The clubs treatment room is getting slightly less crowded this week with Le Boss confirming today that Emmanuel Eboue has returned to training. Not that he is alone in this, as according to Le Boss on the official site,
“Julio Baptista might come back too and William Gallas is very close [to a return]. The news of Theo Walcott’s back is very good. He and Gallas are possibles for the Carling Cup…Lauren is ready to play. He is looking from week to week better and better in training. Emmanuel Adebayor should be back for the Blackburn game.””
Meanwhile the very positive news is that Abou Diaby has recovered from his injury and trained today for the first time,
“It is great news, he had his first complete training session today,” said Wenger. “He is so happy to play and his performance was very positive.”
Whilst it is far too soon to pencil in a return date for Diaby, this is excellent news for the remainder of the season. Given the length of time that both he and Lauren have been absent, it must be like having two new signings for Wenger, the difference being that he knows what they are capable of producing in the Arsenal shirt. Let’s hope that neither suffers any ill-effects from their lay-off. I suspect Lauren will probably return for the Carling Cup tie in midweek, perhaps even at left back allowing Eboue to return on the right. I cannot see Diaby being anywhere near ready before the end of the month, perhaps a Carling Cup semi-final should we qualify for them. Oh, and Freddie’s not far from fitness either. I can see that you are as underwhelmed by that as I am.
It is a tough week coming up for the team and the return to fitness of a large number of the walking wounded should allow Arsene to field a strong side in each of the games. With RvP and Fabregas missing tomorrow, there must be a temptation to play them on Tuesday giving that team some semblance of strenght. Equally though there will be the thought of leaving them out to give them a weeks break ready for a Blackburn team that will be hell bent on revenge following their 6 – 2 defeat at The Emirates on the Saturday before Christmas.
The Carling Cup team will have to include a fair smattering of regulars (or returning to fitness regulars) as a number of departees are forming an orderly queue behind Joe O’Ceaurill, who went to Brighton yesterday, his winter break is expected to last more than a month. Anthony Stokes meanwhile continues to attract attention from all and sundry, Ipswich joining the list of Middlesbrough and Wolves who have expressed an interest on taking him on loan. Falkirk meanwhile have still not given up on him returning North of the Border although I suspect that as each day goes by, that outcome becomes less likely. But The Sun Says reports that the club have accepted a £2.7m bid from Charlton. Personally, I find that more than a little disappointing as having led the scoring charts in Scotland, he is now not apparently being given a chance at Arsenal. With Lupoli reportedly preferring to move back to Serie A than sign a new deal at the club, two of the young prospects who we have heard much about from within and without, will have moved on, their fortunes being made elsewhere. Meanwhile, Jeremie Aliadiere remains despite spurning opportunities to shine? For once, I am not convinced that “Arsene Knows Best” is the correct mantra; the only thing that stops me wholeheartedly is that he has seen these players in action on a regular basis and we have not. I have a horrible feeling that this is the one which he will look back on and say, “Whoops!“, whilst I am sure it is not, but mindful that it could be a dose of Fergie-esque pique at not being obeyed by a young player to go back on loan, so he is shown the door. If it is, he has at least avoided telling the clubs best centre-half and centre-forward to bugger off.
Back tomorrow with an FA Cup Special. Well, I say Special, more likely that it will be more of the same except about an FA Cup tie.
Despite having a poor year by their standards, Arsenal and their staff have faired well in recent weeks in awards. Firstly Faye White was awarded an MBE for her services to the women’s game whilst the World Soccer Awards saw Thierry Henry third in the Player of the Year category, Arsene fifth in Manager of the Year and Arsenal seventh in Team of the Year. Compared to our supposed betters in the Premiership, Drogba was sixth in Player of the Year, Mourinho and Ferguson were fourth and tenth, and Chelsea ninth respectively. But the best performance (and they still got it wrong) was Cesc Fabregas who was runner – up to Lionel Messi in the Young Player of the Year category. You can find the results on the World Soccer site