Arsene Wenger is hoping that Arsenal can pick up where they left off before the international break. The Gunners have lost Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott to injury since then, though, and Jack Wilshere is still not available. Arsenal should still be more than capable of a home win against the Premier League strugglers Reading, who have won just once on their travels all season and have lost all of their 11 games against the Gunners.
Arsenal vs Reading preview, match line up and score prediction by KJ
It’s been a long two weeks since the Arsenal last played and it was probably the worst time to get the international break. Arsenal were back to winning ways with back to back wins against Bayern Munich and Swansea. Tottenham were faltering, losing three games on the bounce bringing them to only 4 points above Arsenal with an extra game already played.
It seems as if Abou Diaby’s career at Arsenal is never going to fulfill it’s early promise, after the French midfielder has picked up another injury that will keep him on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
The official Arsenal website has revealed that Diaby has injured his left knee while training yesterday, and the medical tests have shown that he tore an anterior cruciate ligament. The 26-year old will have to undergo an operation to fix the problem, and he is not likely to be back in action for around nine months.
When Arsenal host Premier League strugglers Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, it appears that Arsene Wenger will have more selection problems than we thought. The Gunners have five players unlikely to be available for the game, which might actually make the manager’s job easier for him.
“We have a little problem with Diaby but I cannot tell you more,” said Wenger. “But he is out for the weekend. Gibbs is sick and in bed. I don’t know if he’ll be involved or not. At the moment we don’t know. We haven’t seen him in the last three days.”
The General and the Finisher by Chunners
Luca Toni has told Stevan Jovetic to join a real ‘top club’ rather than Arsenal. Well, that hurt, Luca.
The first half of Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal raised our expectations to such an extent that the past eight years can be described as somewhat of a failure. Coincidentally, Wenger’s trophy-laden years at Arsenal occurred with the presence of another man running the show on the field, our midfield general – Patrick Vieira!
Maybe it was just luck that Wenger found him and maybe there hasn’t been anyone like him ever since, but Wenger just can’t find an able replacement and maybe a Patrick Vieira is all we need to transform this underperforming team into world beaters – so let us find one!
About five months after joining Arsenal in 2006, Abou Diaby suffered a nasty fracture to his ankle that kept him out of the Champions League final against Barcelona. Ever since then he seems to have spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch, and his international career has suffered the same fate, with just 16 caps in six years.
Last season was Diaby’s most frustrating, making just four appearances, all as a substitute, in the Premier League. Arsenal fans had high hopes this season after he started the first three games and looked fantastic, winning the Man of the Match in the win over Liverpool. Having started 14 league games this season, another injury lay off has broken it up, but the Frenchman thinks he has finally found the right way to look after himself in order to be able to play as much as possible for the Gunners.
Amazingly, having just turned 24-years old, Theo Walcott is one of the Arsenal old guard. He joined the club in January 2006, only one week after Abou Diaby and over a year before Bacary Sagna. Walcott has played more games than either of the French internationals, though, and so could be seen as the longest serving Gunner in the current team.
We do not know if Arsenal tried to sign Etienne Capoue from Toulouse in January, but he could have been the player Arsene Wenger was referring to when he said that a club had rejected a late transfer window offer for one of the Arsenal targets. Toulouse had sold Sissoko to Newcastle, and would have been left very light in midfield if they had also sold Capoue.
QPR definitely tried to sign the French international, but were knocked back on deadline day. Harry Redknapp has vowed to try again in the summer, as long as he manages to keep the club in the Premier League. It is believed in France that Capoue is ready to move, and he is ambitious. Toulouse are comfortably mid table in the French Ligue 1, so the 24-year old will definitely not have the lure of European competition to make him want to stay.
Every Arsenal fan will have slumped inwardly when they heard that Jack Wilshere is in the treatment room for the next few weeks. He is the fans favourite and the inspirational force of the team, and will be sorely missed tomorrow in Munich, but this injury could actually benefit Arsenal in the long term.
The reason for this is purely the timing. If Jack is back as expected in three weeks, he will have missed just one Premier League game, away to Swansea this weekend. Arsenal do not play again until March 30th, which is at home to Reading. Even if Wilshere does not make this game it should be okay, because the tougher run in starts in April. The key games he will miss are the two England internationals.
Arsene Wenger has given an update on the availability of the Arsenal players for the crunch second leg tie against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tomorrow. There is good news and bad. As expected, Bacary Sagna has not recovered in time from hi9s knee problem, so young Carl Jenkinson will start in his firth European game of the season.
We know that Jenkinson will give his all for the Gunners, although he is a bit lacking in top class experience. At least he will not have to face the dangerous Frenchman Franck Ribery who is also out of contention through injury.
Is Wilshere not providing Arsenal the correct defensive cover? by KJ
Jack Wilshere is something else. When we first saw him during the 2010 – 2011 season, there was definitely an air of excitement amongst fans and it was reinforced by world class performances against the likes of Barcelona which cemented the belief that he’d be a star for years to come. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury against Cologne during the 2011 pre-season which shockingly took him out for an entire year. It was such a disappointment to lose such a talent so early and there was real worry that he’d struggle to come back after such an injury. However, he’s been a starter since he was reintroduced and has proved he’s still got it.
With a favourable score line of 5-2 to Arsenal in the last two games against Tottenham, the Gunners should have an advantage over their North London rivals, especially when you consider that they always end up beneath us in the Premier League table, at least since Arsene Wenger took charge of Arsenal over 16 years ago. No matter how well their season has been going, it has not been enough.
That psychological advantage over Spurs will work to our advantage on Sunday, as will the situation last season when we overtook them at the end of the season despite being 10 points adrift around this time of year. Abou Diaby says that all of the Arsenal players are fully focused on the game and know how important it is for the fans as well as for league position.