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Wenger solves the mystery of the Nasri, Bendtner, and Senderos; it’s those meddling kids.

In his post-SC Columbia interview, Wenger talked exclusively with Arsenal TV Online and the interview, though brief, gave fans some insight into what happened with Samir Nasri, his expectations for Bendtner next year, and why Senderos played as a holding midfielder last night.

There has been a ton of speculation that Diaby tackled Nasri and broke his leg but the boss explained that Nasri’s leg was broken when some other player (he didn’t say who) was having a shot on goal and Samir nicked the ball away. He went on to explain that it’s not a horrible injury and Samir will only be out for 6 weeks. That’s only 2 weeks into the regular season and not nearly the blow that many had thought.

In the interview, Wenger was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing but I’m still of the mind that losing Nasri is a pretty big blow. Obviously, not of the magnitude of losing, say, Cesc in January when half the guys are away at the ACN, but it’s an important time none-the-less. Nasri is a rare talent who can challenge a lot of guys for a lot of different places on the team and as I say all the time, competition for places on the squad makes the whole team better. Having a young guy like Samir in the team, a guy who’s hungry to establish himself as a star on a big club like Arsenal is going to push others around him, like Arshavin, Diaby, and Walcott, to step up their games. Which only makes the whole team better.

Well, I say Diaby, but the boss sees Nasri more as an attacking player and when asked about cover for his spot instead mentioned Eduardo and Rosicky. I think a lot of folks forget that Dudu played on the left a number of times before he was injured. It’s the Arsenal way, innit? Play guys out of position? Irregardless, the point here is that Wenger sees Nasri as pretty much an attacking player and as I pointed out during the whole Adebayor debacle, attacking players are not something we’re short of, as evidenced by the fact that Sunderland is most likely Chamakh’s destination.  I’m kind of glad about this last bit, he really seemed more like a project than the kind of polished Arsenal player that we need next year.

Another attacking player that a lot of folks overlook is Nicky Bendtner. Wenger said he wants Nicklas Bendtner to start challenging for a regular place on the team and I can actually see Nicky taking over from Adebayor this season. If you look at the year before Adebayor broke out (in diamond plated wrist watches) he scored an unimpressive 12 goals for club and country in 50 matches. Last season, our young Nicky scored 18 goals and had 9 assists in 66 matches (28 of which were as a sub). If he works hard,  he’s going to get a lot of starts and if all the pieces around him are healthy, he’s going to have a lot of players who can feed him the ball, so I think a target of 20 league goals (more than doubling his haul of last year) is reasonable.

Now, I know he’s a divisive player and many supporters would rather Arsene buy Huntelaar because he’s the best goal scorer in the history of mankind, but let’s face facts: Wenger has groomed Nicklas to get him to this point and we all know how loyal Wenger is to his projects. So, you might as well go ahead and get off the Huntelaar wagon and get on the Nicky wagon now.

That way when he scores 25 goals you can say “I told you so” and “I’ve always been a huge fan of Bendtner, I thought he would be better than Huntelaar.”

The other big, huge, earth shaking, (did I mention huge?) revelation is that Phillipe Senderos is on his way out. Arsene said, in no uncertain terms, that Senderos has several offers and needs to decide on his future. This explains why Senderos was playing in the holding midfield role yesterday; Wenger needs to keep his fitness up, but doesn’t want to play him in the center of defense because he needs to solidify Vermaelen with his potential partners.

I’m sad to see Senderos go, I really thought he was going to be an important player for Arsenal when he had his break out season a few years ago. That said, Arsenal central defenders have it much harder than a lot of other squads. As the announcers mentioned in the 7-1 win over SC Columbia, yesterday, Arsenal’s attacking formation and high line leave them particularly vulnerable to over the top balls, and long outlet passes to a single central attacker: last year Robbie Keane did it, Agbonlahor did it, and Drogba’s done it a number of times, to name a few. This pressure is clearly difficult for these defenders to handle emotionally: we’ve lost Senderos, Campbell, Gallas buckled a bit, and we nearly lost Toure last year.

So, it’s quite sad to see Senderos go. In a different formation, if we played more of the style that Arsenal used to play, Senderos could have been a great asset. But as it stands we don’t, and he isn’t, and so he’s got to go. Best of luck big fella.

The players are now entering their “hard work” phase where they will train twice daily until they play again on Monday. Cesc has flown in and brought some giant balls with him. What? Those balls are for training! So, it’s looking like (nearly, minus Nasri) the whole squad are together and ready to kick start the season. Like I said, the next match is Monday, then there’s a match on Wednesday and after that? Athletico at the Emirates and two weeks before the start of the season.

I’m getting excited!

Oh yeah, one last thing… why is it that Newcastle are such c*nts that they get in a bench clearing brawl in a pre-season friendly? Can someone explain that to me? I don’t get it.

Nasri breaks a leg, Chamakh on the radar

How much for this Marouane Chamakh?

Arseblog is strongly linking Arsenal with Marouane Chamakh today, despite the player’s insistence yesterday that he hadn’t heard of any bids from Arsenal and the boss’ insistence that he wants to examine his strike options before buying any more firepower up front. Still, I’d trust Arseblogger over those two any day!

No, seriously, if Arseblogger is reporting it then we must believe that he’s confident in his sources. Me, I’m getting to the point with this transfer window that I just want it to be over and if the boss wants to add some depth to the attack, then more power to him. Depth is good, look at what happened in our defense last year; decimated by lack of depth.

Marouane Chamakh, come on down! You’re the next contestant on the price is right.

BREAKING: With the dot com reporting that Nasri suffered a broken leg in practice today and being out for maybe three months, depth is already needed. My feelings on this latest Nasri injury news can be summed up with this direct quote:

F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

Why the fuck do our guys get injured in practice so often? Why can’t we turn some of this angst outward and give fat lumps to cunts like Kevin “England International” Davies?

F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck F*ck FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK…

Well, think of it this way, it just means that Arsenal need, more than ever, to add some midfield depth. Nasri is one of the guys who are supposedly able to cover our  holding midfield role. He also covers the left side if Arsene wants to play Arshavin more centrally up front. And on any given Saturday he’s a starter on the left, middle, or wide right adding class in each of those spots. So, given this latest development, recruits are imperative in midfield.

It’s a long, hard season, we need all the help we can get if we’re going to win something this year. To a man they have spoken about the need to get this season off to a great start and to a fan we all agree. Before the injury, Wenger said that he feels the squad is “big enough” to hit our targets, and you have to wonder if he still thinks that. If this latest injury blow doesn’t shake Wenger to buy a midfielder, nothing will.

But the season doesn’t start for… hey, 3.5 weeks, just long enough to get someone in, get them acclimated to the system, whip them into shape…

*sigh*

There’s a pre-season friendly against SC Columbia Floridsdorf today, which is a name that reminds me of Tim Conway, South Carolina, Columbia University, and Florida all at once. The match is only available on Arsenal TV Online so, if you’re a subscriber, have fun watching today. Me, I’ll be at work, booo!

Feel free to post your thoughts on the match in the comments section, my regular reader knows how much I like all of your input on various topics.

Also, for you ATVO subscribers, check out Arshavin’s second goal against Liverpool; it’s made the top 10 of the Gunner’s Greatest 50 Goals poll they did this summer. Amazing stuff and it was my favorite goal of last season but many of you liked Andrei’s first goal even better. Will the first top the second goal in the GGG? Gripping stuff, really.

Anyway, that’s it for today, I’m sure the boss will have more to say about the Nasri situation tonight or tomorrow.

In the mean-time, you can win yourself a free shirt!

I am very proud to remind you about our second ever tee-shirt giveaway contest in conjunction with Philosophy Football dot comThe last giveaway of the Anfield ’89 shirt was very successful and they have come back for seconds! This time, they are offing a chance to get a red shirt with white sleeves, hell, it may be your only chance to get a shirt like that for years, if Nike have their way.  Anyway, enough of me editorializing on Arsenal’s rather ‘shirty’ kits, here’s the contest:

Win an Arsènal T-shirt

Strictly unofficial, Philosophy Football have franglaised ’Arsenal’ in tribute to Monsieur Wenger who has brought so much joie de vivre to the red half of North London. Available fromwww.philosophyfootball.com we have 5 to be won in our July competition.

To enter simply answer the following question:

“In what year was Arsène Wenger appointed Arsenal manager?”

Send your answer with name, address, preferred T-shirt size to:

admin@philosophyfootball.com

Entries close 26 July ’09, no purchase necessary to enter.

arsenalgooner