Ghosts, Ciao Poldi & New Signing Imminent?

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Morning all, FA Cup Third Round weekend is under way with Cardiff City taking on Colchester United in a Friday nightmare for BBC Wales with the lowest ever attendance at their home ground. It reminded me of the photos of Darlington’s monument to their then-chairman’s folly, The Reynolds Arena; not just swathes of seats empty but whole stands.

Fair play to the BBC’s website who were in no doubt that the blame lay with Russell Slade and not their choice of a dreary cup-tie to televise.

Indeed, the ghosts which haunt Arsenal’s defence were probably there, making their most of a Friday night off. It’s an Arsène-inspired playlist this morning and with its’ title, Ghosts, you can take a guess at the theme. The merriment can be found be found in the right sidebar on Dad’s Jukebox, on the page of the same name or in your web browser, here.

The club’s first business of the transfer window will be completed imminently it appears, with Lukas Podolski leaving for Internazionale. Straight to Godwin’s Law in one sentence. The fee ensures that Arsenal are well on course to make a profit in the transfer window and the revenues have eased the cashflow worries about paying another fee to KSE for services rendered.

It isn’t hard to find criticism of the deal, Podolski’s popularity is such that his overall contributions are ignored. There’s no doubt he was a useful player and a reputation of being the best finisher, whilst anecdotal, was based in an element of truth. The murmurings of discontent are more to do with the current state of affairs than a genuine upset at Podolski’s departure.

The sale is part of the strategy Wenger mentioned in a recent press conference with Bordeaux seemingly the most likely destination for Yaya Sanogo. Aston Villa are the English club most closely linked to the young striker, although a strange fit; a club which is struggling for goals signing a striker struggling for goals is just about as weird a loan deal as signing him permanently in the first place.

As they depart, Arsenal are looking to seal their first arrival with Timothy Claypole set to arrive for an undisclosed fee. His versatility is most welcome and his ability to pop up anywhere, often unnoticed until he is in position, will help to cover if Laurent Koscielny’s lacklustre defending is to continue.

There’s a great photo this morning’s Daily Heil with the look on Koeman’s face a mixture of ‘I feel for you, brother’ whilst barely stopping short of laughing like a drain at the sheer incompetence on display.

Ahead of tomorrow’s cup tie with Hull City, Wenger observed that May’s win at Wembley was a boost for the club. It’s something he wants to repeat and as has been the case for the last decade or so, represents Arsenal’s best chance of a trophy.

We’ve got our Arsenal back. The 1978 – 80 version this time, a good cup side but hopelessly off the pace in the league.

Arsène is right, there’s nothing like a cup run to lift the spirits as last season proved. The relief was as much about lifting the millstone of trophyless years as being two-down and winning the final. Losing to Hull didn’t bear thinking about, no matter how much the reality stared us in the face.

It was a match though, which had no bearing on his future. Arsène made it clear that he was remaining in charge no matter what,

Walk away? No. I have just won my 600th game out of 1,000 – that means I have won 60 per cent of the games and after 18 years, you would not be serious to walk away for losing one game. I do my job as well as I can and I respect my contract.

An interesting phraseology and one open to interpretation. Is it as clear-cut as the headline writers and journalists think? His contract expired last summer and he could have walked away, out of contract. But confirmation of Ivan’s view that the new deal was agreed well before the end of the season and all that remained was for it to be signed. Why they waited to announce in the summer is curious but unimportant.

Leaving aside the dubious maths, the manager is in a tough spot over tomorrow’s team. David Ospina is fulfilling the cup goalkeeper role as opposed to any punishment being levied on Wojciech Szczesny. If the Colombian remains between the sticks for the visit of Stoke City to The Emirates in a week’s time, then the Pole knows he has been held mostly culpable for the result at St Mary’s.

In my view, such a reaction would be knee-jerk and the manager can ill-afford such violence in his emotions. Szczesny went into the game off the back of one his best performances of the season but instead of bravado, he was a quivering wreck. What induces such an almost inexplicable change, particularly as the first choice back four was in situ.

For me, that is the most worrying aspect of it all. Who fed that nervousness; the band was back together and the return to the relative parsimony was expected. Is it as simple as Mertesacker believes? Are injuries really to blame? How does that explain away Southampton since it was the strongest back four; it doesn’t.

That Szczesny was repeating mistakes made by Fabianski (for Mane’s opener) and a lack of leadership for the second – as I pointed out yesterday, the Pole could not pick the ball up so why did Debuchy or Mertesacker not hack it away rather than leave an almost prone goalkeeper to deal with it?

There were other incidents such as Koscielny ceding possession which ended in a shot cleared off the line with an inability or unwillingness on the Frenchman’s part to recover position or the ball. It’s more than simply being unfamiliar with each other due to absences caused by injury. There is a fragility in the squad which needs freshening up. Improvement not back-up has to be the order of this transfer window.

We shall see, there are still more than four weeks to go. If new arrivals happen, this window will be successful. There’s no point saying this week or putting any timescale beyond that. This is Arsenal, we don’t do urgency in January.

’til Tomorrow.

178 thoughts on “Ghosts, Ciao Poldi & New Signing Imminent?

  1. I think people are pretty harsh with Wilshere too, as if his current injury is the same as the others. He was pretty much cut in half by that ManU defender. Anybody would have got injured by that tackle.

  2. The impact injuries such as Giroud are bad luck.

    Part of the problem with the injuries is related to the fact that we have more then our share of injury prone players in our roster. Which team would not be high on the injury list if they had Diaby, Sanogo, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky, Vermalaen, Gibbs, Walcott, Wilshere etc etc on their roster. Other teams have injury prone players such as Phil Jones or Sergio Aguero and they spend lots of time on the injured list with muscle pulls and other non impact injuries. We just happen to have a larger number of players like that compared to most teams. That may not explain everything but its by far the most logical explanation for why we lead the league in muscular injuries.

  3. Birdkamp, Jack’s initial problem was a stress fracture of the ankle brought on by overplaying him in his first full season (49 games at 18/19 years old, even Arsene admitted that he overplayed him). In the last two years he’s had NINETEEN recorded injuries, ELEVEN of which were ankle related. It doesn’t take a genius to see that although in isolation each individual injury can be attributed to one thing or another, the pattern is very clear. Unless he’s the unluckiest player that ever lived, and Arsene is the unluckiest manager.

  4. Some players are just not built to play a sport like football and I think Diaby fits in that category. David Woodgate is another who comes quickly to mind and I am sure there are others.

    There are other players who play as many minutes as JW but very few get stress fractures. Blaming all of Jacks subsequent problems on Arsene for overplaying him that first season is probably not realistic. I suspect that struggling with injuries is just an unfortunate part of Jack’s protoplasm.

  5. Sorry Bill but I don’t agree. Once you start getting stress fractures in one joint you’re always prone to further instances. At eighteen/nineteen that’s when the bones are finally finished growing and start fusing and any injury about then can become something that gives trouble ever after. Luck comes into it to some degree but the odds of it happening grow the more games you play.

    Did you mean Jonathan Woodgate btw?

  6. Andy, to me that’s like trying to establish if a shark bite victim died of a heart defect. You can investigate patterns and medical history or whatever, but it means you have to look beyond the giant bite mark staring you in the face.

    That tackle was ugly, and I think it would have injured anybody’s ankle. Yes, in this instance I think it was bad luck.

    I mean, if you want to be harsh and pin some of the blame on JW you could say that he might have released the ball earlier, but that doesn’t excuse the tackle.

  7. From a study on adolescent fracture injuries:

    “Stress fractures are a form of overuse injury that commonly occurs in athletes who participate in sports predisposing the bone to repetitive loading and mechanical stressors that exceed bone remodeling and adaptation.”

    “Conclusions: Prior fracture represents the most robust predictor of stress fractures in both sexes.”

    So stress fractures are overuse injuries and prior fractures are the most robust predictor of future stress fractures. Seems clear to me 😉

  8. As I said you can find possible reasons for each individual injury but you cannot ignore the pattern and the medical research. You can say anyone would have been injured by that tackle but that’s conjecture, what isn’t conjecture is Jack’s injury of ankle problems that started with that original fracture in the summer of 2011.

  9. Andy.

    Prior fractures are the predictors of future injuries because the players bones are prone to that sort of injury before they get the first one . Getting the first is not what makes you more likely to get subsequent injuries. You start out with a baseline increased risk.

  10. “Get forensics on the line, goddammit. I need to know if the victim of this chainsaw massacre was a haemophiliac. Just need to find his head first.”

  11. You are right it was Jonathan woodgate. Not sure where I got David from.

    The first injury was a stress fracture and most of his subsequent injuries have been ligament injuries. Just like with Diaby or Woodgate it’s all part of the same protoplasm

  12. But Bill, stress fractures are an overuse injury, is it a coincidence that JW went from playing a dozen or so games one season to 49 the next and suddenly developed a stress fracture? And adolescents are more prone to bone damage than mature adults. Fractures often entail ligament damage too – I did my ankle circa 20 years old playing 5-a-side and it was never the same after. I repeat it’s an over use injury, where is the evidence to suggest that JW would have suffered ankle problems if he hadn’t been overplayed?

  13. I am not trying to make excuses for Arsene over playing JW because that was clearly a mistake. However it’s a minority of players who are prone to that sort of injury who would have developed a stress fracture.

  14. Makes a nice change from arguing about all the usual nonsense Spy. If in doubt the answer is always “Wenger did it!” Even in Cluedo.

  15. Well that is conjecture of course Bill, but I doubt many 18/19 year olds have played so many games in a single season at that level so it’s hard to believe that there would be enough evidence one way or the other to carry out a proper study. Even if only a certain percentage would have suffered that original injury then you’re still taking a huge risk with a young player’s career and Arsene knew what he was doing. Yet again we went into a season with insufficient cover in one area of the team which resulted in a player being over utilised. Sound familiar?

  16. Bill,

    I think the board are emotionally attached to Wenger. its no longer a normal manager/board relationship is it. Wenger has done too much for them, winning trophies, changing the clubs philosophy, building a new stadium, designing the new menu , picking out the wallpaper for the conference rooms. making them shit loads of money.

  17. Dukey, you forgot to add giving them tips on the famous French art of pleasing your woman (or any other convenient female that happens to be in the vicinity).

  18. Andy,

    yes, he has brought intelligence , respect, honour, bad parking, the Gallic shrug, debauchery, infidelity….

  19. Here’s a good one for Arsene, its January go rip up some tree’s and get Petr Cech defence problem solved.

  20. Andy.

    It’s all conjecture.

    I blame Arsene for a lot of things but sometimes it’s not always that clear cut. If Arsene had not over played him then JW would not have developed that stress fracture. However, Jack’s baseline is more susceptible to injuries and even without that first injury he would still be missing a lot of games now, I suspect. Jack gets plenty of injuries now without being overplayed because his body is injury prone. Correct me if I am wrong but I suspect jacks subsequent ankle injuries have involved both ankles and not just the one that had the stress injury.

  21. Arsenal with 10 injuries are currently 2nd behind Newcastle at the top of the table with 14.

  22. Bloody hell AITG, we can’t even top that league, and we’re really, really good at that part too!

  23. Arsenal have had 900 injuries in a recent study from 2002 while Liverpool had 550, Chelski 620 and Manure had 800. PhysioRoom.com

  24. Dukey @ 6:26

    🙂

    Arsene has done a lot for the club but I strongly suspect that Stan and the board really are not really that emotionally attached to football but they are very attached to the part about making shitloads of money. I don’t like that but there is not much I can do and I dont really blame them. The one thing I dont understand is the board has always been willing to give Arsene more money if he wanted but for some reason arsene seems to take pleasure in spending less then he the board is willing to give. I have never heard of a football manager who thinks that way.

  25. Wenger has ruined Wilshere. He even admitted to playing Jack in the red zone for 2/3months. 49 games in his first season!

    Alas, Jack has never recovered from that initial injury that kept him out for 17months.

  26. Unfortunately they don’t have zips in France Spy, which rather ruined his image on the couture front.

  27. I think the manager should concentrate on being the field manager and his mindset should be try to do everything in his power to give himself the best possible team on the pitch and that means spending whatever the board gives him. Its the board job to keep the club financially stable and their mindset is going to be spend as little as possible. However, in our case the boss has done the job of both a field manager and a board member which is a conflict of interest. IMO.

  28. Mike SA, they already profited hugely by selling off their shares. Kroenke wants AW to do for him what he did for Dein, Fizmann, Bracewell-Smith et. al. They made a killing and maneuvered the first few years of the new stadium around repaying debt rather than wages/transfer spending to boost those share prices, just as you pointed out a couple of years ago.

  29. It does make sense that if we have the ball a lot, have players that dink around with it, who are nimble small and quick they are going to get hurt by big teams in the PL. Especially if we rather obviously all pile down the centre as we do; a bit like the soldiers charging pointlessly into the machine guns of the Somme.

    First Regiment of the Wilshere Fusiliers.

    Field Marshal A. Wanger: Over the top men quick as you like, I know there is no objective, but we have to look lively.
    Private Pete Meatsack: Who will be guarding the trench while you are out sir?
    Wanger: Just let me worry about that son.

    Whistle blows, over they hop. Thirty seconds later the shelling starts, and then the repeated hum of the MG 08s start up.

    Luitenant Diaby: Maybe next time sir. Wretched gout.

    Wanger: Don’t worry lad your time will come. We will have you sorted out for another commission before you can say ‘Home for Christmas’.

  30. Anybody know of an extra FA cup ticket? little LSG and I are going but we could use an extra ticket for a friend from his U8 football team. his parents are at the hospital tending to his brother and want to drop him off for a couple hours tomorrow afternoon so he isn’t stuck all day at the hospital. I’d like to help them out and bring him along, if I can find a ticket.

  31. Spy

    I hope the point I am trying to make is understandable. Financial health of the club is always the first priority but I want the field manager focusing on putting the best possible team money can buy on the field and let the accountants and bean counters worry about the finances. IMO Arsene went overboard with his role as a bean counter in chief and lost some of the focus on his job of field manager and that lead to our habit of trying to get by while the spending as little as possible and the strange fixation on getting top value. Santori called it penny wise and pound foolish. Financial frugality on steroids.

  32. I expect that Stan’s investment must be up by 20-30% at a guess on his original purchase price Limestone – some mugs were valuing Spurs at circa £1bn recently which although it’s nuts would certainly make us worth in excess of that. Not bad for a low (almost no) risk investment.

  33. If Birdkamp would just admit that it was a bad idea to overplay Jack and that many but not all off his injuries to his ankles stem from that time, I am sure Andy would call off the dogs. Bill is right that the other ankle has been a problem which suggests JW might not be the hardiest of players. The problem is that this is not news and yet we aren’t prepared for the inevitable. Not much can really excuse that, since we have the resources to prepare better now than we have.

  34. Andy

    Having finished that, I think I can sum up my feelings about supporting Arsenal right now. Slightly comedic, but largely pointless.

  35. Spent it visiting wife’s aunt near Frankfurt on return from a few days in Prague, where Mrs LSG’s forbears hail from. Fine victuals and company but Auntie couldn’t find her wifi password–you know how some septuagenarians can be! On the way home now, in time for tomorrow’s match.

  36. @Bill
    What a shame Arsene and the board can’t take in some of the criticism you touched upon, is it that they are so entrenched in there own bloody minded philosophy, or total disregard for fan’s views?

  37. Cool, I like Frankfurt airport (we have sites where I work in Wiesbaden and Mannheim so it’s a regular trip for me) although last year I was accosted by some Japanese tourists at the train station who wanted to know which train to take – I don’t speak Japanese, they didn’t speak English, and neither of us spoke much German either. I often wondered where they ended up…..

    Prague looks fantastic but I’ve never managed to get there, I keep meaning to take the wife there for a few days.

    Sorry I don’t have a ticket, but if you ever need one and know in advance I’m a red member so I may be able to get one if I’m not going myself. Hopefully someone out there will have a spare.

  38. “total disregard for fan’s views?”

    The time any ‘professional’ manager starts listening to supporters when it comes to doing his job is the time that professional should no longer be a professional.

    Arsène, Klopp, Sherwood or whoever should do what they think is best, they have far more knowledge and are in a far better position (watching in training, knowing the individuals as people) to make their own decisions. Kinda seems straight forward to me.

    Whether you think the managers time is up or not is irrelevant really. The idea that someone like Arsène Wenger is a blind fool who does not have a clue yet thousands/millions of supporters know exactly how to solve every problem always rises a chuckle out of me. No offence intended to anyone by the way.

    Oh and to state the obvious (and cover my back) I think our manager like all other managers make mistakes, probably on a week to week basis. Arsène is no different.

    Not gonna go into the whole Wenger in/Wenger out stuff because it is beyond boring now. Not sure how many times one can say he should go or needs to be replaced or indeed, that he is the best man for the job etc. Personally I think some have unrealistic expectations along with many other factors. The fact that we’ve only joined the pack of big spenders and are years behind City, Chelsea and United (As Birdkamp mentioned yesterday I think) is ignored. The fact that our injury list makes it virtually impossible for most self financed club to remain consistent when the personnel change on a weekly basis is ignored and that could well be all Arsène’s fault but it still means that we won’t be anywhere near as good as a team who have little injuries to deal with (Chelsea for example)

    I know many think that a change of manager will be the magic bullet and we’ll topple the bigger spenders just like that but I think it is more complex than that. We are a club that needs to build to get into a position to compete. We can’t lose players and thankfully that has slowed down since the rise in income. We need a season of very little injury, need continuity, luck and confidence and even then we’ll still 3rd favourites at best. And this is with Klopp or whoever in charge.

    Pessimistic? I call myself a realist 🙂

  39. We will wait till the very end of window to conclude anything. Meanwhile, we are in danger of ebbing away without sufficient reinforcement at the back.

    Even with Koscielny and Per fit, there is the imminent danger (Disaster) or Metersecker getting a knock.

    We need an experience player 23-25yrs (Preferably 6’3 ++) to come in and reinforce us at CBack. This is the base for which everything revolves around.

    Currently, Flamini’s absence is also a worry. If its short term, we can weather it but an eye must be cast upon Arteta’s 2 week return date.

    In absence of both, I would prefer Rosicky closer to Coquelin. NOt sure about the merits of both Coquelin and Chambers.

    Rather have Rosicky and his experience closer to Coquelin with Ox also on hand in a diamond with Santi ahead..

    Alexis and Walcott up top with Santi in roving role just behind.

    Just felt our balance was wrong against Southampton. We will benefit from a more centrally positioned Rosicky to spark us forward quicker and Alexis as sole CF negates him where a threat from both flanks (with pace) in concert with Walcott makes us a bit more unpredictable.

  40. I think ‘Total disregard for fans views’
    Has opened a whole new debate here,
    Ruffled some feathers anyway ha!

  41. No feathers ruffled here. Definitely gone past the days of being offended by someone else’s view. Purely giving my own opinion.

    If I’m honest, I haven’t read through the comments properly as I don’t have the time (preparation for sons birthday tomorrow and all that) so forgiven me if response is not in context.

  42. Well said Mean Lean.

    I think expectations are a bit unrealistic.

    The football landscape is not the same as it was when Wenger took over almost 2 decades past.

    1) Wenger benefited from entry into a league allergic to foreign players for whatever reason. He had benefit of knowledge and access early to a golden generation of French football.

    These days with improvement of TV money equity amongst clubs, many PL teams (even relegation strugglers) are able to field more technical foreign players and tactically astute foreign managers. This makes for a more challenging landscape

    2) Market pressure has also increased. There are at least 2 more clubs with deep pockets who can compete with top end players from overseas and pay higher prices + wages. Add the bottom end teams are also squeeezing the foreign market and Wenger faces a more challenging situation when buying.

    He has been constantly half a step ahead in moving toward young local talent (who have over the decade improved in technicality) when teams like City and Chelsea have some what sullied their rep with buying local and leaving on bench at high prices.

    3) Finally add to recent departures (Key players) when Wenger was reconstructing (Plus Stadium issue and renegotiation of Sponsor deals) and we are only just heading out towards some light at the moment.

    The current situation is exacerbated by injuries but Wenger is culpable in that he was unable to add reinforcement to one key area which is at Cback. The lack of balance has thrown our efforts this season into a bit of a mess.

    Otherwise, it is difficult to see who can come in and guarantee a MINIMUM finish of 4th and last 16 in CL for 15 seasons straight.

    The likes of Klopp, AVB, Juande Ramos, have all been mooted as progressive managers but none have shown particular consistency.

    I think most are jumping the gun here. Wenger’s time is limited and likely the next 3 seasons will see him either toward another rennaisance of sort or more likely a gradual transition.

    Until then, enjoy the ride, frustration and highs, all that stuff.;)

  43. ML – When in the case of our lack of defenders it certainly looks like the vast majority of fans DID know better than Arsene. Everyone and their Granny pointed out our lack of depth in the summer.

    We were talking about the board too, and if we’re talking about business then we’re talking about ‘customers’ not mere ‘fans’. Any business that ignores customer feedback isn’t being well run either IMO. Maybe disregard is the wrong word, ‘contempt’ seems more appropriate given some of the statements made over the last couple of years.

  44. @Santori
    We were talking about Wenger coaching and leaving the money end to the board…’total disregard for the fans’ covers a lot of things, including ticket hikes

  45. Limestone

    I expect the owner to be more concerned about the share price and balk at spending money but if that happens you need a strong willed manager who is willing to fight for every nickel he can get. The 2 sides counterbalance each other. The owner prevents the manager from spending the club into oblivion and the manager prevents the owner from underinvesting on the pitch. In our case the board, Peter Hill Wood and Ivan seem like they have actually tried to encourage Arsene to spend more then he has.

  46. Andy,

    On the defender issue, Arsene said many times during the summer that he wanted a defender. There was no point that I can remember where he said ‘This squad has plenty in defence, I am comfortable with the depth I have in that area’

    Now the next part none of us know. We all know that buying a player is not always straight forward and that it does not depend on one person to get deals done. We also know (judging by reports and the player after he signed for Roma) that we tried to buy Manolas (SP?) but he decided to go to Roma where he had more chance of playing first team football. Ironic in the end.

    So from the little info I have, we wanted to buy defenders, bought a right back and a young promising centre back. We couldn’t get the more experienced centre back that we wanted. Because we are Arsenal supporters we tend to judge us rather differently to other clubs. I bet there were many many clubs who did not do the exact shopping that they wanted.

    Example..

    Manchester United who were and are still short on defenders. This is from a club that spent over £60m on di Maria. Why didn’t they complete their transfer business? The summer before, Chelsea needed a striker as Moanrinho basically said what he had was not good enough. They chased Rooney, did not get him and then lost the league, where as if they bought Costa last summer they would have won the league last season pretty certain of that. Point is, it’s easy pointing and shouting at what we didn’t do without knowing the full story.

    Right, really must go. Enjoy the game tomorrow.

  47. Oh and on the board, the club etc. It is modern football unfortunately. I have been priced out years ago so makes little difference to me today. Fans will always replace fans who drop out. Not saying it is right, it is just how it is. I feel for season ticket holders because prices in football nowadays is beyond a joke but once they can get away with it then.. well…

  48. Well said as usual, ML.

    LSG, I don’t mind talking about red zones and whatnot, I just don’t think this latest injury was linked to his history. That’s all I was getting at.

    I happen to think that a few people are responsible for JW’s problems; the player himself for playing through pain and not disclosing it, AW of course for pushing him, and the medical staff – without knowing who’s especially culpable.

  49. Well let’s just hope that Jack is able to finally shake off all these injuries and become the player we know he can be BK, I think he gets far too much flack from some people who don’t take into account how repeated injuries can affect performance and development. As for United and Chelsea’s transfer business I guess we will see at the end of the season if they bought wisely.

  50. Mean lean.

    We all accept that a new manager won’t be a magic bullet and we also accept that it will be tough to get past man city and Chelsea but that should not mean it’s ok to accept that 4th is good enough and not even try. How can we ever beat the odds if we don’t even try? What chance did we have off winning the uphill fight when we start the season with an inexperienced 19 year old as our back up CB and RB. We have tried something like that many times before and this time we can’t use money as an excuse for not sure strengthening DM and CB last summer. We were confident that we could hold 4th place without reinforcing those positions so we didn’t do it.

    The only chance we had to catch a team that outguns you is to outwork them. We really needed to push thru the world cup hangover and get off to a good start however, we gave our permission to take an extended mental holiday and we got to our worst start in the Wenger era. We could that because wer were confident that no matter how tepid our start was we could step on the gas petal at some point and get back to 4th place.

  51. Surely, is not JW’s propensity to getting injured more to do with his style of play than anything else?

    In any game he is regularly seen driving forward with the ball, slaloming past opposing players and, although we would like to see him release the ball to one of his colleagues, he is invariably stopped by a foul from an opposing player, which usually involves a kick on one or other part of his legs.

    I do not see anyway near as many games as you do, but if i see it happen 4 or 5 times in the games that I watch, then imagine how many times it must happen over a period of time.

    The thing about the players that AW chooses to play in his teams is that yhey are usually talented ball players, and, therefore will be subject to numerous kicks and hacks by opposing players to stop them.

    Whilst an injury may not manifest itself during and after the game, might it not have the affect of weakening the leg, so that something more inoquuous may disable the player a while later?

    Think about Ozil’s injury and then about how many times he has been kicked and fouled since he came.

    We are now seeing how often Sanchez is being scythed down and I wonder how long before he too starts getting these regular niggling injuries.

  52. Something that hasnt been talked about with Podolski is how Arsene said he was injured yet the player himself said that was pure rubbish and then he got a clean bill of health from the Inter staff. Im starting to see a reoccurring theme when Arsene sells fan favorites, Cesc, Arshavin, Podolski.

  53. You must take a trip out to Prague–amazing city, Andy.

    Probably will pick one up outside the ground.

  54. I think with a new manager we might well do worse next season or at some points during that new manager’s tenure than our customary 3/4th place. But many are willing to experience that now if it means there might very a season in every four or so that we actually challenge in the league or in Europe.

  55. Yup, sometimes a small step backwards is necessary in order to move forwards. Of course change equals risk, but you very rarely make any progress without taking a risk and better that than stagnation IMO.

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