Arsenal travel to the Stadium of Light tomorrow to take on a very dangerous Sunderland football club. They are hopeful, strong in the challenge, and have a manager who (is a complete cunt and) flat out refuses to lose. In the off season, Sunderland picked up Tottenham’s “cast offs” (you know, the ones who helped Tottenham win important games like Steed Malbranque) and I can’t help but wonder if the loss of Malbranque and the much maligned Chimbonda aren’t the real cause of the precipitous fall of the Hot Spuds. Those two players aren’t the most technically adept players in the EPL but what they lack in talent they more than make up for in heart.
Moreover, Keane’s added El-Hadji Douf (which is Arabic for “the cheat”) and Djibril Cisse (who’s only downfall is an unfortunate predilection for spontaneously snapping his own leg bones) along with Kenwynne Jones (who is unavailable for this match THANK GOD) and in those three has speed and size in his strike force.
From front to back they are a threat: a great keeper, an experienced defense, a committed midfield, and a proven goal scorer (Cisse) up front. Add in that Roy Keane will have had them practicing corner kicks non-stop for the last 2 weeks in preparation for this game and you can see why I am nervous about this game.
On our side, Eduardo and Rosicky are not expected back until Christmas, Diaby is getting closer to coming back into the full squad for a week before the next injury sidelines him for 4 months, and Alex Song is available for tomorrow. Oh yeah, that dude “Bischoff” who is rumored to be on Arsenal’s payroll isn’t quite healed all the way up.
On the Rosicky story, I remain convinced he will never play for the club again. His injury is so rare and so bizarre that it’s really impossible to say either way and I know that The Boss has said that he’s “not pessimistic about the future of his (Rosicky) career” but in January (the 26th) Thomas will have been out of action for an entire year. Physically and emotionally it would be extraordinary if he’s able to mount the pitch again after that amount of time off, much less return to his former abilities. It can be done, but I’m pessimistic.
As for Diaby and Song, well, yeah, umm… hasn’t Denilson earned a starting spot? I’m sorry but 2 goals and 3 assists in 6 games, plus putting in the workman like performances that he has put in have earned him the place in my opinion. Putting in Song because he’s 1 inch taller than Denilson could be very detrimental. In fact, any reason that isn’t “Denilson deserves a rest” and this could turn into a Diarra situation: except Denilson has earned his spot, has put his nose to the grindstone, has kept his mouth shut, has scored goals, and has provided assists. The only thing that would chap my ass more than putting in Song would be if the boss put in Diaby as soon as he’s healthy, because Diaby hasn’t earned anything on this team. Regardless, I’ll be monitoring this situation closely as Denilson is fast becoming my favorite player.
All that said, Arsenal are coming off a 4-0 win over the Portuguese League champs and still feel like they still have something to prove after the Hull embarrassment. A sound whooping of a committed, organized, and hard tackling team like Sunderland will go a long way toward proving that Hull was a one off.
So, tomorrow’s game is live on Setanta at 7am (WOO HOO A 7AM KICKOFF!!!) and I’ll be down at Doyle’s for some breakfast, come on down if you have a moment. Tomorrow’s blog will be a post match analysis, so look for that around 10am my time.
P.S. HA! I forgot to push publish after I wrote this post. Ok, well thankfully WordPress saved it for me and I could just publish it now. Sorry for the tardiness!