Pompey v. Arsenal — Injury Updates

In typical fashion, Arsenal are keeping their injury news close to their vest and Wenger’s official pre-match press conference is not being made public (yet) so the only injury news we have is dribs and drabs from the internet and speculation.

I can confirm that Bendtner has suffered a setback to his groin and will be out an additional 3 weeks. Given the history and given the recent history we all know when Arsenal say he’ll be out for three weeks they really mean he’ll be out for three months. I suspect this has something to do with relative time dilation indicative of a wormhole near or actually in the Arsenal sick room.  Maybe Wenger could use this wormhole and go back in time and get us Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira? Realistically, Bendtner won’t be available for 4 weeks and won’t be back to form for probably 8 weeks.

Rumor is that Cesc is out for 3 weeks, which is pretty much where I suspected that he would end up given the way that fixtures fall over the next few weeks. There will be a week of rest between the 9th and the 17th which would suit him to get back into shape and re-integrate himself into the te… what am I saying? He’s the Lord Jesus Christ, he needs no re-integration!!! I expect him to be back on the 17th, as long as he stays away from Bendtner’s worm hole.

The other rumor is that Denilson is out for tomorrow today and possibly longer with a recurrence of his back problems. It’s a funny rumor though, given the fact that the dot com is touting him as the replacement for Song in January and everyone is calling him a “doubt” for Pompey.

Rosicky is another player who the boss is being weird about, saying that he could play today… or against West Ham on Saturday.

One reason for all this secrecy is probably just plain economics. If Arsenal have suffered multiple long term injuries to our midfield and strike force and we go around announcing them as such it will make our acquisition of 15 year olds that much more expensive. Nope, better to wait until after we sign Huntelaar to a half season loan before we announce that Bendtner’s completely crocked.

Just who Wenger will pick tomorrow today is basically down to injuries. In midfield, with only Diaby, Rambo, Song and Nasri 100% fit, most folks are picking 3 of them to get the start and those same folks would like to give Nasri a blow. Up front, I suspect we’ll see Arshavin, Eduardo, and Walcott get the start with Nasri again being rested and Walcott getting a start instead. I know a lot of folks want to see Vela, he’s got an awful strong cult following, but you can’t discount how Wenger tends to forget about Vela. And at the back, Sagna will be the only player to get a rest EBOUE IS IN AFRICA, Sagna gets no rest. So, I’m going with:


Eboue Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Traore

Diaby Song Ramsey

Walcott Eduardo Arshavin

Bench: Fabianski, Silvestre, Sagna, Rosicky, Merida, Wilshere, and what’s his name, uhhh, oh yeah “Vela” I nearly forgot.

Whatever team Wenger fields they will not find Fratton park an easy go. The fans there are zany and noisy and bang on drums and blow horns and dress up like clowns: it’s rather frightening. If you give their supporters any hope they get crazier than shit-house rats and that could further disarm the Arsenal lads. As if the sight of pudgy, drunken, screaming, delusional supporters isn’t scary enough.

What am I saying? They’ve played Newcastle, the lads will be fine.

Meanwhile, Pompey’s manager and eventual undertaker (I do think they will be dead and buried soon) Avram Grant is talking about employing the age old tactic of kicking Arsenal off the park. That tactic hasn’t worked so well this season, nor for the last few, so while I expect some tightness at first, I fully expect our boys to run Pompey off the park until their lungs are bursting and then after that 10 minutes are up, tippy-tappy about 6 goals in on them.

The match is on Fox Soccer Channel here in the States and Sky Sports in England, wherever you are, enjoy.

As for the injuries and their recovery, realistically, we could see Bendtner come on as a sub as early as the Villa game on the 27th and be recovering his form just in time for what many see as the hardest patch of the season: the spell from January 27th to February 10th where Arsenal will play Villa, Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

Back in August I mentioned this part of the year and rather than look at it as our hardest part of the season, I reckoned that the boys have a tendency to get up for big games and that a sustained spell of pressure could be really good for them. It could bring out their best.

I’m a little bit more concerned now than I was then because we’ve suffered some devastating injury blows to Djourou, Clichy, van Persie, Fabregas, Denilson, Bendtner, Rosicky, and Gibbs but I still feel like this team has the right stuff. The performance they put in against Villa was easily the best we’ve seen from the whole team this season and if they can continue this strong run of form, even with all the injuries, I think they can come out the other side of that January period league leaders.

So, while the squad is very, erm, “lean” at the moment there’s a lot of experience on the pitch and team leaders like Gallas and Arshavin need to step up and get this team pumped up for every game.

Starting today. Now, go out there and get three points we’ve got to keep pace with everyone else who won this weekend.

World Cup Dreams, Jose Christ, Collina Speaks, and more

World cup dreamin’

After a couple of weeks of good performances, Arsenal’s midfielders are truly riding high and have suddenly started expressing their interest in playing for their national teams. And why not? They see the greats like Robin van Persie fly off to parts unknown and get injured in pointless international friendlies and they think “that could be me!”

In actuality, Denilson and Diaby are saying the right things, you know, the whole “if I work hard for Arsenal and excel, then I will earn the right to play for my national side.”

That said, the Diaby quotes reminded me that he was on track to be a big Arsenal player until Dan Smith broke his leg in the last minute of a blowout win back in 2006. It was nearly the same injury that Eduardo suffered “dislocated and broken ankle” and looking at Eduardo’s progress this season in the context of Diaby’s struggle over the last three years should give us Arsenal fans some perspective. I’m not ready to say that Diaby has arrived (two good games is not enough) but I will applaud his hard work and touch all kinds of wood that he stays healthy.

If Diaby is any example, we all need to let Eduardo recover at his own pace as well. It could take him another year before he gets back to his old self.

Jose Christ, what an ego

I also won the Charity Shield; NEVER FORGET!

Never forget that after spending a Billion dollars in transfer fees and salaries, Jose Mourinho won two League titles and one FA Cup. That’s right, he won 3 real trophies. He also won some Milk cups and the Charity Shield, which of course he counts as part of his “massive” haul. But what else did he do for English football?

Stamford Bridge is my home, I never lost a Premier League game here in more than three years at the club and I only ever lost one Champions League match here. Chelsea fans do not forget that and the English people do not forget that. They don’t forget what I have done for them or what I have done for English football.

Awesome, Jose Mourinho is bigger than Jesus, breast implants, and beer all put together. He brought Italian style defensive football to England at a cost of a Billion dollars in debt to Chelsea FC and you English all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. He will be allowing you to kiss his ring at the Selfridges on Oxford Street Feb.2nd, start queuing now!

Collina backs video replay, game over

Collina is the only man to have ever red carded Chuck Norris and he has spoken out about using video technology to help referee matches:

Things cannot continue as they are, referees take the field knowing the match will be dissected to find their mistakes. “I’ll make a provocation: at this point we might as well use technology, otherwise the referee is the only one who has to decide with his own eyes, while everyone else assesses things with increasingly perfect technology.

Game over, man. Game over. Collina doesn’t interpret the rules, he is the rules.*

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em

I don’t know what’s more incredible about this story; the fact that Manchester City’s new owners are unabashed Real Madrid fans, or the fact that Real Madrid needed to publicly deny that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan made an offer for the team.

Hmmm… I’m going with the file photo included with the story. That’s a scary looking dude right there.

Edwin van der Sar’s wife

And finally, no joking around here, just a wish that van der Sar’s wife get better.

*I promise, no more “Collina Norris” jokes.

Tuesday Transfer Tattle

This is one of those mornings where I wake up wondering what I’m going to write about, go to the news feeds, and then sit back and say, “well this sucks.” We’ve literally got no transfer news and even worse, precious little transfer rumors.

Now, I know that I often bemoan the rumor mill and ridicule it and the British press, but think about it for a second… I need them! I need their constant “so and so is coming to Arsenal” or I’ll have nothing to make fun of. I mean, look at the popcockery that the press is aiming at rival clubs, Inter Milan to make a Gerrard swoop? That’s grade A stuff, people.

Vidic to Real Madrid? Why not Vermaelen to Barcelona? I could work with that. Balotelli to new found League challengers Manchester City? I thought Arsenal were in for Super Mario, what happened to that rumor?

No, the only thing that the journos can dig up is a story about how Marouane Chamakh is saying that he won’t leave Bordeaux, Arsenal are targeting a swap of Jay Simpson for some 15 year old, and some silly pap about a 21 year old keeper from Watford. 2 measly stories do not a column make.

And then there’s the worst thing that could happen, the one thing Arsenal blogger’s dread; Cesc Fabregas commits his future (again) to Arsenal. How am I supposed to get all indignant about Joan of Barcelona and the Spanish press when Fabregas is preemptively denying rumors?

It’s not fair, I tell you.

Well, let’s take a look at our two transfer targets. First off, there’s a 15 year old from QPR named Raheem Sterling who Arsenal are reportedly offering £1m plus Jay Simpson. Let’s see, 15, short, loads of potential, out of the blue signing, uhhh, yeah this deal is as good as done. Nothing to talk about there.

Scott Loach from Watford, 21, English, plays for the U-21 side, makes a ton of saves against crappy opposition, hmmm… Well if we do sign him, so what? Does anyone really see Loach as a legitimate challenge to Mooney’s #1 spot? Hell, is he even better than any of our other 21 year old keepers? Oh wait, what am I saying? This is a done deal.

And that’s it as far as transfer tattle for today. Enjoy.