Tony Colbert’s sponge

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WBA 2-2 Arsenal

Goodbye March 2011, it’s been a pleasure. The Arsenal title bandwagon mustered two points from six this month, sprinkled between two cup exits. It’s a bandwagon in dire need of a band-aid. But given that everything in the northern hemisphere comes out of hibernation in April, I’m rather hoping that includes Arsenal’s players and form.

“It will be down to consistency and, as I said, character”, said Wenger post-match on Saturday, two attributes we keep losing down the back of the sofa.

Not strictly fair, I know: The last 15 minutes were more like it, with Wenger throwing caution to the wind by playing three centre forwards. Arsenal discovered some urgency and accuracy, and it nearly worked. But tossing away two goals is no way to tee yourself up for three points, and in the end, that did for us.

Will we honestly see Lehmann between the sticks this season? It would be quite a story, but Jens has been retired for a year, he’s 41 and I just can’t see it. If he did displace Almunia, he’d be our fourth first-choice keeper of the season. I’m not sure it could have happened like this anywhere but at Arsenal.

Incidentally, Szczesny was injured on 8th March and was ruled out for six weeks, so with a prevailing wind he may even be back himself in mid April. He may, of course, also not be.

What else? Well it seems to me that the next two weeks will all be about injuries. Firstly, our international players need not to get them. And secondly, our injured players need to get rid of them.

I can’t help but think that Tony Colbert’s sponge holds the aces. What happens in the footballing menders over the next two weeks could hold the key to the rest of our season. We urgently need Fabregas, Walcott and Song back – all, surely, realistic returnees. They add different attributes, all of which we could do with: defensive nous, guile, drive, creativity and pace.

I’m relaxed about things because my glass is half empty. Given the evidence presented to me in recent weeks, I no longer expect much.

But get those players back for Blackburn at home, grab all three points, and… well it’s tantalising, isn’t it?

Football is so murderously simple in my head.


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

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jeff

    Great post. Enjoy some international football.

  2. East Lower

    Cheers. So what do you think – Lehmann in, or Lehmann out? Or a magic potion for Wojciech?

  3. Jeff

    The Almunia situation is so extreme, I’m loath to comment. Didn’t Arsene go as far as calling it a major blunder, or something like that? Wocheck is my favorite option by several country miles. Lehmann, for crying out loud, is older than me, and that’s a distinction reserved to a very, very select few in the Premier League. Anyone stating with any confidence that the returning-from-retirement Lehmann is a better option than Almunia, unless he or she is privy to the training sessions, is a blowhard of the fist order. I could certainly understand if Arsene persists with Almunia. If you look at the overall performances from the last couple seasons, he’s still arguably a safer bet than the injured Fabianski.

  4. Anonymous

    ‘is a blowhard of the fist order’

    Bloody hell East Lower this site is gone a bit kinky….

  5. Anonymous

    To be fair picking Jens is a massive risk……but keeping Almunia in isn’t even a risk. It’s a near certain guarantee of calamity imo………

  6. East Lower

    Better kinky than wallowing in misery, I say.

  7. Jeff

    Is Jack expected to start in a Euro qualifier?

  8. Bill Chidley

    The headline graphic made me really laugh. Thanks!

  9. East Lower

    Glad! It just came to me…

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