Form and history says Alex Song will be back for Manchester United

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Those following the African Nations Cup will know that Cameroon have secured a place in the quarter-finals after coming back from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Tunisia.

The result means Cameroon finished second in their group and will face Egypt in the next round on Monday.

But what does this have to do with Arsenal?

Put simply, it means there’s a very good chance that Alex Song will be coming home from Angola early.

Egypt have been the best team in the tournament thus far and are the only side to drop a point, finishing top of their group at a canter. Meanwhile Cameroon have scrapped their way into the quarter-finals after losing to Gabon, squeaking past Zambia 3-2 and stealing a draw against Tunisia.

What’s more, the last edition of the ACN suggests that Egypt know exactly how to beat Cameroon. They defeated them twice in 2008, comprehensively outplaying them 4-1 in the group stages before lifting the trophy with a fully deserved 1-0 win in the final.

I said before the tournament that I wished Song and his Cameroon team all the best in Angola and I still do. But from a purely objective point of view, everything seems to be pointing to the conclusion that his team will be exiting the tournament on Monday.

This means it’s possible he could be available for Aston Villa on Wednesday and perhaps more importantly the home game against Manchester United on Sunday.

With the defence looking a little disorganised at the moment and Abou Diaby’s calf injury leaving us even lighter in the middle of the park the return of Song to the team would be very welcome news. Very welcome news, indeed.


Have your say on Alex Song by leaving a comment.



  1. They should have a plane ready at the gate to pick the guy up and take him back to London asap! He probably won’t play against Villa (too little recovery time). But he should be relatively fresh for the United game.

  2. I was hoping they would get knocked out today man! I’m sorry for being selfish Alex, I know you love your country (no doubt by wearing the armbands during Arsenal matches) but Arsenal NEED you brother!

    I’ll root for you in the World Cup!

  3. You’d be making a mistake to write Cameroon off in the game against Egypt.I’ve watched Cameroon over the years.They tend to start tournaments very slowly and they know how to scrap wins.Whichever way we look at it,we’ve got a cracking game come Monday.

  4. Is it me or has ACN lost some of it’s top billing this tyme round? Maybe they should consider holding it every four years coz even the world cup bound players arent motivated in Angola 2010, are they saving themselves for June/ July?… Yeah, maybe it’s me. But I also hope Cameroon lose so that they can (ironically) be better prepared for the World Cup later and so that Alex song can return and beef up the Arsenal midfield for those crucial february encounters.
    Still on a high after yesterday’s events, oh what a wonderful tyme to be Gunner fan.
    Thanks Andy for the blog that keeps me updated on all things Arsenal!

  5. good post, and i agree. hope alex n cameroon do well, and you never know they could beat egypt purely as they have shown the team spirit of champions in the last two games, never knowing when they’re beat.

    from the gunners point of view though, you best believe we need him back! i’m seriously nervous about the villa game forget the man utd game for now..villa away is tough and diaby is out…might have to play a more attacking midfield than expected. That villa game is huge, for confidence going into the united, chelsea and liverpool games

  6. i was pray that tunisia win the match as song could play in villa match but they get draw and qualify to next round but they finished second and the will face my country egypt and it will be tough match and hopefully wa can win and song return to Arsenal as we nneed him very much as all injures are in the same area(diaby, nasri,ramsy merida) hopefully fab and rest of team stay fit as now wa get 3 player out for the season (van perise ,djourou, gibbs)

  7. The villa game will be good. Villa will be tired from their long game against Blackburn in the league cup. Unites is going to be the key game for us this season.

  8. We love you and want you back… but do your country proud and bang em in against Egypt! That’s what I have to say to Mr. Song. The midfield will hold till your return.

  9. With all due respect to Cameroon and Song, I dont wish them well at all. I hope they loose and we get Song back as soon as possible. lol

  10. A waste of time African event that nobody cares for except that EPL players do not get injured. The stubborn insistence that the tournament be held in the middle of the European football season and every 2 years shows the lack of perspective of the organisers. Add to this the violence and varying standards of the teams, its a distraction to fans worldwide. FIFA should step in bring some common sense to the backwaters event.

  11. Nicely written Andrew. As much as i like to see players do well for their country, i actually believe in the bosses theory about who pays the wages & who they should be playing for. Combined with the injuries the gunners always seem to get whilst away on duty, i will be quite happy to see Song back behind Fab asap.

  12. My very first wish for 2010(so far for year 2010, i don’t really voice out any of my wish yet), i really hope Cameroon will out of competition as soon as possible.

  13. I hope ivory coast go all the way. And have extended celebrations. Drogba will miss our game aswell which is an added bonus

  14. @ ewan – I see where you’re coming from but I completely disagree with your statements. The ACN is a huge deal in Africa – a huge source of joy and happiness for the people – and due to the extremely hot weather it has to be played at this time.

    The one thing I do tend to agree with is that it is held so often. I think 3 years would probably suffice, although with the state of African league football the way that it is I can understand their desire to have a tournament as often as possible.

    Regardless of the details, it’s certainly not a waste of time.

  15. Egypt are in fantastic form and there is nothing to suggest they will not continue such form. After their dissapointing world cup campaign Im sure Egypt is looking for redemption through the ANC. So hopefully we will see our song back sooner than expected.

  16. I think most of us are getting ahead of ourselves. We’re all talking about the Man Utd game and the importance of it. I think we should clearly be more wary of the Villa threat for a number of reasons. We don’t need motivation against Man Utd. But that game could be a distraction against Villa. Plus we just thumped Villa a few weeks ago and it will definitely play on their mind. I’m mostly worried for Cesc. His performances last few weeks, especially against Villa could see them trying to kick him out of the game early. I just hope the refs keep an eye out for it. This next month is unbelievably crucial. I think 8 points from the games against Chelsea, Man Utd, Villa and Pool and we will win the title

  17. @ Adiiii83 – I’m not particularly getting ahead of myself, just alluding to the fact that Song might be back for United and could even feature against Villa. I think that’s fairly important.

  18. Yeah sorry Andrew. I was reffering to other comments made about the importance of the Man Utd game. I like your article though and I hate saying this, but I’m selfishly hoping that Egypt Wins. Cheers

  19. i wish Song and Cameroon all the best, but are you peoples crazy??? i think some one who watched song playing a game on this tournament can see that he is doing his best for his country and that means he is expecting something or he is eager for an achievement. so please lets wish him success as it means a lot for an African to win the trophy and they are capable of doing it. actually am Egypt’s fan but looking at his performance so far i expect him to come with success and good morale.

  20. I must be frank and honest. I never liked the departure of Song to go and participate in CAF competition. If I had the powers, I would have stopped him from doing so. It seems the Almighty God has heard my prayers when earnestly begged him to have Cameroon eliminated from the tournament as soon as possible. He told me not to worry because Alex would return to north London on Tuesday next week.

  21. Ja I have to admit selfishingly that having Song back would be very nice. And while we are at it could we maybe get Nasri and Ramsey back as well?? I agree with Ewan. We need to focus on Villa. Man the next 4 games are massive!

  22. I was watching Adebayor on television after the togo attacked and i was very surprised that he was putting on an arsenal jersey……………

  23. with the likes of diaby, ramsey and nasri out leavin only denilson @ CM, we need him ASAP.

  24. Thanks all of you for the interesting comments.If comeroom wins it will be good for me as an African but if it loose it will be very good to me as an Arsenal ,our song will be back for the crucial games,Nothing to loose.

  25. @ ewan. im from south africa and falls under the africa continent. you should be proud of the africans organising their own huge tournaments. we are also important people here. this tournament is almost similar to the uefa champions leugue. “the best of europe”. i think that the uefa champions luegue is very draging, especialy with this home and away rounds. ours is quick and fast. uefa are being played every year through to the next year. why would you guys expect our short non draging tornament to be played every three years for your own selfish reasons? the world is not always about uerope only.

  26. @Jethro- I really dont get how you can wish Song the best in Angola while supporting Egypt in the next game. Thats hypocrisy in prime form.

    I am really hoping that the overworked gallas and arshavin gets a well deserved rest this weekend at stoke and return fresh for the games against villa and manu. This will also give a chance 4 campbell to prove he has still got a percentage of his mojo and can feature in big games in champions league if gallas/vermaelen suffer an injury. With sagna gone and clichy not being able 2 hit form, now both the flanks are vulnerable. Our boys can show a lot of character in these games fighting back from a 2-nil deficit but can they really fight back and breach chelsea’s wall 3 times if they go 2-nil down with this depleted team. With bendtner cmin back, I was kinda hopin 4 this formation in the manu game-
    rosicky fabregas song diaby
    bendtner arshavin eduardo
    Now, with diaby injured, there are 2 big ‘if’s attached, if song defies the rule of probability and cameroon wins against egypt and bendtner isnt match fit in manu game and rosicky moves forward, there will be 3 big gaping holes in midfield….i am just being ‘pessimistic’ because thats how I like to be…What AW probably would do is play walcott in the startin line-up and play rosicky, fabregas, vela, denilson in the midfield….surely all the so-called optimists around here doesnt expect denilson and vela to pull off miracles in this big games + finally we will run out of players and have crap on bench + 2 wings exposed means we are dead meat unless we can step up our game and make some early inroads in the manu game.

  27. We definately need Song given that We only have Denilson to play DM and this season he seems un reliable due to the injuries he keeps picking up and without Song we are trully short in that area.


  29. interesting comments from both arsenal and fulham today regarding chris smalling.wenger was quizzed about it after the bolton game and he replied ‘i like to keep quiet about what we do. when we sign a player we will inform the is important that betwwen the clubs nothing comes out, from our side nor from fulhams’. although hodgson denied there is an offer in place he said ‘if arsenal are interested they should get in touch’. this is the first time during this window that arsene hasnt outright denied being after a player.yes it sounds like there is a lot still to do to sign him but it wasnt entirely negative from was pratically an invite!

  30. The thing I like about Almunia is his calmness, no one can make him lose his temper and that is refreshing after Lehmann, his ability is another question. Vermaelen has come in and been great, scoring goals for fun and his passing is very good, if he has improved our defence is another question. I like Gallas never surrender attitude, he will never give up and we need that, wheater he is too edgy is another question. Fabregas is absolutely fantastic, best midfielder Arsenal has even seen! And I have been amazed by Song, I wonder if he has a limit to what he can become. Arshavin may be off form right now but that boy is pure class, can shoot like a canon with both feet, can run as fast as any player out there and he is so competitive like Gallas and we need more guys like that. Last but not least Vpersie has developed into the player we hoped, world class finally and brings so much to the team. I love Arsenal, some day I will live in London and own a season ticket, even if Im 65! The reason Im so negative is because of my high standards and high hopes and dreams that require stellar performances to achieve. Good luck gunners!

  31. plus I must say what a class act Rosicky is when he’s fit of course, he has a different dimension to his game from our different attacking players. Has great Stamina a venemous right peg (think about that hamburg goal) and is very skillfull on the ball also has a great pass on him.

  32. the problem is that if arsenal win the league the pundits, sky and bbc will look to be complete mugs so when arsenal do well they try everything they can to get onto another subject! If we can get 9 points over the next 4 games then we have an easier run in then the rest of the top four

  33. So here we are where the doom and gloomers never expected us to be: top of the league in January. They will point at the fact we played one game more now and (having done my sums) I wouldn’t disagree on this. But we are in it and by the look of it we will fight like mad to stay there.

    We scored 59 goals in 22 games so far. In yesterdays game once again four different goal scorers. All our players apart from Almunia, Sagna and Clichy look capable of scoring goals at any time. The 100 goals mark is still realistic if we keep this tempo up like we have been doing for 22 games now.

    59 goals scored and our main striker Robin Van Persie, is out since the beginning of November and our second main striker Bendtner from the end of October – although he should be back soon now.

    For the rest we have almost every week a total team out with injuries or players unavailable for all kinds of reasons. And despite all this we keep on scoring as if it is nothing.

    Another strange thing is that from those 59 goals not a single one came from a penalty. We all know by now that we don’t get any penalty decisions our way from any ref in the EPL since the Eduardo incident in the CL.

    The silent ruling is there to see for everyone who wants to see it. 3 clear penalty’s in our last two games against Bolton and we don’t get the decisions. One clear penalty when we make a foul and the ref puts the ball on the spot.

    I’m not complaining on the Denilson penalty as it was a clear penalty but please also give us penalty’s when we are entitled to have one. I’m not asking to give us soft penalties but the ones that are clear, the least we could ask is to get those decisions.

    Another thing I would like to ask the refs is if they please could do what FIFA has asked refs to do: “protect the technical players”.

    The last two games I have been pulling out my already thin hair on my head and getting very frustrated with the amount of violence that some players can do without the ref doing anything about it. The fact that Knight in the first game could grab Vela’s shirt in an aggressive way without getting a yellow card is something I can not understand.

    The way Cesc was pushed in to the ground with a knee on the back of his neck and the hair pulling without a red card is unbelievable. Wake up you refs, these are the things that we are suppose to ban from football. Now all the ref did was lecture the one that was treated in a violent way and the offender got a smile, a laugh and shared a joke with his team mates.

    The last season when a team came out to kick us, we almost certainly lost points. But those days seem to be gone. Yes we still suffer the injuries that come with the kicking we get, but during the game we can respond to it. We never start a game with the intention to kick the others.

    No, we always start the game with the intention to play football in the proper way that is by kicking the ball and not the ankles or the legs of the opponents.

    But if the other team comes out to kick us we now have some players who respond to it. Players like Rosicky and Nasri have let opponents know in recent games that they will hit back if needed. Gallas has done it before in his career and with Vermaelen next to him we have got another player who is not afraid to put in his foot.

    The way we scored our equaliser is symptomatic of that. After over two hours of kicking our legs Gallas stepped in and committed a foul and I think the ref was still a bit confused after half time and didn’t realised that it was in fact Arsenal that made the strong challenge this time!

    But if you let players from one team commit foul after foul without punishment you get the tendency of letting more pass. So Bolton only got what they were trying to do to us. If you want to play “kick-im” don’t complain when it goes against you. Maybe next time learn from it and start playing football like it is mend to be by playing “kick-it”.

    So here we are top of the league in the middle of January. Like Wenger said this week: could you imagine where we would have been without all these injuries ?

    The one thing we now must hope for is that we can keep fit the players that we have left standing. We must hope that the injured players come back as quick as possible.

    And if there is one thing that I also hope for and I am really sorry for you personally Alex, is that Cameroon lose today against Tunisia and are out of the ANC. This would make his day miserable maybe, but it would make my day complete.

    Once again sorry Alex but I think you can understand that I am first off all an Arsenal fan and I really don’t care about other teams.

  34. i think we have trivalised the issue of the ACN. 1st & foremost, it has been a developmental competition to get African countries with the dual purpose of upgrading their football facilties with a view to improving their leagues as well as develop the vast talent the continent is known for. when we make some of the comments made above, it smirks of arrogance and disrespect to all Africans irrespective of the reasons. Any club that goes for African footballers know what they benefit from them & if they take some back to their root, is that a crime? we shld learn to be respectful of others tradition and not have an air of superiority. I want to belief that without the flair brought to the EPL & other leages across the world by African players, most of the leagues would have been very boring but true, their skills were sharpened abroad. In as much as I wld love to have Song back at the club, I will also want to see him achieve something on the Int’l level as this will tend to have a ripple effect of better performances at the club level. what is the gurantee dat if cameroun loses on monday he couldnt get injured…of what benefit wld he be to the club then?Lets be guided accordingly and be respectful. AW has always shown us the fans the way to handle affairs at the club level….thank you. Now lets roll dem GUNS out on the opposition as we savor the joy of being on top of the league.

  35. yo bruv song i just want to remind you to get ticket for tuesday as you know denilson is the shit player arsenal ever had very unrealiable loses the ball cheaply.and all our good midfielders is treatment room except (denilson shit player no 1).so i hope cameroon lose but win the world cup how about that.

    mr wenger sell denilson whenever he’s got the ball it always scares me.whatever happens please don’t play denilson he will cost us title.

    sell denilson

  36. Come back Alex we need you now ,you along with your capitan you are one of Gunners saviours this season,your doubters including me have i think all eaten their words.

  37. Alex Song is a key player for Arsenal and the sooner he comes home the better.We have crucial games coming up and he is needed at home.He has done nothing but improve over the past year

  38. I agree. I was honestly cheering for Tunisia in that game. Once I saw Cameroon’s first two games I knew they would not lift the trophy, and so I wanted Song back ASAP. I want Song to do well, but I am cheering for Egypt. Bring me back Song!!

  39. A Question i have been asving in every forum!!
    When could Song be Back!! Finally sum1 is answering!!
    Thanks Andrew

  40. Come on you gooners…. If arsenal cant cope without one player then we do not deserve to be champions, Take chelsea for example the loose more players than us to ACN and hearing Essien is out for 4-6 weeks, guess as fans we are lucky Song is not injured and Eboue will be nicely rested after getting a red card, least he comes back fresh… Hope to see Cameron vs Ivory Cost finale.

  41. **** Cameroon I think Song has worked very hard and deserves the praise he is getting love how sacure on the ball he looks 4 us but i just want him back in the A team come on Egypt

  42. I was so bummed when I saw the Group D results. We need Song back, as Denilson’s performance v Bolton clearly showed.

  43. Egypt have been the best team in the tournament thus far and are the only side to drop a point, finishing top of their group at a canter.

    I presume you mean’t not to drop a point. Go on Egypt, we won’t beat Utd without Song. One Song, we’ve only got one Song!!

  44. Its clear that although denilson chips in with the occasional goal, he is the weak link in the centre midfield position and does not provide adequate cover for song.

    New dmf required.

  45. Yep – when will he be released by Cameroon? It’s Monday – surely they won’t let him leave in time for Wednesday’s game?

    But the Man Utd game is a HUGE bonus.

  46. So Bendtner back for Villa and hopefully firing on all cylinders (if that’s possible with Bendtner) by Man Utd game, together with Song’s return. Also, Ramsey was supposed to have been out for ’21 days’ according to Wenger, but he was brought on as a sub during the Stoke game, so he’s obviously fit as well. If Nasri recovers quickly he could be in contention for the Man U game also. Essien being ruled out of the Chelsea game is brilliant and lets hope Drogba takes a while to re-discover his killer instinct in the Prem league after returning from ACN. All in all, some things to feel positive about for next few games.

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