Just imagine – Arsenal without injuries.
It’s impossible I know because these days we live with injuries. The news that Theo lasted 45 minutes in an under 21 match before being taken off will hardly come as a surprise. He’ll probably have his name changed to Theo Out-Injured soon.
But still, with no football going on, it is fun to think. If everyone were fit, just for one day, if no maniac international cretins were stealing our players and wrecking them day by day, what then. What would the team be?
Goal: Almunia. Who else? Besides I don’t have any problems with him.
Back four: Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy. Seems to pick itself at the moment.
Middle three: Song, just behind Cesc and Denilson.
I made Song my player for the new season, in August 2008, and that’s a rare one I got right. He is magnifico. And I spent all last season saying how brilliant Denilson was despite all the newspaper led reports that he was “lightweight”.
But do we need Song AND Denilson – probably not in every game. But one thing is sure, having both of them there means that Cesc can go meandering where ever he wants.
Front three: Van Persie in the middle, Eduardo, Arshavin.
Not least because as Van Persie pulls back Eduardo moves into the middle, and Arshavin is magic from out wide moving in along the goal line with 0.0002mm of space to spare.
But play that team and oh no!!! No Rosicky, and he’s being brilliant at the moment. If asked, I would always say, “play Rosicky.” Who do I drop?
And no Theo, although I suspect that even if everyone was fit and we had no injuries, Theo would have been doing a visit to a special needs centre, tripped over a chair and got injured the night before.
No Diaby either, although on his day he is staggering. He was much more on his day against Blackburn, and I suspect that he will develop further if given time. Sadly in my no injuries system he is not given time. But happily for him the normal condition of Arsenal footballers returning from overseas appointments is with a plaster cast all over them.
Which reminds me, no Vela – and I love the style and panache of Carlos Vela. (Incidentally the Vela saga shows us why internationals are arranged as they are – just to give most players enough time to recover from the injury they got last time around). I really want to see Vela as a regular doing those chips like he did last season. So, that means I drop… who???
Nic Bendtner suffers in this way too, and I tipped him as the first team player to make it to the top this season, in Highbury High this season. I still think that is right (as long as he learns to drive properly), and that is the bonus side of injuries – it allows the rest to come through.
Nasri ought to be in there too. But where? One could drop Denilson or Song and so play with just one defensive midfielder, and then have Nasri, or Rosicky playing… Trouble is I have now dropped one of them to make way for Nasri, Rosicky, Vela…
And that raises the real point. That there is no perfect team, because it depends who we are playing against. Different players for different occasions.
I also have to say Ramsey is looking very assured these days when he comes on for his Cesc replacement roles. And I am assured that we won’t be stuck when Cesc is injured playing for Spain, as is inevitable. For £5m Ramsey looks a remarkable bargain.
I’ve not found a place for the improved Eboue – largely because I see him as a superb full back, and I’ve given the nod to Sagna. And we haven’t seen enough Jack to know if he is really ready or not.
So, fantasy land…
- Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy.
- Song, just behind Cesc and Denilson.
- Van Persie in the middle, Eduardo, Arshavin
Quite tasty really.
Latest news elsewhere in my domain… “Making the Arsenal” will be published on October 30th, price £12.99 paperback. It’s over 300 pages, and its the “trade paperback” size – the largest of the paperback formats. Put another way it is about double the length of a regular novel. Sorry about that – I got carried away.
Today on the Making the Arsenal web site is the curious tale of Arsenal using an injured goalkeeper from the start in a first division match, and what happened when they finally dropped him. Grim tales from 100 years ago. Quite a bizarre story, and worth a read if only to nod in bemused amazement (which is my normal condition in life).
(c) Tony Attwood
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