Good vibrations at Arsenal

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Arsenal will head into the weekend’s Premiership encounter with Derby County with as many as six first-team players out with injury. But three of its most important players are raring to go after a fantastic start to the season.

Alexander Hleb may miss the clash with DerbyThe injury list before the weekend included Jens Lehmann, William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue but now looks significantly worse with the news that Tomas Rosicky will definitely be out and Philippe Senderos and Alexander Hleb may also not be unavailable. Rosicky, not for the first time this season, strained his hamstring against Sevilla and will be out for at least two weeks, while Senderos and Hleb may also be sidelined with respective hip and knee problems. Despite the team list looking a little thin, manager Arsene Wenger conceded that he may use the game against Derby to rest a few tired legs.

“Hleb is a major doubt because of a kick on his knee. He has liquid on it today so we’ll see how it goes down. Senderos is a doubt with a hip problem. We don’t know how bad that is. I will rotate a little bit to bring in some fresh players. I don’t know [who] yet because that depends on whether Hleb and Senderos will be available.”

While the injuries are undoubtedly annoying, they haven’t exactly come at the worst time. A home game against Derby is about as easy a game as Arsenal are going to get this season and even if the entire first eleven were unavailable I would still be expecting three points. Some people point to the club’s record against the lower teams last season and think that the decision to rotate players is not a smart one, but I think it’s fine. Arsenal are not the same team they were last season and I am confident that whoever gets to play against Derby will give it their all.

The question of who is rested and who will start is a tricky one. As Wenger suggests, a lot depends on whether or not Hleb and Senderos are passed fit to play. My prediction is that they will not be and if that’s the case then I could see Theo Walcott and Gilberto Silva coming in to replace them and Denilson or Abou Diaby starting on the left in place of Rosicky. Of the other players left from the starting team against Sevilla, I can see getting Robin van Persie, who has started every game this season, being rested and Eduardo da Silva getting a start.

He doesn’t look it, but Adebayor says he is more focused without HenryAdebayor more focused without Henry

The man Eduardo would play alongside up front against Derby is Emmanuel Adebayor. There were many readers of this blog who suggested that Adebayor’s game time would be limited this season with the arrival of Eduardo, but the big man has taken the chances given to him by Wenger with both hands. Adebayor had some interesting comments to make about his start to the season and the way the strikeforce has had to adapt with the absence of Thierry Henry.

“When Thierry left, guys like me and Robin van Persie knew that we were going to play, so our concentration goes another way. We do not have anyone who we are sure can score 30 goals, so we have to put our heart in the game and do our maximum. The most important thing is the team – if I score 100 goals and we do not win anything, that is rubbish, but I can score 10 goals and we win a lot of things.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Adebayor’s comments is that once he knew Henry was leaving he said that his concentration increased. Whether that means he lacked concentration last season or not is now irrelevant, because it seems to me that he has now realised that the responsibility is on his shoulders. He needed to step up to the challenge and so far this season he has delivered. Adebayor’s strike partner Robin van Persie was also in a vocal mood after the Sevilla game, talking about the culture and team spirit at the club.

“I love doing stuff together. This is a unique team in Europe. We are unique because, as we say in Holland, the nose is pointed at the same direction. When you come to Arsenal, like me, I was a bit of an individual. But the boss taught me slowly how to play together and that you get more out of your career when you work together. I know everyone is thinking the Arsenal way and that can make a big difference as well. Not many teams are playing the way we play.” 

To me, this sums up exactly why it is a pleasure to support Arsenal under the management of Wenger. When van Persie arrived at Arsenal he was a troublesome young man with a very self-centred attitude and to hear this sort of comment for him is just wonderful. When you see this picture of the side after the Sevilla game you can really see how much they love playing together in the same side and it’s really showing out on the pitch. As van Persie says, there are not many teams playing the way Arsenal are playing right now.

Flamini has been a tiger so far this seasonFlamini’s happiness

The unified direction of the squad this season is perhaps captured best by the performances of Mathieu Flamini. Before the start of the season Flamini publicly declared that he wanted to leave the club because of a lack of opportunity but he’s been one of the key ingredients in the club’s positive start. Flamini played as well as I’ve ever seen against Sevilla midweek in his preferred position as a tackling midfielder alongside Cesc Fabregas. Understandably, he is absolutely delighted with the opportunities he has been given after making the tough decision to stay.

“I like to play in midfield because it’s my natural position and I always enjoy to play there. But when I have to play for the team at right back I am trying to do my best. It is important to teach players to play everywhere. For example, Michael Essien at Chelsea is asked to play right back and he plays there. If I am picked to play I play, if not it’s not a problem. The boss makes the decision and I respect his decision.”

Again, as a supporter of the club, this is great to hear. I have always had a lot of respect for Flamini and it’s great to see him getting the opportunities his effort has deserved. I’ve mentioned previously that the Frenchman is a vital cog in the Arsenal team and what I consider to be the perfect squad player. With Gilberto set to start in defence against Derby again this weekend it will give Flamini another chance to build on his partnership with Cesc Fabregas. And that can only be a good thing.

What do you think?

Have your say on injuries, Adebayor, van Persie and Flamini by leaving a comment.


21 thoughts on “Good vibrations at Arsenal

  1. I wouldn’t drop RVP after he scores a goal against Seville as it doesn’t send the right message instead I would start him up front with Ade and play Dudu on the left wing with Denilson or Theo on the right wing and have Gilberto at centre back.

    I like RVP comments, the bit about being an individual and playing as team reminds a bit of when TH was at Arsenal and I like “the nose is pointed at the same direction.” 🙂

  2. Yeah, “the nose is pointed in the same direction”. Such a funny thing to say. Same with Adebayor’s “100 goals” comment – if he scored 100 goals we’d be Premiership and European Champions for sure!

  3. i would drop RVP, i think RBP would be fine with it. Its so other players can start. Rest key players. My sqaud for Derby.:

  4. Arsene Wenger won’t let them underestimate Derby,losing to the ”lesser”teams was a big problem for us last season so they should be keep to correct that.
    If we want to stay at the top of the premiership,Wenger should play all the best players only injuries should dictate a change in a winning team.
    Any thoughts on the lineup and score predictions for the visit of promoted Derby County.
    Adebayor-Van Persie.
    Subs:Denilson,Eduardo,Almunia,Diarra,Hoyte,Bendtner and Taoare.
    Arsenal 5 – Derby 1

  5. Exactly, why would Wenger throw in a bunch of new faces? That sends a message that this game will be simple and we can play guys who havent played much and still win. Thats completely wrong. We need to keep the same guys in there that have been winning for us. If someone is tired then rest him but dont just rest most of the guys who’ve been winning, that makes no sense and sends the wrong message. They need to be focused since Derby is exactly the kinda teams we’ve been beaten by the in the last few years. the only difference i would start Denilson or Eduardo on the wing, not Diaby, he is rubbish on the wing.

  6. I’m surprised how well Cesc and Flamini played together against Sevilla. I thought they were scary good; title-winning quality.

    I don’t think they had looked that good together previously, but I’m quite curious to see if they can duplicate it.

  7. “If someone is tired then rest him but dont just rest most of the guys who’ve been winning, that makes no sense and sends the wrong message.”

    Absolutely 100% agree. I wouldn’t change a winning formula, but I would rest van Persie if he need it.

    433 – They were exceptional. As you say, for the first time I have seen them play together they looked like a real partnership. If they keep it up I would not be thinking of dropping Flamini the way it’s going.

  8. I reckon AW will start with 4-4-2:

    Adebayor-Van Persie.

    I prefer to see 4-3-3:

    Walcott Fabregas
    Van Persie – Adebayor – Eduardo

    Subs:Denilson,Fabianski,Diarra,Hoyte,Bendtner and Diaby.
    Arsenal 3 – Derby 0

    Sub Adebayor or RvP with Bendtner after 60 min with 2-0 leading. 70 min sub Walcott with Denilson. If Arsenal play very attacking 4-3-3 Derby will have problem to keep up the pace.

  9. I still can’t 4get the 3-0 thrashing we gave to sevilla,but all is gud, for those who will come in,they have play a few games this season. I do worried about gilberto as things as not been rosz for him,loss of captaincy in a manner unexpectancy, now playing in centre back position where not too comfortable and realizing that it’s just a temporary position.
    i don’t what fans 2 4get his contribution to the team.when I watch brazil, I always want to see if he is playing,becoz arsenal are recognize by how he performs out there as he play for the no1 country.Hoping walcott gets a chance to play bef4 the league cup begins,he too is a big concern and the others, as denilson can play well with eduardo in touches.It does irratate me that our players injuries is a regular thing as compare to other teams,are they just fragile or many touches that they play can also make it easier for teams to tack them?

  10. My team (Senderos passed a fitness test):

    Sagna – Toure – Senderos – Clichy
    Walcott – Fabregas – Diarra – Eduardo
    Bendtner – Adebayor

    Subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Flamini, Gilberto, Van Persie

    What the team will be, I think:
    Sagna – Toure – Phil – Clichy
    Walcott – Fabregas – Gilberto – Diaby
    Van Persie – Eduardo

    Subs: Fabianksi, Hoyte, Flamini, Song, Ade.

    SF: Have you written about Usmanov Vs. Free Speech anywhere or did you back down?

  11. Also, what do you think the team will be in the CC?
    Fabianski (or Lehmann, with it being his last game as he storms off)
    Hoyte – Toure – Senderos – Traore
    Walcott – Denilson – Diarra – Diaby (or Gibbs)
    Eduardo – Bendtner

    To me, this team would make it to the uefa cup in the league (mebbe through the inter toto but still! Arsene Knows…)

  12. Well done to Adebayor !!!!
    I have always supported Adebayor he has delivered in big games.But this season he has really come on since the departure of Thierry Henry.
    It certainly looks like we are moving in the right direction this season.
    Arsenal all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Yet another Fabby goal 🙂 and Diaby finally scored too and well done to Ade for his first hat trick although I heard the team missed a few sitters and it could have been quite a few more.

  14. Oh I forgot to say I heard Theo was one of the worst offenders of missing sitters, the commentator here (England) was quite scathing. 🙁

  15. Theo is clearly not ready, he shows great stuff, then in the final third he either misses the final ball or he takes a shot that makes no sense. He has a great burst of speed tho, once Wenger and the staff can get him to make the right decision in the final third, he will be one hell of a player. It could have been 7 or 8 had they pressed, but they just played the ball around after the second goal in the 1st half, and after the 3rd they really relaxed and just found the holes in the defence. Well done!

  16. If Fabregas and the rest of our team carry on the way they are,Arsenal will not only be in with a shout,we will win the title.Arsenal have sterner tests to face,and we look forward to them,but our team at the moment look magnificent.It’s hard to say,but I admire the football,the strength,the purpose,the teamwork,must be great being a Gooner at the moment.
    There will be sterner tests ahead,but yesterday match was yet another sign of a better Arsenal.Even without Thierry Henry!!!!
    I dont know if you agree but Adebayor is very similar to Kanu in his early days……..!
    In general,however,I have to say we have good reason to smile right now.Our midfield is finally contributing goals,and Adebayor is finding some great form.Sagna and Clichy look solid,Flamini is playing superbly,and Diarra looks to be a great buy.

  17. Absolutely 5 star performance (even though agaisnt Derby). Super goal from Diaby, he could of had 2 goals. ANOTHER goal from Fab and another great goal aswell. Ade gets a hat rick is great for arsenal and i take back my previous comment of wanting him to go on loan to Inter, he has proved me wrong.

  18. I dont know if you agree but Adebayor is very similar to Kanu in his early days……..!
    I cant agree more, i was thinkin that myself, they even look similar when they have their hair braided. I think he plays the same style of football Kanu plays, but i also think he has the ability to be better then Kanu ever was.

  19. I am on the verge on becoming an Adebayor fan, one more majestic performance and i think we have found our “star striker”. Apparently Wenger quoted ” i have 2 young legends in my squad. Van persie is my bergkamp and Adebayor is my Henry” It shows how much faith AW has in the 2 strikers. What line-ups and scorelines do all u gunner fans think will be agaisnt newcastle?

  20. Jay – I’ll be posting again tonight. Apologies for the lack of updates, there wasn’t much I could do. It’s good to see the fans coming around to Adebayor, I’ll try and refrain from saying “I told you so!”.

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