It has been a busy couple of days for the club for a variety of reasons. For the second time in four days we played a side bedecked in black and white, and although we came away with a win in last night’s CL qualifier, we didn’t look particularly convincing for long periods of the game. Udinese Calcio may sound lik a brand of Italian toothpaste but for a side who are still in a couple of weeks away from the opening game of the Serie A season, they made things pretty uncomfortable for us. Wily Di Natale and his Acme goalscoring boots has been scoring freely in Italy for the last two years and he’ll be disappointed he didn’t manage to bag one last night.
In the end a clean sheet looks like a very good outcome for an Arsenal side weakened by injuries and suspensions, particularly when you consider that Jenkinson had to come on for his CL debut and play out of position at Left Back to replace and injured Djourou in the second half (- does this mean Jenks is both a New Signing and ‘Like A New Signing’ at the same time?). Vermaelen showed why we missed him last season, Koscielny showed why he continues to make Gooners jittery at times, and the midfield demonstrated why we need strengthening in that department immediately. And not only there – Gibbs and Djourou limped out of the game with hamstring problems, which means that Squillaci will feature against Liverpool in some form (hopefully in substitute form, not as a starter). For the love of Chapman, buy a bloody defender – NOW! And a midfielder. And another Centre Forward, come to think of it…
Walcott took his goal well, and he and Gervinho played pretty well, though in truth Theo should have had at least one more, and Gervinho needs to figure out where his teammates are at times. Chesney made a couple of good saves and will be growing in confidence after consecutive clean sheets, even if the first was against an impotent Newcastle side. Ramsey and Rosicky struggled in midfield at times, particularly in the second half. I think Rosicky is a decent honest pro, but he’s not able to take control and bring his teammates with him, and it seems to me there’s a danger he may turn into the new Denilson. So that would make him LAND – ‘Like A New Denilson’. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Off the field, Gervinho’s appeal was dismissed by the FA and Song’s three-match ban was confirmed. Not only that, it seems AW will face UEFA sanction for alleged communication with the bench as he sat in the Director’s Box last night. This is particularly aggravating, as it appears that The Arse checked with officials beforehand as to whether or not he could have Primorac sitting beside him, chattering away on his mobile. If permission was given, I would have thought there would be grounds for an appeal should they extend his touchline ban.
On the transfer front – Eboue has gone to Istanbul to help Galatasaray sacrifice goats or whatever other lunacy they indulge themselves in for pre-match entertainment, while Vela and Botelho have both gone to Spain on loan deals. There’s speculation now that Bendtner may stay after all – perhaps the Manager will retrain him as a Centre -half to avoid ‘overspending’ on a proper bloody defender.
There are no excuses for not buying new players now, unless all other clubs in world football unite against us in an enormous conspiracy to send us to Transfer Coventry (if you see what I mean). We are lacking in every department, except goalkeepers. To say that we have an enormous squad is patently untrue – four players have left in the last three days alone, and Nasri is surely about to bugger off as well. There is money available. We have injuries and suspension problems. How much more blatantly bloody obvious does it have to be, Arsene?
On a more positive note, congratulations to RvP on being named as the new club Captain. Interesting to note that on the club website he refers to the responsibilities faced by players, but not as Captain of The Arsenal. Anyhow, he’s a world-class player and he deserves the honour. Let’s just hope he sticks with us.