The international break, good for once?

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By Walter Broeckx

Will Uefa/Fifa save Arsenal this season?

This might be a bit of a weird question to ask because in the past we have only suffered from all kind of international games. Most of the time half of our team left fit and came back in pieces. We had Van Persie on several occasions amongst the main victims but also Theo Walcott came back with his ankles messed up more than a few times. And there have been others, isn’t it Thomas Vermaelen?

So why on earth would this time be different? Well for a big part we could be in big trouble if let us say one of the players like Van Persie, Nasri or Wilshere get injured in the next 14 days. That would be a big blow. So if you are religious you can start praying to whatever god you worship. And if you are not religious… well just pray anyhow they come back injury free.

So why do I have a feeling that this time could be different? First of all I think it is clear to see that the lost Carling cup final did some damage to the team. The way we lost it was hard to take. We didn’t deserve to lose that game but we ended up losing it after giving it away in a very stupid way.

And then going out in the CL and the FA cup in a few days wasn’t easy to deal with. So I think it is fair to say that the team had to deal with a few mental blows. So you could see in the Sunderland game and the WBA game that we found it difficult to come in to our normal game. And as a result we dropped points. This wasn’t the only reason we dropped points. Let us say that some vital decisions didn’t went our way against Sunderland and we made another big blunder in the WBA game.

But after the game this doesn’t change anything from the fact that since losing the Carling cup final we lost 4 points in the league.

But together with losing the CC final we in the same time lost a few players. Not just “players” but for Arsenal important players.

We lost Fabregas against Stoke. Not much to be said about that. Losing the best midfielder in the world is a big blow for any team. If you lose a player like him a team will suffer. I don’t know a player who can change a game like he can for the moment. The vision, the awareness, the ability to change the speed and the flow of a game in split second. He has it all. And he can score a few goals on occasion.

We lost Walcott in the same game. And Theo is having a great season when he is fit. Because of his speed he is always dangerous for the opposition. And his goal scoring record is getting better and better. So I do think we miss him badly.

And maybe our most under estimated player that we are missing since the CC final is Song. I don’t know if the people who have been shouting ‘Song is not fit to wear the shirt’ are still out there but they have been proven wrong by Wenger and Song. They have been proven wrong by Wenger because Wenger didn’t listen to those who knew better than Wenger. Wenger kept his believe in Song and he is my mister invisible in the team. And also Song just kept on working and working and became better all the time.

Song is the player that breaks up the other team as much as possible. The little foul in midfield to stop a counter, the bit of shoving and pushing in midfield. The harder tackle at times. The covering a lot of ground to provide support to the attack and to the defence. And he has been important also when it comes to goal scoring this season. It isn’t his main task but he scored a few very important goals. West Ham winner, Chelsea first and all important goal.

So with those 3 players out our form suddenly dropped. So it can be said that those 3 players are real vital for Arsenal for the moment. And I think the most vital partnership is the Song-Cesc one.

With now the international games coming up they are still injured for the moment but as Wenger said they are getting nearer to fitness. But as they are not fit yet I think it is fair to think that Arsenal can hold them in London and not let them go out for these international games. And this could mean that when the 2nd of April comes along they could and should be fit by then. And having those 3 back will be the key for the rest of our season.

If we can keep them fit till the end we will have a big chance of becoming champions. If we lose them it will be much more difficult. Not impossible but very difficult.

So here is for once my hope that because of the extra rest of those 3 players we can have them back for the final run in the league. And then the only matter we have to deal with these next 14 days is the hoping that no other players get injured.

And I also am very well aware that the injuries to Vermaelen and Djourou are big blows to the team. But as we don’t expect them back this season we can leave them out of our current plans. Unless… who knows.  Djourou is having a scan today which will be decisive to see how his injury will heal… Can we be lucky for once with an injury….. (News just came up: Djourou will be able to return to train in 4 weeks time!)

And talking about frustrations I just would like to let you know my biggest frustration when it comes to Arsenal. I think that could do the fans a big favour and give us some more information about how the injured players are doing. Now we know as much as Manuel the Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers: Nothing. Are they back doing some light training, or not training at all? Is there recovery going according to plan or not? Is there a date of return known or not? Giving an answer to those questions can be difficult at times but surely not impossible most of the time.

15 Replies to “The international break, good for once?”

  1. November and March have been the most unluckiest months for gooners for quite a few years now. The bad news is that March is still not over….are international friendlies going to be the final nail in the coffin?? Well, lets start prayin…

  2. Sorry for going off-topic, but I think this article in the DesiGunner blog is well worth a read –

    “Of course, players and pundits are just as guilty of this as the fans. After the West Brom game Mulumbu repeated the tired line that Arsenal lacked mentality. He went on to claim that Manchester United would have come back to win the game but Arsenal couldn’t.

    — “It comes down to mentality. Manchester are very strong. In a game like Saturday’s, I think they could come back and equalise and then win the game. I believe that’s what Arsenal is missing a bit.” —

    Now if we look at the facts, this season Arsenal and United have both won 9 points from losing positions. More interestingly, Arsenal have dropped 9 points while winning whereas Manchester United have dropped 14!

    If mentality could be accurately ascertained from dropping or gaining points, not that I think it can, these stats would contradict the popular opinion. But it does show that those who think the games like the ones against Tottenham or Newcastle show Arsenal’s weak mentality haven’t paid much attention to the relevant details.”

  3. Agreed, hopefully the squad comes back fully healthy from this break! I read an interesting line, but can’t remember where (I did some research myself to verify), when we had Fabregas and Van Persie both start this season, Arsenal has lost only 1 game (against Barcelona due to the bs red)9-2-1 record!

  4. My mantra has become silly mistakes and injuries, Silly mistakes is what annoys me, if we are to stand a chance we cant keep giving the opposition a head start regardless of who is missing, mistakes have cost us dear and IMO is worse than any ref bias, because it was in the players hands, it was in their destiny, we will have plenty of time to prepare for each game and on paper we should win them all unfortunately football is played on grass and comes down to being consistent.

    I think wenger has lost a bit of faith in denilson his form has been poor, as others have mentioned we should just play nas in CM and have the strikers upfront until players come back we need to average 2.58 points per game to win this thing. we was averaging 2.5 points in Jan /feb but this month we have averaged 1 point per game, I hope it is the calm before the storm, to win the title would be a monumental achievement

  5. A lot of the pro-Wenger people are getting a bit out of order on here. I don’t slag them off for their belief that Wenger will turn this around and i’d happy to be proved wrong. But at the same time they must understand that five years of no silverware and mistakes being made again and again are not filling us with any confidence in Wenger. I agree he deserves respect for what hes done so to insult him is not right, but constructive critism shouldn’t be slammed down as being ‘a maggot’ as some idiot called us on here. I think Wenger has taken us as far as he can and I have zero confidence in the board either, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to insult someone who feels otherwise.

  6. It all begins back in 2005 when, after the FA Cup Final of that year, the evil Ferguson decided he had had enough of a certain Arsene Wenger and masterminded a dastardly plan: kidnap his arch nemeses, Wenger, and replace him with an android, programmed to do just enough to keep your average Gooner happy each season, no trophies mind, just a top four finish and absolutely nothing else.

    Ferguson has total control and is able to make Android Arsene do almost anything. The speech control is going a bit haywire though and seems stuck on the words ‘mental strength’. Apart from that it is all going swimmingly for him and he is laughing all the way to the trophy cabinet. He makes damn sure his android’s team always plays the same way and that no failing players are ever shown the door. He also demands that few (if any) experienced or proven quality players are ever purchased. He can hardly believe how well his diabolical plan has worked.

    Ferguson is though, this season, cutting it fine in the league, and he is worried that he may have mis-calculated, allowing Android Arsene’s team a chance to finish as champions. Even as you are reading this article he is desperately checking the robot’s wiring to make sure players like Denilson, Rosicky and Bendtner (amongst others) play as often as it takes, so as to scupper any chance of this happening.

    Will he be successful? Find out in the next exciting installment of ‘Whatever Happened To Arsene Wenger’.

  7. In 15 seasons with Wenger as Arsenal manager 10 of those seasons have been TROPHYLESS.So why is every one getting worked up.Under George Graham in 8 seasons we won trophies in 5 of those seasons.Wenger is a serial LOSER.We should all know that by now.And he wounldnt get away with it at any other top European club

  8. Injuries are hard to predict, and can so easily affect results. Arsenal certainly has had injury problems in the recent past, and one can always hope that the past results are a negative run, and at some point a positive will come along. But one can’t count on this, except possibly with Fabregas. Pele was a marked man, and there might be some people who might mark Fabregas in a similar way.

    I seen a report on Evans not being malicious at the BBC. There are few players that go into a tackle with the intent of causing damage. There are lots of players who go into tackles in a manner which is likely to result in damage. It’s wonderful that Evans talked to the player he put out for the rest of the season. It’s also irrelevant. He tackled that player in a manner which is likely to result in damage. By definition, that is a malicious tackle. It has nothing to do with state of mind or anything else. The players are professional, they know exactly what may or may not happen as a result of their tackle. If you do a tackle which has more than say 30% change of inflicting a long-term injury on the opponent, it is a malicious tackle. State of mind has nothing to do with it.

    That supposed supporters write to bitch about things is expected. Personally, I wish the Arsenal players would quit doing interviews of any kind, and let their football speak for itself. As to me, it seems many of the players talk themselves into a position where the opposition is easy, which often results in them losing. They psyche themselves out. But, they are young. How can one stop this? I’m sure Arsene is doing the best he can, but I still shudder when I see these statements by the players.

    I think a wonderful thing, would be to keep track of all the CRAP that is predicted. Arsene is seldom in the transfer market. ANd we are constantly bombarded with, “who are the 87 players Arsene is going to drop, or who are the 83 players that Arsenal are going to buy this season. Unless any of the idiots writing these articles want to put money where their mouth is (i.e.: THEY will buy the player on their own worth, and give the player to Arsenal at cost), I really don’t want to hear of any of this. It is all just bullshit. And I can watch my politicians in parliament on any day to get as much bullshit as I need.

    In terms of Steven who posted above me, go find another team to support.

  9. @steven
    Which conveniently ignores the fact that we weren’t a top European club before Wenger got here..

    I love the way all our achievements, even in these barren years, are just taken for granted. Oh building a new stadium is good, but so what. Respecting our budgets is good, but not at the cost of trophies and the latter just shows that we are cheapskates that live only for the finances(look at ManU and Chelsea after all, it doesn’t affect them, surely we can afford to pay 30 mil for one player), finishing 4th every year is just not good enough (neither is 3rd of course), knockout round of champs league every year is passe, we should have won it at least once, our players are rubbish and we should sell them and buy Awsum Brillianto instead with that money.

    All very good arguments really.Irrefutable. Especially when anyone who tries to put those arguments in perspective is just a loser, or a brainwashed zombie.

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