Jens returns, Cesc and Theo not fit for WBA, Vermaelen’s season is over
It’s been a day of good news and bad news.
Sadly, the bad far outweighs the good on this occasion. I suppose I’d better get that out of the way first.
Cesc and Theo will both definitely miss the West Brom game at the weekend – this shouldn’t come as a particular surprise, since Cesc’s hamstring usually takes a while to heal (as do most hamstrings) and Theo was ruled out for 6 weeks about 4/5 weeks ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if we rushed him back, but I’m sure it wouldn’t do too much harm – his injury didn’t seem like the type you could aggravate, whereas Cesc’s definitely is. Indeed, he’s aggravated it many times in the past. Hopefully next season he will have had a good old holiday, and will be fresh and ready to go, his hamstring the least of his worries. At the beginning of this season he barely had any pre-season rest, what with the World Cup, so that was probably the reason for all his hamstring problems. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out of the rest of the season, with AW saying he “never expected him to be back by the end of the season”. This begs the question, which has already been posed by many – why did Wenger say Vermaelen was one of the reasons not to sign a centre back in January? But, I digress. In other centre back related news, Johan Djourou has hopes of returning for the last couple of games in the season. Let’s hope that Squillaci and Koscielny haven’t already ruined our season with their calamtic defending by then, because we’ll really need Johan. Obviously I don’t think Koscielny is a bad player, I think he’s excellent when paired with Djourou, but then when it comes to playing with Squillaci, things all seem to fall apart for him. He was superb against Barcelona, Chelsea, and so on, but the most significant performance was against Newcastle. In the first half alongside Djourou, he was great, hardly put a foot wrong. But when Djourou was forced off, everything went pear-shaped in defence, and Koscielny ended up conceding two penalties and not doing much to stop the other two goals.
It’s been a joy to watch Johan mature from a clumsy, bumbling joke of a centre back to a commanding, powerful monster at the heart of our defence this season. If it wasn’t for Jack Wilshere, he would easily win most improved player, with Samir Nasri an honourable mention. He’s had a few shaky performances, like against West Ham away (still kept a clean sheet), but when he’s been good, he’s been really good. Against Chelsea he had Drogba completely in his pocket, won everything in the air and everything on the floor. In the game versus United when he sustained his injury he was good too, intercepted everything that came his way, and in the Carling Cup final he made two interventions that genuinely took my breath away. It’s thanks to the form of he and Laurent that we haven’t had to worry about Vermaelen being injured, until one of the two was injured too.
Arsene confirmed that ‘Mad’ Jens Lehmann has joined up until the end of the season in a Sol Campbell sort of a deal. He probably won’t feature much, but as Wenger says, he’ll push Almunia to improve (hopefully) and like Sol he’ll try to instill a winning mentality amongst the players – something we badly need really. Maybe whilst warming up on the touchline at WHL he’ll feel nature’s call and urinate on Twitchy… we can only hope.
It also sounds like Abou Diaby did his groin during his Old Trafford stroll last Sunday. I’ve included that in the good news bracket as it should mean Ramsey plays instead of him at the Hawthorns on Saturday, and we all saw how much we improved when the Welshman replaced Diaby against United. Or Wenger will just find a way to include Denilson yet leave Ramsey on the bench, who knows.
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