Ill-fated Welbeck & Big Club, Small Club Conundrums

Football likes the ill-fated. We laud winners but losers are ‘ill-fated’. They make ‘ill-fated title challenges’ or make ‘ill-fated transfers’; ‘ill-fated’. Danny Welbeck’s just ill and not in the good sense either.

His injury record is starting to look perilously like Jack Wilshere’s with the groin tear suffered on Sunday likely to keep him out for a month. Gallows humour about an April return has you laughing uncomfortably. Not as uncomfortable as Danny’s groin tear but shifting in your seat nonetheless.

With a fortnight break due to the international break at the start of October, Welbz is likely to return for the trip to Goodison Park. Or at least be back in training. That’s the next tricky fixture for us; I’d expect us to pull together a winning run from hereon; six straight wins without exception, the sort of form you hope to have playing online roulette NZ.

I’m allowed to be over-confident, it’s what supporters do well. If you look at the games between now and the end of October, Everton is the only one which stands out as tough. The rest? We ought to be winning if Wenger has aspirations of appearing in the Champions League during his final season at the club.

Whether it will be his last is another matter. This summer sees him in the same position as last, with speculation no doubt beginning as soon as we enter the final straight of this season. The talk by then will be of the post-Alexis, post-Özil future with Arsène no doubt bemoaning that both can leave on free transfers. Let’s hope that he really was hoarding those funds for next summer.

In the meantime, there’s the rest of the season to look forward to.  Starting with the visit of Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup.

Let’s Have A Ball

An open disdain haunts the competition in modern football. In its heyday, everyone enjoyed the League Cup except for us. After the late 1960s with consecutive losing Wembley appearances, we only made the last four twice in the next couple of decades until 1986/7 when let’s face, everybody loved Charlie.

However, the Premier League and a procession of managers not being arsed with the competition robbed it of any sense of purpose. Yet it’s still there as the fourth priority in the season or the fourth placed trophy on the list, if you like. A trophy to be won and while Arsène may view that as a happy by-product of blooding youngsters, it keeps the winning habit ticking over.

It’s why when I read Mauricio Pochettino declaring it’s “nice to win it for the fans”, I have a little snigger. Not quite a guffaw because his words about prioritising the Premier League and Champions League are the same as Arsène used to throw around. Not any longer; he’s realised the value of a cup win when elite competitions are out of reach.

Pochettino is right when he declares that big clubs don’t prioritise the League Cup ahead of others. Big clubs don’t dismiss it either. Look at how many times Mourinho and Ferguson used it to keep the winning habit going, season after season. Liverpool did the same at their peak. It’s about winning every trophy you possibly can. Which given Tottenham haven’t been champions in my lifetime nor won the FA Cup this century, isn’t something they should dismiss.

In A Shady Place

The Argentine wants Tottenham to be a big club; Levy wants the same but only because he’s now got a 61,000 capacity stadium to sell out every week. That’s a tough gig when you haven’t even got a League Cup to hang your hat on. Football today is all about shiny new things, nothing else.

Now, I’m not declaring we take leave of our senses and field our strongest team tomorrow. However, should we be so dismissive given our reduced circumstances? Are we better off taking the view that this keeps the winning habit going, hoping it burgeons into something more?

We’ve seen the leopard change its’ spots very slowly over formation; is now the change of attitude toward the League Cup. Somehow, I don’t think so. Reality bites and I’m sure Arsène is already thinking about which players to rest in the pursuit of a top four finish.

’til Tomorrow.

34 thoughts on “Ill-fated Welbeck & Big Club, Small Club Conundrums

  1. Supporters of Arsenal FC cannot anticipate progress the League Cup, or its successors, with undiluted pleasure*. Whether we like it or not, the powers that be at the Ems appear to decide the level of commitment to this trophy each year (dependant on other interests) and the mix of players is selected on that basis. 😉
    *Sorry Ma’am

  2. Morning,
    Always happy to see the kids and a few peripherals get a run in the league cup.
    6 Straight Yogi? I love your umm optimism, if thats what you call it?

  3. Surely we give the strongest side the run out so as to win….and rest players if we get a lead?

    I think over the years we have lost momentum by too much resting and it has bitten us on the posterior !

    Assuming the game isn’t on TV?

  4. The same team that played in the Europa League should play except I would give Nelson a run-out, I would give Chambers a runout, I would start Theo/Giroud/Iwobi up-top. So I would go with a tam that mixes youth and senior players:


  5. Wailesy,

    Yea, I was undecided if Jack should sit next to Elneny or if he should play in the frontt 3 so I just put both of them in the team. I think though it might be better to let Jack sit next to Elneny the more I think about it and letting Adelaide play higher up the pitch in an attacking 3 but if they need to swap positions they easily can.

  6. Good afternoon Gooners,

    Yogi, you joke about Welbeck returning in April but with the Arsenal medics past record that’s more likely than a return in just one month.

    It really does seem to be the case that every time he starts to settle into the team he cops another injury.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but letting Perez go looks even dafter now than it did in the summer.

  7. Orson Kaert,

    I would agree with you about Perez but I think the treatment of Perez and the fact that Arsene clearly didn’t even want to use him (though he was effective when called upon), I was happy for him to leave to resume his career.

    I do wonder what will happen now though because if it means we FINALLY see Lacazette and Sanchez together then the Welbeck injury, I feel for Welbeck I really do, might be a blessing in disguise. I have this sneaky feeling that this will give Arsene the chance to re-insert Giroud which isn’t a good thing.

  8. Afternoon,

    If Alexis is meant to be approaching match fitness shouldn’t a run out against cannon fodder be the perfect way to stretch his legs? We haven’t got a league game until Monday, so there’s plenty of time in between. Surely the best way to get everything ticking over again is to get a competitive game or two in? You can only do so much on the training pitch.

  9. C,
    I’d like to see Jack slide into the middle. He Doesn’t have the pace to play wide.
    I tend to agree re Welbeck’s injury being a blessing in disguise though I am disappointed for him. He may not bring many goals but he gives opposing defences plenty to worry about with a great attitude to boot.

  10. Wailesy,

    That’s why I was thinking more than likely we see Jack drop deeper and Adelaide playing more advanced.

    I feel for Welbeck because he was showing form and was scoring goals which was the biggest knock on him. His work rate was tremendous and I will be interested to see if Lacazette shows more because you could see that he was allowing Welbeck to play higher and in those positions that Lacazette thrives in but with Sanchez he will be able to play highest up the pitch.

  11. C,

    It could just as well open the way for Walcott.

    I too hope Perez is successful, if only to demonstrate how badly he was treated by Wenger.

  12. Arsene on the injuries:

    on Danny Welbeck…

    Danny has a scan today, we don’t know how bad his groin injury is but he will certainly be out until the international break. Coquelin as well.

    on Ozil…

    Mesut is training again, but for tomorrow no [he will not feature]. He has a little inflammation of his knee.

  13. C,

    In other words Arsene knows enough about Welbeck’s injury to rule him out until after the international break & Ozil is deemed too good to play tomorrow.

  14. Start a weakened team of players that need valuable game time in case they are called in to duty as a result of future injuries to the starting XI. Putting a strong squad out there risks injury to valuable players. What if Lacazette or Sanchez goes down with a prolonged period as a result of a injury in a relatively meaningless game? These are the very games that hurt us if a Wilshire, Kozzer or Ramsey get injured. Fielding a weaker squad mitigates risk and helps the very players who feel marginalized. Mertesacker and Holding need playing time so they are better prepared for when Kozzer’s achilles snap.

  15. I don’t think we’ll see Giroud start any meaningful games unless we have further injuries. Arsene knows he lacks the mobility to be effective in our system for a full 90 minutes. Arsene was ready to sell him but Giroud convinced him he’d stay and fight for his place knowing he’d b a substitute more often than a starter. When he starts Giroud doesn’t have the stamina to press defensively and paces himself too much over the 90 minutes. I’ve said for years that he needs to play less to get more out of him and I think Arsene will only use him as an impact sub (when his lack of pace is less noticeable against tired legs) and will only start him in meaningless games.

  16. Another observation from the Chelsea game is that we fielded one of our more physical squads in years. Our Invincibles were skilled but had brawn and physical size. Kolasinac looks like he’d have been a member of that team. His physical power won several balls for us. We’ve moved away from that and have fielded teams with considerable skilled players but overall we’ve been lightweight which means we’re often bullied or even injured over the course of a season. If that had been Gibbs on the receiving end of Luiz’s lunge I bet his season would have been over.

  17. Arsene on some team news:

    on Debuchy not being involved against Doncaster…
    No, no. Debuchy is coming back slowly.

    on Calum Chambers…
    Yes, he will be involved against Doncaster. Jack Wilshere is involved too.

    on the make-up of the squad…
    Yes [it will be a mix], but it will be a similar team to the one that played against Cologne.

  18. Paulie Walnuts,

    Well we all know how reliable Arsene’s medical prowess is. Ozil, well I didn’t think he or Sanchez would feature tomorrow and I would then add to that Ramsey, Xhaka, Sead possibly, Bellerin and Cech.

  19. C:
    on the make-up of the squad…
    Yes [it will be a mix], but it will be a similar team to the one that played against Cologne.


  20. The team that played against Köln;

    Ospina Bellerin Holding (1) Monreal Mertesacker Iwobi (2) Elneny Maitland-Niles Walcott (3) Sanchez Giroud

    Subs: Macey Mustafi Nelson (3) Kolasinac (1) Reine-Adelaide Wilshere (2) Akpom

    [Ignore the numbers – they are just a memory jogger of who was substituted, and by whom]

  21. I’m really looking forward to Rio Ferdinand getting his head knocked off when he starts his new career as a boxer. What does he think he is? Now doubt he’s watched some of the “celebrity” fights and thought to himself “that’s a nice little earner”. Boxers can’t complain to the ref when an opponent lands a right hook and dumps them on their arse.

  22. A very pleasant evening, film preview (free tickets) Borg versus McEnroe. Four hours free parking thrown in. A very nice meal (25% discount) @ Bella Italia. A very happy wife (she loves tennis and idealises both players) and all for under 35 quid including a nice bottle of red and tip. Luvvly jubbly!

  23. Jonny,

    Is the gist of it that the child is being offered up for sacrifice? Perhaps it will not be put to death but it will suffer for a lifetime.

  24. Orson Kaert,

    You live in the fast lane in your half of Norfolk OK……Rio will get pummelled even by someone half decent,he hasn’t got the nous or mindset of a boxer.
    Plus I hate it when they call it ‘fighting’-it’s a bout.If we ever referred to it as fighting when I boxed as an amateur our trainer would give us a bollocking.
    Trouble is,boxing has become the latest gravy train for a lot of idiots to use as a springboard for their ‘career’……think Flintoff.

  25. Just fucking embarrassing is what it is.
    Bless them for always making a fool of themselves for our amusement.
    Selfless, really.

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