Yesterday, all our troubles seemed so far away and then the news broke that Rosicky has picked up a hamstring pull and the boss confirmed it at the opening of Arsenal’s official charity of the season, GOSH. Some folks are speculating that this is a ploy by Arsene to keep Rosicky from joining his country and thus control the pace of Rosicky’s injury but I’d be surprised if that was the case. As far as I know, Wenger’s never done that before. In fact, the strongest position he’s ever taken is to go to the press and complain, like when Theo played for the England A squad and the U21s.
Rosicky is the captain of the Czech team, if he was fit, he would play.
Arsene is downplaying the injury, calling it “normal” and saying that he expects Rosicky back in 5-6 weeks. You have to wonder how many games he’ll be able to string together this year as his body re-adjusts to the surgery and the pace and power of the EPL, I know a lot of people who think there won’t be many at all.
Anyway, this announcement leads to the inevitable questions of the boss about possible signings. As we’ve talked about extensively here, that creative midfield role in a 4-3-3 is pretty stacked. Arsene can play Chesk, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Diaby, Denilson, and Jack Wilshere there and so I doubt that he’ll be looking at a creative midfielder. In fact, Wenger explicitly stated that IF Senderos goes to Everton, THEN he’s looking for someone in “defensive areas.”
“Defensive areas” eh? I take that to mean someone like Yaya Toure or Alex Song, who can play both as a center back and as a defensive midfielder. We’ve been linked with several of those types already this year so, I expect the press will get out the archives and start furiously re-linking.
As usual, we’ll have to ‘wait and see’ because Wenger is already talking about waiting until the last minute to sign anyone. Funnily enough Wenger did come out and admit that Arsenal have scouted Fulham’s Bread Hangeland, “among others,” and also admitted that the club is going to make a decision soon. It’s pretty rare to hear Wenger talk openly about transfers. Enjoy it while you can.
One of those guys that we should pretty much just go ahead and expect to come in, and on the 12th hour of deadline day to boot, is Marouane Chamakh. Yes, yes, I know that Wenger is saying the deal is dead and Bordeaux have taken to the lame tactic of saying that “if only we upped our bid” we could have him, but Wenger and Arsenal have them over a barrel here. Chamakh is on the last year of his contract, Arsenal is his preferred destination, and Arsenal can have him on a free transfer next year. Bordeaux will cave on this one, I’m sure.
Actual transfer news
Pre-season fan favorite, Fran Merida (say that three times fast) is joining Levante on a season long loan. I can’t say I’m surprised, he’s one of many creative midfielders in this team and is, frankly, behind a lot of guys when it comes to first team football. Yes, it’s second division Spanish football but I’m sure the boss has put Merida in a place where he can gain experience winning while developing his skills. I’m hoping that Levante win promotion this year and Merida plays a big part in that.
Another oft targeted loan player, Armand Traore, is NOT being loaned out this season, well, at least not to Birmingham and at least not yet. It’s looking like Wenger’s holding on to him until the close of the transfer period so that he can see what his options are.
Arsenal v. Celtic; August is a scorcher
Well, we drew Celtic for our CL qualifier. After what we did to Rangers (SPL winners) in the Emirates Cup, I feel fairly confident that Arsenal can handle Celtic (SPL runners-up). It’s not who we’re playing but when that’s getting on my pecs. I’d rather we didn’t have to play this match at all because it means that August is going to be an insane month of football for Arsenal and some Arsenal players are going to be extra insane with international duty.
Pretty much everyone is playing in an international friendly on the 12th. So that means Arsenal’s team will play tomorrow, then most players will play internationally on Wednesday, then the season starts on the 15th with the away match to Everton, followed by the Champions League first leg away to Celtic on the 18th, home to Pompey on the 22nd, home to Celtic on the 26th, and end the month with an away trip to Old Trafford on the 29th. I’m exhausted just typing all that.
I almost hate to say it but, August could make or break this season.
Upcoming football on TV
Saturday’s match away to Valencia is only being broadcast on Arsenal TV Online. It’s a 12:30pm match here locally and I’ll be doing a liveblog so, stop by at Noon (PST) for some pre-funk stuff.
On Sunday, Chelsea’s only hope for silverware this season, the Charity Shield, is on Fox Soccer Channel. That kicks off at 7am and I’ll be tuning in to see what our competition are up to this year. As for the match, I hope it ends in a 4-4 draw with both team’s defenses conceding 4 own goals and John Terry leaves the pitch crying. Which is what I like to call his “Champions League Finals Celebration.”
As for the news that ESPN will be carrying some EPL games here in the states, I still haven’t gotten confirmation from them nor do I have any information about whether the matches will be broadcast in HD. As soon as I know, I will let you know.
For those of you who paid, I’m shipping your shirts today. So, you should get them next week. For those of you who pre-ordered but haven’t paid? There are people on a waiting list and I’m going to let them have a crack at a shirt next week, unless you make arrangements with me. Email me @ 7amkickoff via that there GMAIL thingy.
Right, see you tomorrow when Wenger surprises us all by signing Yaya Toure.