by Billy the Dog McGraw assisted by his nurse
So, our beloved Underlord, Cesc Fabregas will be at ‘full fitness’ for the Champions League kick around, but the Overlord says he may not start.
Theo has stubbed his toe, and may not start. Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, Robin van Persie, and Manuel Almunia are all injured with back, Achilles, ankle, elbow, knee, ears, nose, throat, front, head, leg, wrist, shoulder, groin, toe, neck, fingernail, and other assorted injuries. Mannone has gone on loan.
So who have we got left
Eboue Djourou Squillaci Clichy (Gibbs)
Song (Denilson) (Eastmond) (Henderson)
Wilshere Nasri (Diaby) (Fabregas) (JET) (Lansbury)
Rosicky Bendtner (Chamakh) Arshavin (Vela) (Theo)
Now you might complain at this point that I have just listed everyone who is semi-fit and thrown them down on the page, but that is just the sort of nit-picking nitwittery that one has just come to expect from the backward looking people who….
(Nurse: Sorry, clearly a demon has got inside of our esteemed semi-editor today, and he has been led away by members of the Salvation Army for medical checks. As his nurse, and close ally over many a long change of clothing I have been asked to take over for a while if that’s ok with you Tony.)
(Fine by me, but try not to let the readers know – Tony)
The issue is, does the Overlord actually go for the win, to get three straight victories in the group, an almost certain qualification and then ease off, or does he give anyone a rest before the long trip to the oil lands for the game against Manchester Arabia at the we-paid-for-it stadium. The Overlord’s earlier chat to the gentlemen of the press suggests he goes for a win.
That puts Wilshere in the team, but Bendtner on the bench (the Overlord says he needs two more weeks to be fully ok).
Perhaps the most worrying thing ahead of this game is the headline on the Shakky web site with the Headline “Arsenal just the bomb”. Troubling indeed. Here’s what they say… (taken directly from their web site, with no changes made by the team of Untold Ukrainian speakers, anxious for a chance to show their skills). (Except it is in English, and I corrected a couple of little grammatical and spelling slips – Tony)
Ahead of the important clash with Arsenal in the Champions League GSM 3 the Pitmen players faced the Press Office to answer their questions.
—Oleksandr did you watch Arsenal vs Birmingham fixture?
—Of course, I did.
—What were your impressions?
—There was not an easy game to play for Arsenal, but still they created many opportunities. Arsenal is very quick and unified squad, whose offensive players are really strong and aggressive.
— How many theory classes ahead of Arsenal have you already had?
—There were two.
—Many consider Arsenal to be favourites of the upcoming fixture. Will it help Shakhtar to have the game in their hands?
—It does not matter who is considered favourites. We are coming to London striving to win. It is obvious that to progress further we will have to gain points that is why we are not going to sit back in London. But if we lose, it will not be a big deal.
—Darijo, how is the team feeling in London?
—We are in high spirits. We are still in the top spot in the domestic league and have good results in the Champions League. Everything is well. But let us do not forget to look ahead.
—Shakhtar played their last fixture on Friday and Arsenal ended it on Saturday. Does the spare day play a big part in build up to the upcoming fixture?
—Yes, we had a tough clash with Metalurh, the same story with Metalist ahead of SC Braga. And now we are coming to London to play against the squad that plays the best football in Europe. I would say they are performing even better than FC Barcelona now. They are favourites in this game, but we are also a good squad earned a good reputation, with strong players. We are coming not to lose, but try to win. Shakhtar always create lots of attacks but, perhaps, there will be less offensive actions here in London, as Arsenal is a sort of team… you know they are very hotspur! (Editor’s note: there seems to be no English equivalent for that word) And we are aiming to do our utmost. Though as I have already said Arsenal is just the bomb!
—Do you really consider the Gunners to be stronger than Barca now?
— Honestly speaking, yes. Barcelona went down to Hercules CF, then they drew against Mallorca and on Saturday they hardly beat Valencia. But the Gunners keep a good number of clean sheets, having lost only to West Bromwich home. In the Champions League Arsenal beat Partizan 3-1 and Braga 6-0. This side shows a terrific football at home. And Barcelona have been rather edged out, compared with Arsenal.
—So can we assume that the fixtures against Arsenal will become #1 for Shakhtar in 2010?
— No, even if we fail to win against the Gunners, we will still have a chance to build our future. If we beat Partizan away and then Braga home, these results can probably decide everything. Let us see how Braga will perform their two fixtures against Partizan.
—How do you feel? Have you recovered fully after your injury?
—Thanks, I am fine now.
—Are you ready for the Gunners?
—We are about to play a key fixture, and if the coach puts me in the squad, I will do my best to grab a win.
Nurse: Actually I don’t want to give the impression I am anything less than impressed by this. The club bother to run a web site in English, and although there are moments when the translation was not 100%, I think it is superb that this is done at all. If someone can tell me what the bomb bit is all about, I’ll be fine.
Your homework for tonight: Compare and contrast Wenger’s method of coping with Barcalona’s attempt to steal Cesc last summer and Sir Alex F-Word’s delicate and gentle approach of dealing with Mr Potato.
- Give the most unusual Arsenal Xmas present of all time. Making the Arsenal: available from Amazon.co.uk but for a signed copy dedicated to whoever you want just order from the publishers (follow the link) and add details of the dedication wanted to your order.
- Arsenal History: including newly discovered revelations about Herbert Chapman and a review of the very last game at Plumstead
- Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
- Untold Arsenal Index: silly stuff, serious stuff, and stuff
- Arsenal Worldwide: supporting Arsenal from outside the UK
- Arsenal Independent Supporters Association
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?