Friday, 12 April 2013

Rosicky's injury woe -Vermaelen's spirit -Aubameyang scouted -£35m playmaker too expensive?

Morning Gooners.

So it's Norwich this weekend, a game we drew last time they came to the Grove. It's a game the manager has to take seriously because every point matters, but he's also aware we play Everton on Tuesday, with just  74 hours between the matches.

The manager has a selection issue with the news Tomas Rosicky is a major doubt for the match this weekend with "a little hamstring irritation". Quite how long that will keep the Czech international on the sidelines is at present unknown.

But there is good news that Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere will be available for selection as they are, as the manager puts it, "90 per cent available for Saturday".

We know that Thomas Vermaelen will start alongside Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the defence because of Per Mertesacker's one game ban following his sending off at West Brom, but I wonder whether we'll see further changes to the line up with Wenger having 1/10th of an eye on the Everton game.

The manager has called on his team to maintain their fast start to games. With early goals against Bayern, Reading and West Brom, it's put us in a position where teams have to come out and play against us, allowing us more space to play our own game.

Wenger told the official site:
"That shows you that when we start our games in a positive way, we can dominate. 
"Once we are in front, the teams who usually defend against us have to come out and that gives us space to develop our game even better. 
"It shows you just how important the confidence is to go into the games and to have a strong start."
The statistics prove a point. If we've scored first this season, we've gone on to win 16 and drawn two of those 18 games. Putting the ball in the back of the net first is a must for this team.

The manager has praised his captain Thomas Vermaelen for his response to being dropped.

Wenger said:
"He took it in a remarkable way [when he lost his place]. 
"He is a great man and I didn't make him captain by coincidence. I knew there is something mentally special there. He responds in positive situations and in less positive situations like when you don't play. 
"They know there could be rotation with the three centre backs from the start of the season, depending on good and less good periods of any individual player. He [Vermaelen] took that remarkably well."
It was great to hear Vermaelen come out during the international break and say he wasn't surprised by Wenger's decision because he'd not been in the best of form and it was no great shakes. Obviously he wants to play and be first choice but he's prepared for a fight to win his place back.

That's the kind of attitude you want from all your players and while I believe the Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership is the best central defensive pairing at the club, having back up with the quality Vermaelen has is never a bad thing.

It's one of the reasons why the manager and his scouts are looking at Swansea's Ashley Williams. Perhaps not to make him first choice, but to offer us back up and depth we don't currently have.

And that's why the manager will add more attacking options this summer with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the 23-year-old Saint-Etienne striker being scouted. The Daily Mail report Spurs and Newcastle are also watching him.

Another player Wenger coverts is Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze. And while we've had bids knocked back for him in the past, it appears that he's now outside our budget. The likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona could be the only ones who could afford him with a £35m buyout clause, according to the Daily Mail.

The manager will host his press conference later, so we'll sure to get a bit more insight into his thinking of tomorrow's game.

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

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