By Walter Broeckx
In order to check the pulse of the Arsenal supporters I have been on twitter and facebook the last days. Now I must say that it sure seems that some people feel unhappy. But that is part of their general condition I think. As I have known them as sad whenever I see them write something.
First they were fuming about Per being named captain of the team. Apart from the fact that nobody ever said that Per would be captain after the departure of Arteta I didn’t really understood the fuss being made. Per was vice captain so when the captain is not around it is completely normal that he gets the armband on the playing field.
But they wanted to get rid of Per. And it seems they are getting it their way. As it now seems that Per has a knee injury sustained in Lens and that he might be out for several months. Some say up to 5 months. And now the same persons are running around like headless chickens in all directions shouting (can you actually still shout when you don’t have a head???) how disaster has struck.
[This is technically possible for certain breeds of chicken, but only after sunset. Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw. Chief vet.]
It’s a funny world. First they wish that Per could be sent to the moon and when he is out they are in panic…. Make up your mind please.
I for one love Per and love his presence. And sitting in the unfindable away end in Lens I noticed how many balls he stopped and headed or kicked away before Lens could become dangerous. I also love the way Per responds to the fans. He is one of the view to always make time after a match to applaud the supporters. A gesture I surely appreciate from our BFG.
So the news of Per getting his injury has not gone down too well for me. But if on the same day you want Per out and then when he is out you panic…. Then I can’t follow it any more.
For me it is simple. I like Per, I rate Per and I wanted him on board (even as captain). So I feel gutted about his injury.
And as Gabriel is also ill and Kos is still somewhere lying on the beach recovering from the European crooks party held in France we suddenly are missing our 3 regular central defenders on the tour in the USA.
But instead of going in to meltdown I see this also as a great opportunity. The matches themselves mean nothing. And we are without 5 or 6 of our best players still resting. Yes this will be a great opportunity for the young kids!
Chambers will get a chance to play his matches. And then we might see Nacho Monreal stepping in at central defence if Wenger deems it needed. Gibbs could play left back then.
But I think this might be a good opportunity for our new signing Rob Holding to present himself. Of course there is a big risk to this. Holding hasn’t played with the rest of the team yet so there might be some problems at the back in players not knowing how the other will react.
So if it doesn’t work there might be the usual outcry from the people already mentioned above saying that Holding is shit and always will be. And then the young man could face a difficult period. I think Untold will try to protect him and support him (well I will certainly do if he has a miserable start to this Arsenal career) but we know that the knifes are out already.
Maybe not that much to kill off Holding but to kill off the manager of course.
Another player that might get some more match time now will be Biliek. I must say that when I saw him in the opening minutes of the second half in Lens I noticed a very nervous young man. Misplacing some easy passes early on. Not the best way to start your Arsenal career of course.
But as time went by I noticed him getting calmer and more importantly I noticed him doing a rather sound defensive job. Some good tackles and interceptions. Some good clearing headers. I think the calming influence from Per certainly played a part in that.
So for the tour we have 3 “trained central defenders”. And Bielik is still listed as a midfielder on the Arsenal website in the youth team but he did play more than once over there. All have in common that they all are very young! Bielik being only 18 I think and both Chambers and Holding being 21.
Who knows… they might surprise us with a good performance and show what they are capable of. And even if it would go tits down, then there is no real problem. Then Wenger will know that they aren’t really ready for the big work and will find a solution. Remember Kos and Gabriel are still Arsenal players and can be trusted upon to do their job once the season has started.
So I don’t see it as a frightening moment to see those youngsters stepping in the place of our 3 regular central defenders. For me and for Wenger it will be a chance to see where they stand in the team. And who knows (fingers crossed) they might even surprise us.
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