No point starting this one without a miniature “hurrah” for Eduardo. Ten months after his leg was mangled, he was back last night, playing 45 minutes for the Arsenal reserves. I didn’t see it, but according to Arsenal.com, “The Croatianâ€™s movement and trickery oozed the class that justified his fluorescent green footwear”.
I seem to remember people saying something similar about Bendtner’s pink numbers. Or did they…
Anyway, it’s a fantastic fillip to have him back, but we can’t expect him properly back for some time, even if he himself reckons he might be back in time for the FA Cup.
“I need more training and games, and if everything is okay, then hopefully in two weeks I will be ready to play.”
Now you’d better believe us – you’re not going to win the league
Open season on Arsenal’s title chances! Firstly we had Ferdinand who put it rather diplomatically on 5 live:
“I presume us, Chelsea and Liverpool will start pulling away a bit after Christmas. It’s not beyond them (Arsenal), it’s just my personal opinion that it will be between us three this season.”
Then we had Redknapp wading in with his tupp’orth:
“Arsenal arenâ€™t going to win it this year… I think Arsenal have dropped too many points. I canâ€™t see them coming back into it and winning the championship.”
And then Hamburg manager Jol went furthest of the lot:
“The first-team of Aston Villa are better than Arsenal and next season Villa will be playing in the Champions League… Arsenal are not so good now and are no longer automatically a top-four side.”
Well, what can you say to that? Sadly, not much. Although we are still hanging onto the coat-tails of the leaders, and could gain ground by winning on Sunday, there aren’t many Arsenal fans out there who think, as things stand, that we have the remotest chance of lifting the title. Too many weaknesses and too much inconsistency.
If we sign big and we do it quickly, if we are still 8-ish points off the top and if the others continue to drop points as they have been doing (and if we don’t), then we might have a pleasant tilt at it. But with four “ifs” in that last sentence, I don’t rate our chances.
Top four? Now that it within our grasp but again, it is currently a scrap. Villa are looking good and you can bet your house they will strengthen in January to give themselves every chance available of making fourth.
The bottom line here, and it’s not revolutionary stuff – in fact, every single Arsenal fan on every single Arsenal blog and every single football pundit has said the same thing: We urgently need to strengthen the squad in January.
Some interesting quotes about the state of play in Gallas’s head emerged yesterday, via an interview Wenger gave to France Football.
The boss indicated Gallas was “isolated” from the rest of the squad (whether he’s doing the isolating or the squad is, is not clear) and that, bluntly speaking, he’s struggling. That would make sense. While he was good for the first few games after he was relieved of the captaincy, he’s been a bit iffy since then and it looks increasingly likely he will leave in January. Fine if we have a replacement – but not fine if we don’t. He’s a very good defender but entire torrents of water have gone under the sizeable bridge now, and it’s easy to see why a clean break would be best for all.