You wonder if the brands are that good for each other. Sponsoring a Player of the Month award at a football club seems a good fit for a product based around a healthier way of living but sponsoring that award at a club where the only criteria for winning is being able to walk unaided? It is questionable, isn’t it?
We alll thought that yesterday’s briefing from the manager would leave us with the sum total of one new doubt for the visit of Burnley. Kieran Gibbs early departure at the Stadium of Light was widely assumed to be the precursor for a game or two on the sidelines. It turns out he is hip it’s painful. Sorry, his hip is painful. Gibbs was worried when he visited the medical facilities. The docs pulled out their chart and the full back eyed the scale nervously. He knew it was likely to a quick return but he found himself gazing at the end of the chart that showed a year’s absence. Frightened, he imagined the finger-pointing at ‘Diaby‘, worried that he might endure an indeterminable length of time on the sidelines. He was relieved; miss Burnley to be fit for Anderlecht seems a reasonable trade-off to me.
Arsène has found a new way to spin Abou’s absence. He will, we were told, be a few weeks behind Serge Gnabry who is a couple of weeks away from returning. So Diaby isn’t actually any closer to a return than before, or at least the club aren’t willing to put timescales on it. Perhaps the best thing to do is not mention the player, that way you can’t be accused of tempting fate over him playing in the first team again. If Stephen King hadn’t already used the idea of a gypsy’s curse to such gruesome effect in Thinner, I think I would have used Diaby as the central character in next month’s Nanowrimo in a similar type of tale.
Diaby may not be the only midfield absentee is also rated as doubtful. The story lacks a touch of credibility though; the source is The Sun. But that’s not where the doubts come from. Charlie Wyett, Wapping’s tousle-haired Jason Orange doppelgänger, reckons that Wilshere picked up a knock in training. That suggests an element of physical contact, which we all know doesn’t happen at Arsenal. Maybe it is true, someone actually tackled in training and Jack was so surprised he forgot to hurdle the challenge? Who knows? I suspect we will by the end of today though.
If you are between 20 – 30 and can make it tomorrow, it might be wise to stay by the phone; Arsenal will most likely be working their way through the Members in that age group to see if you can bring a pair of boots with you just in case.
Gibbs injury puts Arsène in a quandary. Does he rest the player knowing that Saturday’s opposition is Burnley, currently bottom of the Premier League and the ideal candidates for Isaac Hayden to make his début against or does he risk Gibbs, knowing that Tuesday’s opponents, Anderlecht and currently bottom of the Champions League group, are the ideal candidates for Hayden to make his European début against? Whilst the medical advice will influence his decision, like every other manager, Wenger will be taking a calculated risk. Is Gibbs more important for the side in the long run, benefitting from missing both games, the gamble being that Hayden may be playing for a number of matches if Gibbs starts against Burnley and worsens his condition.
Personally, I would err on the side of caution and rest Gibbs, using Hayden on the left side of the centre, with the experience of Monreal and Mertesacker to guide him. It leaves Chambers on the right although Wenger may prefer to move him into the centre and play Bellerin instead. Look at that, it’s taken six hundred and fifty or so words to get to the point where you even think I am going to mention the failure to buy Thomas Vermaelen’s replacement is costing us dear. I wasn’t going to but I know you’ve been waiting for it.
No genuinely, can you bring your boots with you tomorrow? Or can we get Wellington Silva in on loan?
It’s no surprise that we are being linked with any player who can walk. Wenger will be signing six or seven players in January, not because of the number of injuries but just to have any hope of having seven substitutes on the bench beside him. Wenger has called them “coincidental injuries” and whilst the club quite rightly gets criticism for some of them, others such as Giroud or Debuchy, leave you wondering what exactly a club employee did to warrant such a curse. What’s Stephen King’s phone number? There is a story in here somewhere.
I wonder what impact it has on the players who are fit? Do they become more fearful or go into challenges a little more reservedly than before? The received footballing wisdom – for all that it is worth – believes that not going into challenges wholeheartedly is the fastest way to injury. These wholehearted challenges are presumably in no way related to the wholehearted challenges which cause injury. It’s easy to presume that the likes of Alexis will be sick to the back teeth of the club, to assume we know how he feels.
We don’t and it’s highly unlikely that a Chilean newspaper does either. I wonder how long it will take before the realisation that the media are the same the world over will sink in. How many years did it take before people accepted that Spanish papers were actually hitting the hornet’s nest? We don’t know how Sanchez feels, even in an interview it would be remarkable if he poured his heart out; everyone keeps something back. And, let’s be honest, away from the pitch, the player is out of his comfort zone. It’s the first non-latin country he’s lived in and whilst London is a vibrant city, there may be a touch of homesickness or a country cousin of it at least, at work.
That’s if he is unhappy in the first place and the basis of the story isn’t a little bit of global marketing on the part of Chile’s premier sports reporters.
Still, it’s not all bad news. At least Yaya Sanogo is back to put pressure on Danny Welbeck for his place in the side.