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Friday, 23 July 2010

Wenger staying on in Austria, Almunia in limbo, Denilson and Bendtner update, old habits die hard for Thierry

Arsene Wenger is staying in Austria for at least one day longer than the rest of the Arsenal group. The reasons why are unclear. However, Arsenal are replaced in Styria by Werder Bremen, for whom both Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil currently ply their trade. I'm probably reading too much into it, but I can live in hope that a deal is about to be tied up for both of them (or even one of them).

My man in the training camp spoke to Manuel Almunia this morning and asked if he was leaving Arsenal. Manuel replied "I don't know, yet". It doesn't sound too promising for his future Arsenal career. If he is still at Arsenal on Tuesday and plays little or no part in the friendly that evening, then we can be certain he is on his way out. Either way, I think a new goalkeeper will be signed, and that Almunia will be leaving. I have some mixed feelings over this. Obviously, despite great improvement in his time at the Club, Almunia is not good enough to be number one for a Club chasing the major honours - he is a good goalkeeper, but not a VERY good goalkeeper. Having said that, he makes a fine back-up man (certainly more able than Fabianski). The problem is that, having been number one, nobody wants to be number two.

The official website today has quotes from Arsene Wenger claiming that Denilson and Bendtner are BOTH suffering groin problems (I still think Denilson's is a back injury) but that they will be only one week behind the rest of the squad. Nonsense as far as I'm concerned. Experience also tells us that, when Arsene Wenger says someone is a week or two from fitness, we will not see them for at least three months. Time will tell.

Thierry Henry made his debut for New York Red Bulls overnight against, of all people, Tottenham. Thierry showed great delight when he opened the scoring, having been roundly booed and abused by the Spurs fans in the capacity crowd. A bit of chest-thumping to acknowledge his goal, while a plethora of Arsenal-shirted fans celebrated wildly, must have really wound up the neanderthals watching on TV in England. He went off at half-time and Spurs came back to win with second-half goals, but a moral victory for the great man, I'm sure you'll agree.

I would have liked to go to Welling tomorrow to watch the reserves, but it's my wedding anniversary. As I have learned to appreciate living, I will be spending time with the family instead. I will be posting something at some time tomorrow, hopefully with some nuggets from Austria.

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