Crock Robin

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What is generally perceived to the best way to prepare for a match – with good news or with bad?

Certainly, the official confirmation, released by the club this morning, that van Persie is to all intents and purposes out for the season has been greeted with weary resignation by the fans.

I can’t say what effect, if any, it will have on the mindsets of the Arsenal players themselves from hereon in, but it’s an interesting question. They’re only human after all. Some players – Eduardo for one – will consider it an opportunity, but I wonder if the other players will just think it makes their job harder not having their best striker around for the rest of the season.

I know we are far from a one-man team, but any side that loses a player who has scored eight goals and created a further seven in eleven games will rue their bad luck. For a month – fine. For five months – that’s bloody frustrating.

Can a setback like this can galvanise a team? I know Arsenal went up a gear after the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ in 1990, and Tony Adams’ jailing did us no harm either on that front, but on the flipside, Eduardo’s gruesome leg injury had the opposite effect in 2008.

I suspect this is neither an us-against-them moment, nor is it anything like as damaging as Eduardo’s mangled leg was to the Arsenal players’ mindsets. It’s just the latest in a long line of depressing injuries.

But I do think Wenger will almost inevitably now spend money to bolster the attack in January – especially if we are still somewhere near a position to challenge hard.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.