Date: 2nd April 2010 at 7:37pm
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It was painful and extremely worrying to see big players like Andrey Arshavin, William Gallas and Cesc Fabregas get injured again – or, for some, in the starting line-up in the first place – in the Champions League game against Barcelona in midweek. Reports then followed that they would be out for the season, as if serving all Gooners yet another big dose of depressant.

Thursday’s news was that Arshavin would likely be out for three weeks. After further tests today, the boss stuck with that assessment and would ‘count 21 days’ and expect the Russian star to face Manchester City at home. Fingers crossed then.

On Gallas, the manager put up his hand in admitting the mistake to take the gamble of playing someone just back from injury in such a big game. Wenger’s expectation as to the recovery time has gone from yesterday’s ‘at least three weeks’ to today’s three to five weeks and that the French defender ‘could miss the rest of the season’. With our track record of predicting comebacks, one has to wonder if our arguably most reliable defender has played his last game for Arsenal.

We were dealt the biggest blow yesterday when the club announced that we’d spend six weeks, or the rest of the season, without Cesc. Today, the manager confirmed that it’s a ‘small, small, small crack’ in his right fibula, which would take between four and six weeks to heal, and that the Spaniard would be ‘100%’ certain to grace the World Cup.

Yesterday further bad news came to hit our already bruised hearts that Gael Clichy and Denilson were having problems with their back and groin respectively, to be assessed today. By now you might be wondering ‘where’s the “good news” mentioned in the title?’ Well, the latest update was that both of them had been deemed fit to be in the squad to face Wolves on Saturday. ‘Could have been worse!’ is all I can say at this point.

You may say ‘this is where the squad comes in’. With the World Cup just around the corner, you’d think that Theo, Nasri and Diaby would be rubbing their hands and cleaning their boots to show what they’re capable of for the rest of the season, especially with the latter two competing for their places in the same midfield for France. I have no doubt that they will remain motivated between now and the end of the season. Just hope that they stay fit and, touch wood, stay clear of the reckless tacklers and that the likes of Silvestre, Vela, Eduardo and Denilson, despite the lack of a true need to impress their national team coaches for various reasons, play to their potential when called upon.

The boss made a fair point that ‘we cannot complain’ about the injuries because we have an improved squad versus the previous two years and that we’ve simply got no time to feel sorry for ourselves with games coming thick and fast. But whether ‘we have the luxury of having 20 players of nearly the same level’, I guess we can debate. Judging from the way the boss picked three players who had just come back from injury against Barca, I think it’s fair to say that he decided against assigning the huge task to the likes of Sol, Silvestre, Rosicky, Denilson, Eduardo and Walcott, for a combination of question marks about their experience, ability and fitness.

If we look at the situation from this perspective, the relatively minor news that Clichy and Denilson are fit to face Wolves should be viewed as really positive indeed. (Unless you reckon that’s another under-estimation of their problems, that is.)

Oh well, I tried to conclude the piece on a positive note… Don’t worry, we’ve got Emmanuel Eboue. 🙂