Thursday, 28 April 2011
Vermaelen to return, And so is Thierry
Younggunsblog is reporting that Thomas Vermaelen will play for Arsenal Reserves at Manchester United this evening. There is no confirmation on the official website, but Jamie at Young Guns is rarely wrong. Unfortunately Vermaelen's return comes too late to salvage anything from our season. With the Title gone I can see little reason to get him back in to the first-team before the season is over. I would suggest a couple of easy reserve games, followed by plenty of good training over the Summer (ahead of the pre-season campaign) might be a better option. Had we been going in to the final stretch with the League still up for grabs then his return to action could have been just the boost Arsenal needed. However, with a trip to Stoke City on the horizon, and nothing to play for, do we really want to put him in a position where one of their clumsy (dirty) oafs could accidentally (quite deliberately) stamp on his fragile achilles? I think not.
There should be some highlights from the Reserve match on Arsenal TV Online at some point tomorrow (or late tonight). The match is also live on MUTV so you can expect Sky Sports News to show some of the action tonight if Vermaelen does take his bow.
Arsenal have today announced the line-up of Club's for the 2011 Emirates Cup. I have to say that I am actually excited about the prospect. It had been widely reported that Paris Saint Germain (also sponsored by Emirates) and New York Red Bulls would be present. There had also been some rather disappointing suggestions that we would be joined by one of the Glasgow mafia again. Thankfully Arsenal have surprised us all by instead bringing in genuinely top-class South American opposition in the shape of Boca Juniors. This is, indeed, a welcome addition. We haven't seen too much of South American sides against Arsenal over the years - the game in Miami in 1989, against Independiente, is about the only one that really sticks out in my mind. Boca are the most successful of the Argentinian teams and are the Club of Diego Maradona - perhaps he'll be present for the weekend as well.
New York Red Bulls could not be considered a "quality" addition to those involved. However, they are very much the big "draw" of the weekend. New York are captained by Thierry Henry. This means that the King of Highbury will be returning to the new stadium as a player for the first time since a Champions League tie with PSV a few years ago. Arsenal have obviously realised that they needed some kind of gimmicks to get people through the gates (the tickets are not cheap - I think they should charge Carling Cup prices, personally) and so they have pulled out all the stops by getting Boca and Thierry Henry to be our opposition for the weekend.
Arsenal will play the Argentines on the Saturday and Thierry's Red Bulls on the Sunday. The Club have appointed a new corporate partner to distribute broadcast rights, so those who aren't going/can't go will be hoping Sky renew their contract which expired last year.
I'll post a preview of the Manchester United game tomorrow evening.