On Rosicky, Podolski, Fitness & Recovery

hehAah, I love Saturday’s; 3pm is not that far away and then it’s…oh. Still, Skint & Demoralised will get you all misty-eyed about that one in this week’s playlist, the wittily titled When Saturday Comes, on the right-hand sidebar or here. For Arsenal it is a case of waiting until Monday. The rest has been beneficial for Arsène as he seeks to recuperate his squad and take advantage of the relatively light fixture list at the moment. 

Transfer speculation is a necessary evil in the game and Arsenal, whether they like it or not as a club, are the prime focus this winter with the injury to Theo Walcott. Arsène would have none of this if he ruled the world; January would be the month of broken promises, nothing more,

The transfer market is a distraction that for me is not welcome. I think it would be much better that there is no transfer market at all in January and the team starts and finishes with the same players would be fair

There is a caveat, of course,

unless you have big injuries.

Which is exactly where Arsenal find themselves, isn’t it? I understand – sympathise, even – with Wenger’s frustrations. No matter where he turns, there is scouting advice and questions that are the footballing equivalent of “Are we there yet?“. He has to show the same phlegmatic exasperation as all parents when those words dance through the air. Arsène would prefer the league be treated as the marathon it is so often called. It is not immediately apparent when he would not have called upon some mid-season transfer window since moving to The Emirates, such has his ill-fortune with injury been in that time. But, as with the Away Goals Rule, it is what it is and we move on, especially since this morning had encouraging noises being made about contracts.

Tomas Rosicky, according to the manager, will be here in the summer. Arsène could have hardly eulogised more about the player  – “He is certainly a typical Arsenal player in the way that he is mobile, technically sound and team orientated, so he is a fantastic football player“-  and rightly so, his form a continued reminder of how much of his prime was lost through injury. Recent noises from media interviews suggested that Rosicky was not taking anything for granted nor committing to Arsenal beyond the summer. Insiders were quoted as authority for the assertion that Wenger wanted the Czech to play 25 games this seasons. He’s not far off that now and if that benchmark really existed, he is showing little sign of ill-effect at approaching it. Indeed, the player indicated that the volume of injuries had prolonged his career, saving him from wear-and-tear that would have normally visited his playing career at this stage. No pain, no gain, indeed.

Bacary Sagna is the other issue at hand, neither side commenting openly on the situation beyond ongoing talks. He is free to sign pre-contracts with another club if he so desires and reports this morning suggest Galatasaray are willing to pay him £75k per week after tax as opposed to the same amount before the government takes their cut. There is a universal desire among the support that the club reach agreement with Sagna, a testament to the player’s consistency which is showing little sign of dropping despite an unsettling situation.

Focus though is probably on the trip to Villa Park. Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen are missing whilst Kieran Gibbs is in the running although doing so may aggravate his calf. With a perfectly good replacement in Nacho Monreal, is there any rush to bring the England international back into the team? Injuries dominate his thinking, recuperation key to team selection. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may feature and Arsène would have no qualms about using the midfielder despite only 45 minutes of reserve team action against Fulham since returning to training.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is “in the same position” as Lukas Podolski, according to the manager. Both are recovering from long-term injury and not yet fully match-fit. Whilst Wenger did not hesitate with the midfielder, he was more guarded in his view on Podolski,

He has been out for four months and after being available, it doesn’t mean you are competitive in the Premier League. It takes some time to come back. This week he looked sharper in training so he’s getting closer now to being completely fit again. He’s certainly one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen. When he is physically ready, he will of course help us. If there’s one you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it’s him.

It sounds to the outsider, as if there are lingering doubts about the German’s fitness. Was he rushed back or brought into the squad ahead of plan because the team had encountered a rough patch before Christmas or was it needs must with others stats suggesting a rest was needed? Whatever the case, it sounds as if there is still a way to go for Podolski before he is ready for the rigours of competition on a twice-weekly basis as cup and league competitions intertwine in the fixture list.

It is somewhat unfair to compare the recoveries of Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain in many respects, particularly with the different natures of their injuries. The German’s benefit to the team was seen in his return at Upton Park but whether he is as much of an asset to the team in the central striking role that Arsène believes, is debatable. Some enthuse about his use there but sometimes it feels as if his strengths are underplayed in such a role. His finishing is not questioned but is he a genuine replacement for Giroud in the Frenchman’s absence? I am not convinced it is anything beyond a game or two; he is far more effective supporting such a striker and not being the lead role, something which I thought was evident when Giroud was suspended as last season drew to a close. The manager sees him on a daily basis and knows better how the team fits together but let’s not forget he is hamstrung by the squad rules and transfer windows…

’til Tomorrow.

46 thoughts on “On Rosicky, Podolski, Fitness & Recovery

  1. good post..
    glad le ox is back but i think ppl are overstating his return as a saviour now theos crocked..hes probably 4 weeks away from full match fitness and your bodys more open to injury after a long term injury so id keep ze serge in the team..for now..

    glad rosickys stuck about..dont personally regard him as a first teamer anymore but a quality experienced pro to have in the squad nonetheless..good for the youngsters…

    sagna needs to be kept but at this stage i think hes gone and i dont think it will be to a turkish side..i think hes heading back to france…

  2. i dont think wengers looking this window either..
    we had big injuries when we had no fullbacks for 2 month and he did nothing…
    weve lost theo but weve hardly had him all season i cant see wenger being extremely worried..
    bendtners played about 4 games so hes no reason to plunge into the market either..if girouds fit and sanoshow is found the manager will be confident..

    with the injuries to ze hammer and theo weve moved back to the 451 and it wouldnt suprise me if we are sticking to it now we are at the top of the table..its here to stay so i think the next big buy could well be draxler and the free scoring cf we think we needed wont be coming..

    next summers splurge could well be a cheap rb a cheap cb becuase of sagnas departure and draxler..

    we’ll go with what weve got this window..

    now go prove me wrong 🙂

  3. I agree with YW on Podolski not being an answer if Giroud is not playing. He`s had 4 or 5 goes at it & not shown anything.

    The key for LP is too get him on the ball within shooting range so you would think playing as far up the pitch as possible woould be perfect but it somehow just doesn`t work.

    Jon Jon, I totally agree about the Oxo kid. Bring him back slowly. Gnabry deserves a run in the side plus it`s good for our youth to see one of their own breakthrough.

    We seem to play better with TR7 in the side so he`s more than a squad player for me. All those injuries robbed us of so much more.

    With regards to transfers , I`d love our right Bac to stay. He`s in good nick , a model professional & part of an improving defence. Just pay him whatever & move on. It`ll cost us more in terms of £ & the pain of settling a new boy than what it`s worth saving on a few grand on Sagna`s wages.

    The striker situation is where we really should make a move but it`s not easy in January. Knowing Arsene he`ll gamble on OG staying fit , with NB52 as back up, whilst saying the club are making every effort to bring someone in.

  4. Jon…

    if you don’t regard Rosicky as a ‘first teamer anymore’ then who is?

    He has been our sine qua non in many games, indispensable… with Ramsey out and JW struggling to hold on to the ball we are in his debt.

  5. 1 point off villa ain’t good enough. I want them put to the sword. Wouldn’t be surprised if Ben happened to find his form for this game.

  6. blazon
    unfair to mention rambo…
    hes out performed rosicky this season by a long stretch…

    but yes, PW we sometimes look good when rosickys in the side because hes not a tippy tappy midfielder he drives the ball forward and makes the transition from defence and attack a swift one…

    id be interested to know what ppls first teams are when everyones fit, because il be honest..hes not in mine..but neither is monreal, TV,, flamini, cazorla…just for example..
    but when is the squad fully fit?? so its good to have a shit hot bench as well..

    which to be fair, in the main, is what weve had this season..weve been able to cover injuries and chop and change lineups and everyone contributed and weve picked up the results..

  7. Chelsea is winning. We need another striker and an attacling midfielder. we need to get wins.Chamberlain will help. theo will be out. how long depends how serious the ACL is.. How much effort and work he puts into the rehab. I have seen some comeback in three months. I think Theo will be out the rest of the seaosn. That is pushing it. Walcott’s loss will hurt but we can survive.

  8. It was interesting listening to AW’s press conference yesterday. The press seemed to jump on his comments regarding Real Madrid when asked if we were in discussions with them. He said something along the lines of, we are not in talks with RM………about a loan. He was also questioned about whether he was looking at players in positions other than the forward role, to which he replied that we had enough cover in the other positions.
    Given that AW is clearly not a fan of the mid season transfer window, I agree that we are more likely to wait until the summer and play out the season with OG and NB as cover, it was what we had before Walcott returned from injury. I personally think its a brave decision and we have seen similar decisions backfire before (a fit Diaby being injured almost as soon as the window closes). I’ve said before that we should be looking to replace NB in this window and I’m pretty sure there is someone available who would be better than him (even if we just went for Berbatov as the stop gap).

  9. I would still like benteke not ucl cup tied probably get for £15-£20m bargain for the short and long term.

  10. I take your point about our first XI , Jon Jon but like you say it`s almost never an option for AW.

    If we aren`t going to bring anyone in this window he`s going to have to juggle his balls better than Dirk Diggler until the summer.

  11. Another top post Yogi.

    I do think that Podolski was brought back a bit too early and wasn’t completely fit. I think having both him and Ox back will be massive as teams were starting to pack the midfield in our 451 formation and having one of those players on the pitch is massive to getting the best out of team. With Theo back we had a natural finisher and I think Podolski will step into that spot now.

    Another striker or winger to be brought in is IMHO necessary. Arsene was going after one in the summer and that was when we had Theo and now we don’t so it is really necessary.

    We are seeing the best of Mozart now that he has gotten over his injury problems. What a fantastically brilliant player and truly a joy to watch. He is the player that Jack should be paying attention to.

  12. Chamakh is absolutely running the show against Spuds. Puncheon shouldn’t have taken that penalty which he fired miles wide and high. Chamakh has had 2 chances clearly going in, only to be blocked away by his own player. Spuds look shit and Palace look good. Commentators are saying that Ade and Soldado are really lazy strikers and that the matches where they play hard are an anomaly.

  13. Reports are coming out of France that Pogba maybe set to join PSG and if so then I say we make a run at Blaise Matuidi who is set to be out of contract in the summer.

  14. well,if people have noticed,rosicky has been our go to player in the big games when he’s fit,so he’s defenately in my first eleven,quite snapy in his tackles and gives us the drive and energy that we sometimes lack,but when playing with carzola id prefer rosicky to be coming in from the left because he offers more defensive cover than santi,and santi absolutely hates it on the left,he cant control the game and ping the ball around like he does in the middle,moral of the story,our left side is a bit of a problem because no one wants to play there!

  15. @Yogi

    I agree but wouldn’t be a bad get. 26 years old, techinically good, shields the back 4 well but can play as a box to box type and Arteta and Flamini will need to be replaced/covered sooner rather than later.

  16. Fair point C. However, it raises several questions. For example, is BM patient enough to wait whilst MA and MF wind down their careers or would he expect to usurp both? Personally, I can’t see MA ‘going quietly’ with his form this season. Equally, MA will pick up a notch. Competition is good nonetheless. The question is whether anyone else will come to attention between now and the summer. You’ve really got to want a player to sign them now, be sure there’s no better. Would be no surprise if club did pick up BM if no-one else was interested though.

  17. @Yogi

    I completely agree with everything you said there. The thing I think with Arteta is that he is known to take a knock and miss several matches a season so there would most definitely be plenty of matches to play. Also I do think that BM would come in and at that point he would either force Arteta to raise his level and keep his place or become 2nd choice per say. I would tend to think should we pick him up in the summer, BM would be a tad more patient seeing as though he would he bought but would already be on his way to the World Cup. Competition for places is what keeps teams and clubs pushing forward.

  18. @LSG

    No he hasn’t as Lyon refused to sell to Napoli and there was a war of words between the clubs at several levels. Lyon did turn down a 17M bid from Napoli.

    I agree he would be perfect and if I had my choice as always it would be Gonalons but Matuidi on a free(should he not re-up with PSG) wouldn’t be a bad option 2.

  19. if hes french and free wenger will take him..

    but in all seriousness i dont think matuidis any better than le coq…
    matuidi was one of those golden generation of young french midfielders tipped to take europe by storm along with mvila, capoue, sissoko…
    mvila was my favorite and kind of shot himself in the bollox before he was exiled to russia and if the price was right id still take him and give him a few slaps and try save his career…but i didnt see anything in any of them that le coq couldnt do.they were just getting 50 games a season and doing it every week…
    although pogbas an absolute monster and crept in under the radar and as soon as he played 50 games in a good side he stood out..but le coq might do that if he plays 50 games for us….

    but he cant, because artetas an absolute rock…and flaminis shown us why we shouldnt have tried to flog him to birmingham…then you got players like rambo whos top tackler and goalscorer..and dont forget rosicky whos first name on the teamsheet 🙂 bottom line is unless we are splashing the cash and bringing someone in of top quality theres no point…because he wont get into the team..he wont even get on the bench and he’ll end up out on loan..

    i dont know what AWs plan is with le coq, whether hes in the shop window or whether hes giving him games until arteta rosicky and flamini are ready to hand over the baton..could be another couple of years..

  20. @JJ

    I tend to agree with some of what you say but disagree with some of what you say. I do think Le Coq is a good player but I don’t think he will be back and he’s not in Pogba, Capoue, Gonalons class IMHO. I think they are different types of players with Le Coq more of a box to box type while Pogba is by far the best of the lot and Gonalons, M’villa and Capoue more midfield anchors who are technically sound. The physicality that they bring is what sets them apart from Le Coq. Its what we miss with Diaby out.

    The issue with that generation of midfielders is that they all play as either a back 4 shield or deep lying playmaker and the French Manager never seemed to be able to pick the right 2 not to mention their ACM was consisently underwhelming.

    M’villa I had wanted before he went off his rocker and if Arsene could do a job on him, sure he is a very talentes boy no doubt but my favorite was always Gonalons then Capoue(who made a terrible decision to go to Spuds). I think those 2 would be brilliant in our side.

    Again if we bring in top talent then obviously Arsene thinks that they can be first choice. If Gonalons comes then I personally think Arteta would either have to raise his level of play or become 2nd choice. But again that’s just my personal feeling and I’m not knocking Arteta or Flamini because both have been brilliant!

  21. thats the thing though C..

    i dont think its a defensive holding player we need although i do agree about the physicality…
    i think the days of a pure defensive anchor man are gone…we dont need one, its the whole point of playing a 3 man midfield, or a 5 man midfield whatever…safety in numbers and all that jazz..im not a fan of you do this role and i will do that one and whatnot…im a fan of complete players who can do everything which is what the box to box midfielder does…and if youve got a few of them in your squad your midfields a machine that can move between defence and attack with ease..as one..at the same time..which is what vieira and edu did..(loved bertie but vieira/edu combo was the best ive seen)
    agree about the physicality
    which is why id love pogba becuase he can do everything..and hes not two foot and a tab end (which is what matuidi is by the way, hes a munchkin, but to be fair the likes of makalele, essien and flamini have shown you can do a job without being built like a monster)
    all that said, im a huge fan of khedira…and if we can take ozil off them id like to beleive we can take him..
    lars bender

    my personal faves in that order

  22. yeah i suspect that too bob..
    a real pity..but apparently hes not having fun in germany, theyve been using him as a winger i beleive and i read a bild report a bit back saying he was the 3rd worst player in the league 🙁

  23. NEver liked le coq, went to ground to often, bit like Mozart.
    WIth the technical players we have I would have thought the pong would be learning and makin a break through. COuld he possibly become a rb maybe?

  24. dont think frimpong will make it..not good enough as well as being abit of a loose cannon..

    you still need good technique to be able to tackle..especially these days or your a red card waiting to happen..
    always liked frimpong as well but i cant see him having a future with us..

  25. Hope not, I hope he makes it. Surely his tech can’t be that bad to be with us in the first place. Would solve a few problems if he came good.

  26. …………………………Giroud…………………………….

    Santi for Podolski and Ox for Gnabry. Get the goal early with Podolski’s diretness or maybe Santi first and Ox, Gnabry and Podolski after the half. Villa can get very open on the flanks going forward.

  27. With regard DM, this is a bit old fashion these days.

    many teams do not play with ‘DM’s anymore.

    We certainly don’t and have been very effective with Arteta or Flamini, neither big men. Arteta is more a pivot where Flamini is a box to box albeit both have been more discipline and restrictive with ovement with defensive cover the first on the agenda.

    That said, the extra height which Diaby brings and his drive from deep are assets we clearly miss. Where jack can replicate some of that vertical drive to glide past 1-2 players we lack a bit of protection from Diaby or Viera’s height. OTOH, the game in England has changed with more foreign players these days and better (foreign) managers. There by the long (hopeful) ball game is not quite as prevailent anymore and a lot moves around on the deck.

    Kayoute at Anderlecht is worth watching. There are rumours that we are tacking him (along with Liverpool)

    @24, the Senegalese is 6’4 and plays at Cback but has technical ability to be an offensive threat going forward through midfield more in the mold of Yahya Toure than Diaby.

    Considering we have issues even keeping our third choice Cback Vermaelen happy on the bench, this could be a good recourse whilst likely covering the loss of Diaby when/if we release him this summer due to injury history.

    Arteta- Flamini -Kayoute will keep our midfield very secure and with sufficient depth.

    Per- Koscielny- Vermaelen- Kayoute- Sagna will keep our Cback position well stocked.

  28. Don’t see a future for Frimpong with us.

    Coquelin will depend on how he fares with his club when on loan. Probably difficult to break in with Flamini set to continue for another 3 seasons and Arteta possibly for another 1-2.

    Coquelin could develop into a good Flamini replacement but age is a bit against him now and he has to consider kicking off his career properly.

    I expect Arsene will give him some serious thought this summer.

    Another position which I always thought he may have done well would be at LB where I remain a bit unconvinced by Jenkinson. In that there will be choice for a Sagna replacement should the French man choose to move on. Debuchy and seamus Coleman are both good options with PL experience and Coquelin’s problems are further complicated with Bellerin who will push for a spot in the RB berth.

  29. @JJ

    Hence why Gonalons is top of my list. He is a player that started off as the most advanced midfielder who was dropped deeper when Lyon bought Gourcoff in the attempts to have both of them on the pitch at once. Gonalons is top of my list because he is IMHO the perfect replacement for Arteta. They play in a 3 man midfield with Grenier and Gourcoff with Gonalons playing the “Arteta” role while still being only 24.

    Khederia would be good and I rate Bender brothers.

  30. Le Coq hasn’t been very good at all in Germany and I think he would do well in Spain though.

    They have played him centrally and as a winger and hasn’t been good in either spot which is a shame because he is a good player.

    Frimpong would do well if he could play in that old fashion DM role at a mid table team.

  31. @Santori

    At LB we are fine with Nacho and Gibbs lol.

    RB, I do think Jenks has the make up to be a good replacement but Bellerin in a season or 2 will surely be pushing for a spot and I tend to rate him a little more than Jenks due to his technical talents both attacking wise and defensively.

  32. i used to rate gonalons but ive not seen him play for a while..looked good as a youngster but i remember he had a dodgy ankle at one bit..

    yeah i think felliani would be awesome in our team..it hasnt worked out at manutd but to be fair none of their players have looked good this season..just becuase utd bought him and theyve been shit doesnt mean hes shit…henry never worked out at juve, bergkamp didnt work out and inter its just the way it is sometimes id still take felliaini now but the chances are it wont happen so move onto other targets…

  33. He has gotten over those ankle injuries he had in his youth and is now bossing the midfield. Even though Lyon has struggled, Ginalons has been outstanding. A player that was groomed to captain his side since his youth days with the club. He’s my choice.

    I wasn’t sold on Fellani before and not sold on him not. Powerful yes, but technically as I said in the summer he leaves a lot to be desired though he is a ackward looking player but he just never has done it for me.

  34. Interesting quotes from Arsene about Ox saying that he thinks centrally is where he envisions him, comparing him to Steven Gerrard. If that is the case then we will be well stocked centrally for years to come with creative type and now must reinforce on the wing as currently there is Ox, Theo, Podolski and Gnabry with Santi more than capable of playing there.

  35. @C

    Haha … I meant RB of course Blimey. I feel bellerin may take the step up very shortly. he is 19 and a bout the same age when Gibbs did. But we should have someone more experience shielding him as he rises and he should go head to head with Jenkinson.

    Agree with Coquelin. Seems to be struggling a bit. Had much promise with pace as an asset but lost a bit of focus (tried to do too much, and pace became an enemy). Problem is timing for him, he needs to accelerate his career now but there is a good option at RB coming up. As a holding player, he had Arteta and Flamini ahead, doesn’t add physical presence. His best bet is as a Flamini replacement but Matthieu is going no where for at least the next 2 seasons. Alas.

    As you chaps rightly mention, Gonalons looks to me a bit less of a Capoue or that sort and a bit more of an Arteta with some height. Could be interesting for us and very gettable since Aulus seems intent on selling all his jewels as Lyon continue to struggle. Possibilities. I believe we were also keeping track of Grenier last summer but that looks more offensive minded.

    Pogba doesn’t seemed the settled sort as impressive as he has been. He has barely moved over to Juventus and is itching for a move again. I smell trouble, no thanks.

    Bender seems a bit more like Arteta/Flamini.

    Madrid would be foolish to part with Khedira but I would think this time round, the hounds will be out from the other clubs.

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