Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Looking short of goals now, English players getting away with it again
There are reports in one or two papers today that Robin Van Persie is already out of the Barcelona match with the injury he suffered on Sunday. Obviously we will have to wait and see what Arsenal have to say before we know for sure. What seems certain, however, is that RVP is as fragile as he has ever been. We should know that, after a couple of months of solid play, he was bound to get injured fairly soon. With Theo Walcott also out we look a little short of options for the next two matches at least. Suddenly we are left with the erratic Nicklas Bendtner and the woefully out of form Marouane Chamakh as our available strikers. I like both players, and I believe that with the right service Chamakh will score goals with his head. The trouble is we don't possess great crossers of the football. If Van Persie is out for any length of time Wenger must look to recall one of the on-loan forwards. Carlos Vela would be the obvious choice. He scored again for West Brom last night (and missed two sitters in injury-time) and he has Premier League experience. However, I would rather see Jay Emmanuel-Thomas brought back from Cardiff City. JET is a really muscular, quick, skillful player with tremendous close control. He is the sort of player that would have the strength and ability to bring the midfield in to the game in attacking areas, as well as being fairly clinical when in front of goal. Arsene mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he might have to consider bringing back one or two of the loanees - he should act now.
Elsewhere we have seen the FA really showing their teeth with regards to Wayne Rooney and his elbow on Saturday at Wigan. How the hell can they allow him to get away with this kind of assault? What message is this sending out to people? Surely anyone that gets sent-off for an elbow from now on can justifiably appeal the decision - clearly it is not a red-card offence anymore. The FA are hiding behind the idea that the referee saw it and dealt with it, so they are powerless to act. What utter rot that is. I remember Ben Thatcher getting a long ban for smashing Pedro Mendes in the face when he was at Man City, despite being booked for the incident at the time. It becomes more and more clear that certain players are above the rules. Alan Shearer used to get away with all sorts, and now it is Rooney. I don't doubt for one moment that, had it been a foreign player, the FA would have thrown the book at him. A ban for Rooney would have seen him miss games with Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as the FA Cup Quarter-Final. Say no more.
You will see that I have added a poll to the site. The first question posed is "Are the FA scared of Manchester United?" Please take the time to cast your vote. The poll is open until 10th March.
What has happened to Ashley Cole? Here is a footballer who really should be a legend for Arsenal and England, yet has managed to make himself a universally despised runt of a man. Arsenal supporters are biased when it comes to disliking Cole, but we no longer have exclusive rights on the hatred. The lad seems to have seriously got out of control. The latest incident is this business of him shooting a member of staff with an air-rifle. What is he doing with an air-rifle at the training ground in the first place? How has someone gone so completely off the rails when he seemed such a modest and level-headed guy when he was a youngster with Arsenal? If ever there was an example of what money, and bad advice, can do to someone lacking in intellect then it is Ashley Cole. I see today that the police are investigating the incident - it's taken them long enough. They won't find anything to charge him over though as Chelsea have conducted their own investigation - the KGB have ensured that all witnesses have been expelled to salt-mines or poisoned in a sushi bar (with apologies to Facebook users who saw me use that line yesterday).
Arsenal get back to action tomorrow night with the FA Cup replay against Leyton Orient. No doubt we will see a much changed Arsenal line-up again. I will preview tomorrow afternoon, though I am missing yet another match due to work - funnily enough I didn't expect a replay with Orient so didn't book the evening free.