Hello again and a very happy Tuesday to you all.
I’ll start today by thanking everyone who commented on yesterday’s post focusing on the 1-0 weekend win over West Brom. There were some really interesting opinions on a number of players and I had a great time discussing the game with a whole heap of readers. Excellent stuff.
The strong performance of Johan Djourou was perhaps the most debated issue with a number of people – myself included – suggesting that he should keep his place for the Fulham game at the expense of Kolo Toure. There seemed to be a general feeling that his good form should see him keep his spot and it was interesting to see that Arsene Wenger is clearly tossing up whether to do so.
“At the start of the season it’s always very difficult to assess how good [players like] Denilson and Johan Djourou will be. They can only develop if they play. It’s a tricky situation. People want to see big names and they want to see good young players as well.”
I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today – if I was in Wenger’s position then I would certainly be keeping Djourou in the side. While I don’t necessarily think he is a better player than Toure just yet he is certainly playing well just now and should be rewarded for it.
For me the situation draws some comparisons to the one that Mathieu Flamini worked himself into last season. Similarly to Toure, Gilberto Silva missed the first game of the season after a minor injury and Flamini was given the chance to impress. As you all know, he never looked back – forging a superb partnership with Cesc Fabregas and relegating Gilberto to a spot on the bench for the entire campaign.
While I’m not saying that Djourou will necessarily do a Flamini, I do think that the Swiss defender deserves the opportunity to show the manager and the fans what he can do. I can tell you right now that if Toure had played as well as Djourou has in the first two games there is no way the manager would think about dropping him. Experience aside, why should it be any different for Djourou?
Regardless of whether he does keep his spot in the Arsenal starting side, Djourou’s performances have certainly not gone unnoticed by Switzerland national team manager Ottmar Hitzfield. Indeed, he has deservedly recalled Djourou to the Swiss squad for the midweek game against Cyprus in place of injured club-mate Philippe Senderos.
I do wonder whether Wenger will use Djourou’s call-up as an excuse to drop him for the weekend game against Fulham even if he doesn’t get any minutes on the pitch against Cyprus. I certainly hope not.
Djourou is not the only Arsenal player to be recalled to their respective national team squad as Samir Nasri was rewarded for his weekend efforts with a spot in the France squad for their clash with Sweden. All I can say is that I will be praying that he doesn’t get injured. Him or anyone else going away on international duty for that matter. Fingers crossed, eh?
The former is hardly a surprise while the latter is – I believe – a good move for everyone involved. I’ve said before that I’ve never seen Hoyte as being a good enough player for Arsenal and Wenger’s decision to let him go says that the club felt the same way. In some ways it’s a harsh end to a very good relationship between Hoyte and Arsenal but in another way it will open the door for the Englishman to get a fresh chance to show what he can do. I wish him all the best.
Aside from Hoyte, reserve-team captain Harvard Nordtveit has gone out on loan to Spanish second-division side Salamanca for the season while Kieran Gibbs looks all set for a loan to Reading. Hopefully both players can use the time to continue improving and gain the necessary experience required to push for a first-team position next season.
And that’s it for a relatively busy day. I’d love to hear more comments on the Djourou situation so if you’ve got some time be sure to let me and the other readers know what you think. Cheers.
Have your say on Djourou, Nasri, Hoyte or the loanees by leaving a comment.