bould would have done some extra work with both full backs on their games.

Arteta is another player who has remained in London for the last two weeks. And he's been speaking about the honour of being appointed vice captain.

The Spaniard said:

"For me it’s a big honour [to be vice-captain]. I haven’t been here for a long time. If he [Arsène Wenger] thinks I’m the right person to help Thomas [Vermaelen] lead this group, I’m more than happy with that. 
"I take it very seriously and try to benefit the interests of the players and the Club. That’s what I will try to do this season."
I'm been so impressed with Mikel in his new role. He's vital to the team and I'm sure the manager must want to wrap him up in cotton wool the minute he leaves the pitch. I know Wenger had a difficult choice when deciding who to give the armband to when the greedy badger left. But he opted for Vermaelen as he's been vice captain to the Dutchman. Arteta was however very close to being appointed captain.

And so to the transfer tittle tattle making this morning's papers. Two stories from the Daily Mail. The first of which says the manager will go in for Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez in January offering £15m for the player.

While the paper says we're also keen on Lopez's international team-mate Fernando Llorente. However Juventus are set to offer the forward £145,000-a-week.

And finally, even without kicking a ball this season, Stuart Pearce is earmarking Jack Wilshere for a place in  his England under-21 squad for Euro 2013 in Israel. It might be an idea for Jack to play some football for Arsenal before England - at any level - start thinking about calling him up.

The manager has an early press conference at 9am before training, so expect his views and the rest of the team news then.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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