Wenger’s silly gamble means no Eduardo against Blackburn + Walcott, Bendtner available

Usually when Arsenal play on a Sunday it totally throws out my blogging schedule. I like to do my match previews on a Friday regardless of when the game is played but when it is on a Sunday Arsene Wenger has a tendency to withhold useful player information or injury updates until Saturday.  It then means I have to write up a pre-preview followed by a dodgy second preview where I conjure up some tosh that nobody really wants to read.

There’s no such nonsense today though with the manager essentially naming his squad for the game against Blackburn. Theo Walcott will return as will car crash victim Nicklas Bendtner, while Eduardo has been ruled out with injury. A few people on the blog had been posing the very valid question, “Why hasn’t Eduardo been playing more recently?” with the mystery being solved by Wenger’s admission that the Croatian has been playing with a slight thigh problem that was aggravated against Olympiacos.

I have to say – as much as I can be a day after Wenger’s 13th anniversary with the club – I’m a little peeved with the Frenchman. He admitted in today’s press conference that “it was a gamble to play him [against Olympiacos] and unfortunately his muscle injury got worse” and it does beg the question why, in a fairly meaningless Champions League group game that we were never going to lose, he was risked. Sure he came on and assisted the goal but there was every chance that we might get one without Eduardo’s introduction and I honestly feel it was a poor bit of man-management by Wenger. Luckily I’m too happy today to dwell on that issue for too long so I’ll move on.

The ins and outs leaves us with another very strong squad and regardless of what combination of players the manager puts out I fancy us to win and win well at The Emirates. Vito Mannone will continue in goals behind what should be our strongest back four while I feel the manager may shuffle his pack slightly higher up the pitch. I’ve been saying for a few games now that Cesc Fabregas could do with a rest and after a superb performance against Olympiacos this might be the game for it. Aaron Ramsey or Tomas Rosicky could slot in while we could see Nicklas Bendtner on from the start or even Emmanuel Eboue higher up the pitch. The attacking options are almost endless and I will be intrigued to see who does get the nod from Wenger.

In other news today old boy Thierry Henry has given his own tribute to Arsene Wenger – stating that “he’s the type of guy that makes you realise that you can do anything you want” as well as admitting that he would love to come back to the Arsenal Football Club in some regard after he retires. They are wonderful words from an absolute legend and there’s not much else I need to add really.

Before I go today I just want to throw out a quick happy birthday message to my mate John at work. A fellow Gooner and the only one at my work, by some fluke of coincidence John happens to sit next to me and he’ll be celebrating his birthday on the day of the Blackburn game. Happy birthday John and hopefully the boys can do the business for you on Sunday.

Right, I’m off to sample some art and have a couple of wines. Cheerio!

Have your say on Arsenal’s match-up with Blackburn by leaving a comment.



  1. Eduardo came and made the goal. The fact that you believe we would have scored without him is ludicrous. It is better to qualify first and rest players after. For example, did you know that we play Chelsea after the last game against Standard?

    We should be able to beat Blackburn and we have an international break.

    Think before you post.

  2. One has to presume that he will continue with RvP up front in the middle with Arshavin on the left, with bendy and theo back again I presume he will still go with bendy with theo on the bench to come on in the second half. The back 4 and middle 3 I can’t see him changing apart from bringing Sagna back in to the defence. I hope we put Blackburn to the sword and if we play like on Tuesday then I see no reason that we won’t, lets not leave it so late though.

  3. Firstly Happy Birthday John may be i should say in advance. Now to Arsenal I think game against Fulum and BlackBurn are the type of game you need to win any how Home or Away or With or Without Eduardo. Just win the game and move on to next game in EPL. We are Six points behind lets hope leaders of EPL drop some points this weekend. I would be watching Walcott Closely if Arsene Wenger gives him the chance I think this is the season were we can criticize him if we doesn’t perform consistently. Now Lastly Henry I just love you and miss you. Just see you in my dreams playing for Arsenal. What an role model. Just waiting for him to come to Arsenal. We all gunners would welcome him with open hands.

  4. Eduardo might just be slightly injured but AW may just have produced the masterstroke in resting him ahead of the international break to conserve him for much longer..

  5. Have to disagree on AW’s decision to play Edurado. The front line was being remarkable in their inability to stick a final pass together or a shot into a corner instead of right at the keeper.

    Eduardo came on and added a clinical edge and intelligence to our approach work that lead to the goal. I honestly don’t think we would have scored if he hadn’t come on. If we had drawn everyone would have been moaning and calling AW a cunt.

    We are now in a brilliant position and possibly will be able to rest players later in the group when we may have more injuries or face tougher opponents in the next game after the CL midweek game.

    Totally right call to play eduardo for me, winning was crucial. He now misses blackburn – big deal, and then can recover while the international break is on. No real harm done unless he is out for months which it doesn’t sound like he will be.

  6. “… a fairly meaningless Champions League group game….”

    Just listen to yourself, man.

    I agree with Gooni, I’m only too happy about the timing of this injury. You can’t convince me that a player as fragile as Eduardo would have recovered from the injury sufficiently, played on the international break, and come back unscathed.

    Really, I don’t think I’ve ever been so concerned about international break injuries as I am this time.

  7. Well, pity about Eduardo but in the grand scheme of things we should still beat Blackburn fairly comfortable.

    Disagree on Cesc though, he’s been below par recently and now as he seem to pick up a bit you suggest to rest him? Dunno, would rather see him play.

    It’s the first time you’re openly critical of the manager innit? 🙂 About time, hehe!

  8. I agree with u Matt, that game was important, ofcourse, olympiakos wasnt really a good side but AW needed a secure win of at least 2-0 to be able to play a comfortable away 2nd leg match, thats why he had to put Dudu on.
    As for Cesc to be rested, I dont really agree with your idea abt resting him.Cesc needs to get more confidence back on his game, you and I all know that he can perform much better than we ve seen from him so far but he still needs to get himself fit with the new in form Arsenal team which is still composed by some few immature players like Diaby and Bendy.
    Cesc is actually a young mature players,(Its not a surprise that he is our captna), he needs mature players like Arsha,RVP ard him to be able to perform at his best.Im just glad now that Theo is back so that at least Bendy would be benched.Im looking forward to see this line up on sunday.

    Oh Gosh!!!! i hate to see Diaby in my line up but iknow he’ll be there,and i cant wait to see the trio Cesc-Theo-Arsha.Eboue or Ramsey would be much better on Diaby’s job.

  9. Eduardo might just be slightly injured but AW may just have produced the masterstroke in resting him ahead of the international break to conserve him for much longer..

    Posted by Gooni | October 2, 2009, 6:05 pm

    I LIKE IT THAT WE HAVE SMART PEOPLE IN ARSENAL, that was a brilliant comment and my words!!

  10. If Eduardo’s injury is minor, then with the exception of Nasri who is out for a while, we seem to have got through the injury crisis. Against teams like Blackburn we should be fielding full strength sides and hammering them! We have lost too many games to smaller teams in the last couple of years and it has cost us dearly. I agree that we should get champs league qualification done and dusted and concentrate of scoring league points.

  11. @Ian
    Just to correct you mate, Nasri is not ‘out for a while’. He’s tipped to return soon, very soon actually, just after the international break. So far, he’s been doing some fitness training together with Fabianski. They should both be back after the international break

  12. Thanks mgeiks I’ve been working some strange shifts lately and it seems my “intelligence network” is not up to scratch! Happy days as I think Nasri gives us another attacking option

  13. hey Guys, lets job belif dat the Gaffer took the best decision at that time & it paid off. it wld ve been more painful if nothing came out of the match & he still got his injury aggravated.. I belif wt the squad, we can still do d damage…

  14. As to Eduardo, I’m going to have to agree with those of you that point out the international break will take care of his injury. We certanily needed him against Olympiacos. There was no guaranty that we were going to score. We also know what happened to Arshavin at the last international break?

    Slowly, but surely our injured players are coming back. I just want to see what kind of lineup we will have in midfield and up front when everyone is back. Think about this for a minute, we have Cesc, Arsha, Nasri, Rosicky, Walcatt, Song, Deni, Ramsey, Diaby, Eboue, RVP, Eduardo, Bendy, Vela, and Willshere. I’m sure Wenger will have a selection headache. Not such a bad problem to have, is it? for a change.

  15. Evening all, ive been away due to my shifts also. Other staff have lost their positions so i am forced to cover. Im like a walking Zombie at the moment.
    What has happened to Denilson, team seemed to have improved without him.
    My only worry for Arsenal at the moment is how many chances they need to score a goal. I have most confidence with Arshavin or Eduardo down the middle as they seem to be better out and out strikers. Arsene seems to like RVP in that position. The quicker games are killed off the better for all. Really looking forward to seeing Walcott back, lets hope he hits the floor running. ‘Hopefully with the ball’ Good luck to Diaby.

  16. ————-Mannone————–
    —-Walcott-van Persie-Arshavin—

    Hoping for this lineup

  17. Not enough balance with the 3 mid as fabs Song and Rosi. Stronger attack and pretection with 442. Walcott should be part of middle 4 that way Fabs can express himself more.

  18. If you want to play 433, Eboue should be on the right of the midfield and Fabs on the bench. If Fabs plays on the right Eboue should play as part of the attacking 3 on the right. He has plenty of energy to get fwd and to track back.
    How about playing Vermaelen as a midfielder and playing Song at the back. Mad suggestion you might think but i still cant get over that goal he scored.

  19. Fair enough points made about the importance of the Champions League and getting the points early on. I guess what I was trying to say, and perhaps I didn’t allude to it enough (or at all) was that “taking a gamble” on an injured player is something Arsenal and Wenger do all too often and it consistently leads to injury problems. We had a bench consisting of some strong creative player and although neither of them are in Eduardo’s class I think it was irresponsible of Wenger to put him on when he knew he had an injury problem.

    As a few people have said though, we have an international break coming up so hopefully he’s good to go by then.

  20. @ Steve – I didn’t say we would score, I said “there was every chance that we might get one”. And I don’t think it’s ludicrous given the amount of chances that went begging, there’s no way to say that we wouldn’t have scored. Ludicrous is a harsh word.

  21. it’s not boring with your guys, not at all!!! (seemed as if they shooted their frust of their soul) but you have to admit that the first from Blackburn wasn’t bad either…….. 🙂

  22. Thierry is in the stands. What a legend!!!!!

    I really hope he comes back to Arsenal one day in some capacity.

  23. what a match, it’s nearly too much, exciting, fabulous goals, what can they do when they get a run, finally some fine counter attacks and so on, it’s nearly too much to enjoy each highlight, you don’t know who you should mention, if you mention this one you have to add that one and so on……., great, just enjoy….

    ( but defensively a little bit shaky :wink:) and a great present for Wengers anniversary ( and Rosa has his 29 today, I think)

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