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Birmingham City 2-1 Arsenal

As defeats go, that one was palatable enough – after all, who’d want to injure themselves just before the cup final? Five defeats all season in the league, and 83 points. In the last eight games, we have been top of the Premier League form guide. Quite frankly, even without taking the cup final into account, I think this season’s been a good’un. We’ve played some glorious football again, and several excellent players have been fast-tracked: Fabregas, Senderos, Flamini and Almunia.

OK, so not the last one. He caused me to age considerably.

In the wake of Christmas, many of us questioned why we hadn’t strengthened in the goalkeeping and centre-back departments, but I think Lehmann and Senderos have shown us why not with fine ends to the season. The bottom line is we had an unconvincing three months that happened to coincide with injuries to Gilberto, Campbell and Edu, and a drop in form from key players like Vieira and Lehmann. This caused – directly or indirectly – a defensive sniffle (that’s the technical term) that gave Lehmann the heebie-jeebies (another technical term) and paired Cygan with Toure, a relationship that was on the rocks before it had really got going.

Back to yesterday: I didn’t watch the game as I wasn’t there, and I didn’t listen to it on the wireless, but I did catch the highlights on Larry Spinnaker’s show, MOTD. From what I could see, it was a classic end-of-term affair, punctuated by three late goals. It’s worth noting that the last goal came as a result of an error from the much-lauded Philippe Senderos. Will that one slip cost him his cup final place?

As for the rest of Saturday’s line-up, we’re really none the wiser. It’s quite possible that neither Henry nor Reyes will be fit to start – the latter has a dead leg and the former has has an Achilles heel, which is turning out to be his Achilles heel, if you know what I’m saying.

“It’s very difficult to assess Thierry,” said Wenger. “He had a slight reaction on Wednesday night and I will see what the position is on Wednesday or Thursday. Reyes got a kick in training so we have to assess him too. Lauren had food poisoning but could have played and Robert Pires was rested.”


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

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Alan

    Whatever happened yesterday, Senderos must start. So must Campbell, if only for his big match experience, which means Kolo may have to drop to bench. I’d keep Jose back until second half (so the Nevilles can’t kick him until its too late). Assuming he’s fit obviously Titti starts. If he aint fit he’s still gotta be on the bench if only to terrify the Mancs. Start with Dennis with RVP coming on later. The Boss can sort the rest out! Personally, I can’t wait to smash those Manc bastards into the ground!

  2. RotorGoat

    I hope you’re right….

  3. simon talker

    Oh, and plenty more chanting of “USA -USA – USA!”…………please!!!

  4. halfNice

    if Lauren’s still ill, the problem of the back 4 would have resolved itself.

  5. simon talker

    re lauren -i did hear somewhere that he was well enough to play yesterday, but AW decided against it. id go with toure at right back again though – hes good at getting forward.

  6. RadGoon

    Don’t think he will start Senderos and Sol together because they have not played together this season before last wednesday.

    Hopefully Senderos and Kolo for me…

  7. Stian

    Wouldn’t it be better to play Ali with DB10 or RVP instead of both of them? They are too similar to play at the same time. Or I’m I wrong? This is if Thierry an Jose fail to recover, obviously….

  8. Farnborough Gunner

    I read an article in a Sunday paper where Wes Brown was saying that ManU’s will take a physical approach to the final, to try to initmidate and provoke Arsenal. Whilst it is flattering for him to indirectly admit that they cannot out-play us it confirms that the final will be an ugly affair. You can guarantee the ref will let ManU get away with murder, and maybe even give them a dodgy penalty if they still need that little extra help.

    In the same paper Alex Ferguson attacks Arsenal’s approach to recent games v ManU as being too physical, and says he hopes they try to play football in the final, as Chelsea do when they play ManU. He really has lost the plot hasn’t he?

    Team selection for the final needs to reflect the type of battle to come, and I believe this means no place for Reyes who will just be kicked out of the game by the Neville sisters.

    What’s the betting the game ends with only 10 Arsenal players on the pitch and ManU winning by a dodgy penalty?

  9. dave

    Senderos is good most of the time but he’s a donkey some of the time.

  10. Corny

    Fergie’s got some bloody check saying that after his sides have resorted to kicking us off the park for the last 4 years.

  11. Farnborough Gunner

    It’s very easy to look bad playing at the back, when mistakes often lead to conceding a goal. Maybe Senderos isn’t superman after all. He has done unbelievaby well considering his lack of 1st team experience before his current run in the team, and the defensive problems he walked into (and helped resolve).

    I remember another central defender being called a donkey in his early days. Is this an omen?

  12. halfNice

    A donkey? That’s harsh!

    But, on the other hand, if he’s a Donkey then he’ll do a good job of annoying and frustrating Man U’s Shrek. That’s can’t be a bad thing.

  13. RotorGoat

    Looks like Henry is out. Check the BBC Sport site…

  14. dave

    The thing with Senderos is that he plays well but he makes a mistake in every match. Now if the mistake isn’t punished with a goal then everyone forgets about it, lets hope he’s lucky and his mistakes don’t get punished unlike yesterday.

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