Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has been ruled out of the club’s weekend Premiership clash away to Manchester City. Arsene Wenger revealed that the Spaniard twisted his thumb during training on Friday and will miss a week as a result. Almunia will be replaced by Jens Lehmann, who will be eager to impress following his declaration earlier in the week that he wants to continue fighting for his position at Arsenal.
Also joining Almunia and a host of other players on the injury table is midfielder Gilberto Silva. The Brazilian injured his back at training and, like Almunia, should only be out for a short stint. Both injuries have left the Arsenal squad looking incredibly thin. Indeed, when you account for all the players out injured right now as well as those away at the African Cup of Nations thinks look pretty awful. Just sixteen first-team players are available for the game against Manchester City with nine players unavailable. Observe.
Available First-Team Players: Jens Lehmann; Abou Diaby; Bacary Sagna; Cesc Fabregas; Philippe Senderos; Eduardo da Silva; William Gallas; Alexander Hleb; Mathieu Flamini; Lukasz Fabianski; Gael Clichy; Emmanuel Adebayor; Nicklas Bendtner; Armand Traore; Justin Hoyte; Theo Walcott.
Unavailable First-Team Players: Kolo Toure; Tomas Rosicky; Robin van Persie; Denilson; Alexandre Song; Gilberto Silva; Johan Djourou; Manuel Almunia; Emmanuel Eboue.
Thankfully most of the players who are available for the match are first-choice players anyway so there shouldn’t be too much of an impact for game against City. However if one or two more come up short then Arsenal are in some serious problems, especially if their names are Mathieu Flamini or Emmanuel Adebayor. Better not to think about it though.
Other little tidbits coming out of the media before today’s game are as follows:
- Arsene Wenger has revealed he was very close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo before he joined Manchester United. I think a lot of people are going to be a bit disappointed to hear this but I’m not too bothered. Over the years my (almost) hatred for Ronaldo has reached such insane heights that I can’t imagine him as an Arsenal player and don’t really want to. A great player he is, but a great man he is not.
- Wenger has also spoken out against David Beckham being dropped from the England squad for their friendly international against Switzerland. I’m not sure where I stand on this one. While I don’t think Beckham will make it into the English World Cup squad for 2010 (he’ll be 35 by then) I think it was a little harsh to deny him his 100th cap for his country. It’s clear Fabio Capello wants to be taken seriously in his first international so maybe Beckham will feature a little bit further down the line. We’ll see.
- Gael Clichy has been called up to the French squad. It’s a great reward for a great player and Goodplaya has already said what needs to be said here.
That’s about it. I will be hoping that Arsenal come away with three points from the City of Manchester Stadium and I think they’re in a good position to do so despite the injuries. With Adebayor playing well up front and Hleb and Fabregas starting to work their way back into form I think goals are going to come a little easier for the boys, and with Gallas and Flamini in top form City are going to have to play particularly well to break Arsenal down at the back.
Have a good one, wherever in the world you may be watching it. I’m going for 2-0 to the Arsenal with Fabregas scoring his second goal in as many games.
What do you think?
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