FA Cup semifinal today but it doesn’t involve Arsenal. There’s a couple of Premier League matches, none of which involves us as well. Our game against Wigan will only be on Monday night and that gives the players plenty of time to recover from the midweek exertions at Molineux. Not that they will be very weary from that considering how much of a stroll that game was.
Recovery though will be a slow process for Jack Wilshere. The most prodigious English talent to come out of Hale End, Wilshere’s ankle injury has kept him out of the entire season of 2011/12 thus far. Any chance of him playing again before the season ends is getting slimmer and slimmer. There’s big pressure on Arsene Wenger brought upon by the media, as well as Wilshere himself, that he must recover and join the traveling party to Ukraine/Poland.
I’m sure that would not be the priority of Wenger. I’ve seen some suggest that for Wilshere to go to the Euros would actually help Arsenal in the long run. The idea behind that being that the Euros could be treated as his pre season and thus providing him with some match fitness prior to the start of the 2012/13 season. However, pre season matches are not meant to be competitive. In a situation where England plays Wilshere, there’s no doubt that he will put 100% effort and that could easily lead to additional setbacks. Also, the training regime for a pre-season is very much different from that which is gearing up for a tournament.
In any case, it really depends on when Wilshere returns to full fitness. Should he at least plays one match for us, starting or otherwise, I’ll be more forgiving should he eventually goes to the Euros because I’m sure the medical team at Arsenal has his best interest at heart. Meaning we’ll ensure that he goes through a personalized pre-season before allowing him game time. Part of the other reason is that by going to the Euros, he will probably not be called up again for the Olympics and thus keeping him with us right at the start of the season.
In the same article, Wenger also rebuked Sol Campbell’s comments that was made earlier in the day. The manager was quick to dismiss the former Arsenal defender’s quotes with his own brand of humour. Campbell said that we should invest and pay over the top if there’s any player we desire in order to challenge and win trophies next season. This is because Campbell believes that even with a full strength squad available next season, we might not be strong enough to win anything.
I can see why Wenger responded the way he did. We have always known that Wenger is very supportive of his team and in public will do nothing to criticise them. Not after repetitive comments about how this current team has fantastic spirit and mental strength. In any case, I don’t think we should expect him to say otherwise. What Wenger personally thinks of the matter is entirely different.
Even now, there are other players within the squad who are not Arsenal material, let alone a championship winning one. There’s no need to put names here as we all know who there are. At the very least a Moroccan, a Korean (opinions may differ as to why he has so few starts), a French and a Spaniard are heading towards the exit door. Without heavy investment in other departments, should be replace these outgoing candidates with players of the Andre Santos – Yossi Benayoun type qualities, then I think we would have improved.
In theory, Campbell is not wrong in the message that he’s trying to deliver. Neither is the way Wenger responded to it. Let us finish this season strongly and then re-assess where we stand at the end of it. Clear and strong decisions needs to be made after the season ends. I’m not sure another summer of indecision right up to August would be acceptable to the fans.
Wenger also talks about video replays. Something which has been debated to death everywhere else. Nothing else to elaborate on this matter other than to say that I firmly agree with it. The game needs it and I’m sure there will be a way to do it without compromising the way the game is played now.
As for the FA Cup, Everton is least despicable of the four team. More of a case that I don’t want to see the other 3 win it than wanting to see Everton win it.
Enjoy it, if you can.
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Published with permission from ArsenalHeart.