Thursday, February 22, 2007

Carling countdown, Jens speaks!, Thierry's foot.

Only three days now until the big day in Cardiff and my first cup final. Obviously, it would be nicer if it were, say, the Champions League, but I'll settle for this for now.

The most positive news today regarding Sunday is the injury to Terry, which will see Chel$ea's 'talisman' miss the game. Personally, I had half been looking forward to him playing, repeating what he said to Ledley King to Baptista, and watching as the Beast crushed him under his gargantuan thumb. Heh.

A few others who won't be involved are Jens and Thierry, who were both in the news today. Jens has been complaining about the amount of games played in England and I think he's got a point. Much as the Carling Cup has proved a fertile breeding ground for our youngsters in recent years, it is, still, a pretty pathetic competition nowadays. We already have one domestic knockout cup - possibly the only one with any real meaning in Europe - and we don't need another. Perhaps it should only be open to non-Premiership teams.

Jens also made the point that despite all our recent games, he actually hasn't been playing too much, with Manuel coming in for all the recent cup matches. To my mind, goalkeeper is a position you don't rotate. If one man is up for the job, you continually use him to keep him at the top of his game. Jens was a fraction away from saving PSV's goal on Tuesday: would he have saved it if he'd had the sharpness which would have come from the two FA cup games? The rationale behind rotating our keepers at the moment seems to be an attempt by Arsene to placate Almunia, and even, possibly, to ease him into the first team next year. I've said it before: Manuel is solid back-up but he's not a first choice keeper for a club of our level. If we are to commit the folly of letting Jens go this year, a replacement must be purchased.

Thierry Henry has also been in the paper complaining of an inflammation to the ligaments in his foot. It amazes me sometimes how fickle football fans are: I've read several comments along the lines that Thierry is 'looking for excuses' due to his 'poor form', and even that we should have sold him when we had the chance. Indeed, the idiot behind me hasnow taken to shouting 'go away' (in less polite terms) to Barca every time Henry makes a mistake nowadays. I presume he didn't celebrate when Thierry scored our last minute winner against United earlier in the season.

Thierry's form of late is worthy of a (lengthy) article of its own. What I will say is that he is our top scorer of all time. He can do things with the ball that no one else can do in our current team. His form this season has been patchy, but he's still scored several vital and superb goals (Liverpool, United, Boro, Blackburn) since Christmas.

Before you abuse him, remember all he's done for the club, and remember all players go through dips in form. Also remember that Thierry's left hand side production line (pires/cole/reyes) has gone, and that Thierry may be adjusting to the start of the decline in his pace.

He stuck with us; we should stick with him.

Til later. Gb.


gazzap said...

If Jens was that much better than almunia wenger would not rotate. wenger sees them as being practically on the same level and based on this seasons performances so do i. I think manuel gets a lot of stick from some arsenal fans based on his performances years ago.
you have to remember that he has played relatively few games for us and his position is all about experience so personally I have been really impressed with almunia this season. I dont think either of them are the worlds best (or good enough to be arsenal no.1).
a new keeper in the summer and MA as number 2 would suit me.

Anonymous said...

agree with u Gazz.
We need Akinfeev or Buffon.
TH has been a phenomenon.
He stuck with us despite the glitz of Spain and i think we should stick with him.
But more importantly, we should accept the price of sticking with him as he also has a price he is paying sticking with Arsenal.

Dong Zhou said...

Jens though hasn't played in Fa Cup games for ages, I'm not sure but think the same was with Seamen, outside of the semi's, the second choice got a run out.

I think Almunia could become Arsenal's first choice in two season or three but right now, Jens just has that knack, that command of the box, that makes him world class.

Enjoy the final, hope we win but whatever happens, a massive achivment for our young players to get this far, let alone thrash Liverpool 6-3 at their place.

With you on Henry, this season he has not been at his best but it was going to happen sometime, next season he will be ramming those words down people's throats.

Valentin said...

The problem with Henry is that he insists to play every game even when injured.
Arsenal is not a one-man team, and when injured he should gracefully give way to other players.
It just shows a lot of selfishness and a complete lack of respect to other players. In my view, it is not the sign of a great captain. Nobody should be above the team.

Aliadiere could have played in the champion league and in the form he is currently in, I am convinced that he could have scored.

Valentin said...

Regarding the left side, what is clear is that Clichy is often ignored when alone on the left.
Nor Hleb, Rosicky or Ljunberg are classic left sided midfield player.
We definately need an axtra left sided midfield player.
Gareth Bale may be the answer next year, but a very expensive answer. Will Arsenal be able to compete a player auction with ManUtd, Chelsea and Spurs.