International Weeks are tedium filled at the best of times; Friendlies this early in the season have the X Factor to tip you over the edge. How many of the Arsenal squad will return with niggles and knocks ahead of Manchester City’s is unknown but think of a number, double it and then double it again. Matches such as these are to be blunt, a complete pain in the Arsenal, serving no purpose other than to boost Association coffers.
On the injury front, Physioroom reports that all of the injured members of the squad bar William Gallas will return this weekend which is a boost ahead of the City game, save for niggles picked up this week. This is an issue that the Football Authorities have to address, prior to the resolution of the Charleroi court case. There is simply too much football for the Clubs to accommodate with current squad sizes. At Arsenal, there has already been a stretch with injuries two weeks into the season. Of course, there is an argument that this is of Arsene’s own making, that it is his responsibility however the Authorities have a duty to reschedule the Footballing Calendar to ensure the highest levels of performance. If they do not then the list of those retiring prematurely may grow longer.
Well, that is not strictly true that Friendlies are entirely meaningless from a Club’s point of view. In the case of Theo Walcott, it has been his first full ninety minutes of the season and by all accounts, he was England Under-21’s best player. Well, that is what The Times and The Telegraph think anyway.
For Jens Lehmann, it is a chance to get his eye in again. He is interviewed in this morning’s Sun (it must have been hard for the Sub not to put the word ‘howitzer‘ instead of ‘howler‘ in the headline) and says,
I’m not at all concerned — because the mistakes I made were so simple that they have not made me doubt my basic ability as a goalkeeper
I can think of a fair few people who will disagree with that one, including the two visitors who arrived at this site using a search engine query of ‘Petition to stop Jehns Lehmann‘. What they wanted to stop him doing is unclear as the results were inconclusive. Conceding sloppy goals? Appearing on The X Factor? Seal Clubbing on his holidays? Who knows. Anway, back to Jens. He went on,
I know why it happened. But I’m not going to explain it because there are too many English people around and I don’t want to give anything away…After the first minute I had two very good games against Fulham and Sparta Prague.
It is this last part that is being forgotten; he did exactly that and error aside, on Sunday he looked as if he was heading back towards his best form for the Club. There is no doubt that he has the personal confidence to regain that and I suspect that Arsene will retain him as Number One on an ongoing basis, particularly as Gallas is injured, to bring in a new Centre Back and Goalkeeper could prove too disruptive for what has been an improving backline.