Arsenal v. Celtic: Transfers, Rumors, and Injuries, Oh My

Good morning, as usual, late blog here owing to Le Boss’ pre-match press conference and me wanting to make sure I have the freshest and most accurate data before going to press. Today, in particular, I’m very happy I waited.

Celtic are the obstacle and the target is Champions League qualification, but until the window closes on the 31st, roughly half of all the questions are going to be about transfers while the last half are about injuries, injuries, uhhhh… injuries, and oh yes, Arsenal playing Celtic. Let’s start with the good news:


Now, technically, I know that this isn’t news that we can use ahead of the Champions League clash with Celtic, but it’s such a huge relief to have Rosicky back that I thought I would lead with it. Besides, with Cesc now confirmed to be out of tomorrow’s match and possibly out of Saturday’s match, having Rosicky back at all is a huge boost to the squad.

That’s right, I glossed over the Cesc thing very quickly. Wenger did confirm that Cesc Fabregas will not play tomorrow. He’s doubtful for Saturday and as Arseblog pointed out this morning that could be Arsene Wenger wanting to keep Cesc off international duty and give him time to fully recover. What we don’t want to do is have Fabregas caught in a vicious cycle of injury, internationals, injury, rest, internationals, injury… you get the point. It’s sound logic on Arseblog’s part and I think we have the depth in Cesc’s spot to carry on for two weeks while he heals up.

I don’t know if he was just being pedantic but Wenger did insist that we not call this “squad rotation.” It was a bit of a strange exchange but Arsene was adamant that he’s not “rotating” but rather that he’s playing his “most efficient” players on any given day. Of course, this decision is taken after looking at how tired a player is, and factors like that, BUT IT’S NOT ROTATION!

Speaking of not rotating, Eduardo will be available for the game tomorrow as well and Le Boss spoke of the importance of having a class player like Eduardo available on the bench or to not-rotate him into the starting lineup. Wenger shrewdly withdrew Arshavin at the 70th minute on Saturday and that could be because he wants him fresh for tomorrow, or Arshavin could be a sub tomorrow.  Bendtner is certainly ready and will by all accounts play on the right. Diaby, unless he slips and falls on his way to the match tomorrow, is ready, Song is rested, and Denilson is ready.

The only question thus is which players will Wenger play on the left and as the lone target up front. We could see Arshavin on the left and Eduardo up front or Eduardo on the left and van Persie up front, but really I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. We do know that Wenger will play the “most efficient” players and I’m speculating that it will be this:

It's just speculating and fun, relax.

You’ll notice that I have reverted to the 4-3-3, well, that’s because Wenger specified that he’ll use it!

I would be remiss if I left off the only other injury news that the boss confirmed today and that is that Carlos Vela is out for 2-3 weeks. His ankle injury is severe enough, and Arsene said that he doesn’t want to hurt him long term, so the team have put him in a boot.  He’s out of commission for both club and country for the next 3 weeks. Hmmm…. I do wonder if Wenger isn’t getting more shrewd with the National sides? I mean, the lesson was there to be learnt after being burnt by Theo Walcott’s injury.

As for transfer speculation, Arsene Wenger was very clear, “we are not close to signing ANYONE” he said and when asked about the retardulous Blaise Matuidi story he barked “I deny that.” He was a little less clear about Senderos and would only go so far as to say that IF Sendy was still with the team on the 31st, then he would be part of Arsenal’s plans this season. A bit strange all this about Senderos. Sounds to me like the player is mulling over options and you have to wonder if Arsene isn’t keeping his eye on someone to replace Sendy, but only if the player chooses to leave.

So… that’s pretty much it, oh yeaah, we’re playing some team tomorrow, uhh whats their name, Stephen Appiah Coming to Arsenal ZOMG FC?

Oh yeah, Celtic. Wenger spoke about them as well, highlighting the fact that Celtic are a dangerous team who now have nothing left to lose and will come out and basically go for broke. There is a temptation with the way that Arsenal have been playing, averaging 4 goals a game and winning with aplomb, for a squad to take their eyes off the prize and lose focus. We saw it happen with this same squad last year about 4 too many times. But Wenger is adamant that he won’t let the players cruise through this game and that they are all well aware of what Celtic did in the second leg of their tie in Moscow, the game that earned them the right to play Arsenal.

I told them already and they know that there’s so much at stake for us that I don’t think there’s any danger of them easing off AT ALL.

Overall it was a different press conference today. Wenger seemed very assured, very direct (with the exception of the Senderos question) and I could almost say confidently relaxed and focused on the task ahead. Awesome, that’s exactly how I would want him to be.

The match is live on Fox Soccer Channel here in the states (kickoff 11:45am PST) and that means no high definition broadcast for me. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to live with watching what should be a cracking end-to-end, physically demanding, Champions League encounter live in regular definition.  Such sadness, is like a plague of sighing and grief! It blows a man up like a bladder.

I’d better relieve my bladder.

Tomorrow, I will be watching the match live from home, so I will attempt to do the liveblog which means no morning blog. This time, since I disabled the chat feature on the site, I think we’ll be ok running the liveblog, I guess we’ll see tomorrow.


  1. Rosicky is back? Yay!

    I don’t even want to use the man’s name in the same sentence as injury, but is there any way we can keep #11 out of the match? I am not ready for him to be broken again.

  2. It has been so long. Rosicky needs at least be on the field to have his spirit up a little bit. All the best to “our new signing”, if he is really ready.

  3. Great post!!! You are quickly becoming my second favorite blog to read (after Arseblog, of course).

    As far as this comment goes: “I do wonder if Wenger isn’t getting more shrewd with the National sides?”, I think you are exactly right, and I think the first case we saw of that was Thomas Rosicky. He went down with a rather vague injury just in time to not go away for the interlul. Now he is back right before a really huge game, just as Cesc picks up a knock and will be unavailable for his national side.

    I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think Arsene has had enough of his players getting hurt on international breaks, and is not willing to send too many of them off at one time.

    Just a thought.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if Diaby plays but I highly doubt he’ll be in behind the strikers. The selection looks awkward because Diaby really doesn’t provide very much from that position. If anything Arshavin, Ramsey or Rosicky would be better suited to playing in Cesc’s position. All are much more creative and composed on the ball. Despite his 2 goals, I’m still not sold on Diaby. He still looks like a very mediocre player who is good cover but not someone I’d personally pick to be on my team.

    One thing I do want, is to see Wilshere make a cameo and run the socks off of Celtic. The one good thing I got from Celtic is their central defender Madjid Bougherra. He looks very industrious, strong, reads the game well and good in the air. Maybe we should put in a bid for him?

    I still hope Wenger spends a little before Aug 31st to add some needed depth to the team in the areas that we need it.

    1. Agree on Celtic’s CB, but I also like McGeady. He’d fit in well on Arsenal if we didn’t already have Rosicky and Nasri to be wide left; he’s got very good pace.

      I trust Arsene knows what he’s doing with Wilshire, but if someone told me he’d be in the lineup this coming Saturday against big bad Man U, it wouldn’t faze me a bit. Play the kids, they can play.

      Should Cesc be out on Saturday, which I’d be strongly in favor of if it meant he’d be able to skip int’l duty, it will indeed be interesting to see how Wenger plays it. Again, I believe in our youth. Throw Ramsey into the fire and have him in the center with Denilson and Song; he’s a tough kid. This team will come together facing the adversity of all these injuries. Let those old stiffs on Man U try and chase our kids around the park.

    2. @WC, I would start Ramsey in Tim’s formation (over Diaby), as your analysis (diaby is not a schemer) hits the mark.

      my thought for Celtic match:

      Bench: Arshavin, RvP, Denilson, Gibbs, Merida, Sylvestre
      we should be giving the 1st three rest for Saturday’s match.

      Diaby is going to go forward regardless of where
      you play him in midfield. So allow Diaby to push forward and when
      he does, Ramsey drifts back to partner with Song.

    3. @WC,

      I’m afraid you’d have a hard time trying to sign central defender Madjid Bougherra from Celtic.

      He plays for Celtic’s city rivals Rangers!

  5. Man U’s Anderson being given another ‘chance’ against us. Aw shucks.

    The key tomorrow is who goes into the coveted hole or “trequartista” position. I’d like it to be Arshavin but the other players have to be sharp to read what he’s going to do.

  6. typical ignorant english football fans!!!
    Bougherra plays or Rangers!!! honestly do you know nothing about what goes on outside of your greedy, corrupt epl??

    1. @Ryan, Let me guess, you must be Scottish. Pardon me for making a mistake since we’ve played both Rangers and Celtic in less than a month, so I probably crossed a few wires. In any case the SPL is still a mediocre league who are slowly going broke and begging for TV revenue.

      Strangely enough every regular on this blog probably knows more about what goes on “outside of our greedy, corrupt epl” than you do.

      1. @WC,

        Yes well Celtic also played you lot and spurs in space of a few weeks but you don’t see any of our fans saying, “finally arsenal have signed a good solid central midfielder that can tackle n bring a bit of strength to their team(Palacios)”.
        Yes we don’t have the money that is available to EPL but least we havnt sold our soles to Russian billionaires or bend over n touch our toes for sky. We don’t have to play games on a Monday night FFS!!

        For all your money n this notion that you are best team in England when did you last actually win ANYTHING??? How many trophies since Viera left?

        Oh and champions league final 2006 that u nearly won only for a Swedish superstar to come on n take it away from you, what Scottish club did he play for and become the superstar he was?? I’ll give u a clue it wasn’t Rangers

        1. @Ryan, You don’t have enough teams in the SPL to even play for both days on the weekend. Even worse, you have to split the table and have top half and bottom half play-offs just so you can stretch the season. Sad. I’m sorry but it’s not Arsenal’s fault that there’s actually competition in the EPL, rather than the two horse race that is the SPL. It’s no wonder SKY doesn’t give a rat’s ass about that league and no billionaires even care to know who Celtic or Rangers are. Even terrible Portsmouth has more billionaire appeal than Glasgow.

          I wouldn’t bring up CL pedigree because I can’t for the life of me remember when Celtic did anything of importance in Europe in the past decade. How’s those semi-final appearances going? Oh wait……

    2. @Ryan, OOOOH the might SPL also known as the Shite Player League. “oh yeah but we have the old firm” fuck that for fucks sake get over it I would chose some MLS teams over most crap scottish teams. And I hate MLS teams. So you may call me a pedofile but i am looking forward to seeing the bhoys get FUCKED

  7. Rosicky back? Excellent news, I still retain hope that he’ll play a good part of this season.

    We shouldn’t underestimate Celtic, they’ll come out flying tomorrow night, we do need to be ready. No thoughts on United just yet!

  8. American-born Lee Nguyen (3 Senior Caps) Gets to practice with Arsenal’s second team for a month …. Just thought it was cool to have an American getting to knock it around with the best team ever!

    “Hoang Anh Gia Lai, one of the richest football clubs in Vietnam, will send its two stars, the Vietnamese American halfback Lee Nguyen and Thai halfback Thonglao to the UK for a one-month drilling with the world famous Arsenal club on September 14.”

  9. Arsene is right as usual that this coming return game with Celtic is the top priority for Arsenal for now! Arsenal cannot and must not stumble but must go through the the 90 mins with all guns blazing without letting up! Though Fabregas is out for three weeks, Arsenal have the depth to win this return tie convincingly! Good news indeed that Rosicky is back!

  10. Although a Celtic fan, I’m realistic enough to admit Arsenal will likely assure themselves of qualification tonight. It should be a good match and played in a decent atmosphere, unlike Upton Park!
    We (Celtic) do have attacking players but with Ferdinand at the heart of Arsenal’s defence, I suspect he will help Almunia only concede the odd goal tonight

  11. Being a Celtic fan, i am hopeful that we will go through but being a realist, i reckon Arsenal will win the match with 2 late goals from Rooney

  12. Oh the arogance of the Arsenal fans.

    Slag off the SPL all you want Celtic are ten times the club Arsenal are. You’ve a nice stadium sure but shame it’s full of middle class tossers who have no idea of what it means to support your team. Celtic are known all over the world as for Arsenal well I’ve heard of them. You’ve never won the european cup and it’s likely you won’t ever win it, you came close a few years ago but Henke Larsson put an end to that- oh that’s right he used to play in the Shite Player League too.

    No doubt you’ll go though tonight but to be honest I still wouldn’t swap places with you as Aiden McGeady has said we’ve beaten much better teams than Arsenal we just didn’t have the luck. Your gonna win f##k all ,hail hail the celts are here!!

    Bougherra is shite by the way.

    1. @playsontheleft, In football you make your own luck. Too bad Celtic was too horrible at Parkhead to make theirs – I guess Henrik realized that to even get past the Round of 16 in CL he had to leave Glasgow.

      It’s pathetic that your strike force relies on Man Citeh reject Samaras who couldn’t even cut it when they were poor and a crap team.

  13. I think Best and Law will grab a goal each and Terry at the back will keep things secure for extra time. Ferguson will make changes and then Torres will wipe the floor with them, after being set up from Petrov

    wait a minute, who are in my team??

    Americans + Football = Danger

  14. There’s some kind of Scottish humor at work here that I just don’t quite get.

    It’s funny for you to confuse Arsenal with other teams in the EPL?

    That’s humor?

    It’s like 1:30 in the afternoon up there, are you all drunk already?

  15. Always funny to have supporters of your opponent coming on to your team’s supporters’ blog and saying the likes of Arsenal are irrelevant. If that’s the case, why are you here? Idiots. Certainly none of the Arsenal folks here would deem it necessary to find a Celtic blog, if there are any (that would require literacy), to go and spout nonsense betraying a growing insecurity.

  16. Can someone tell me what is going on? Are Celtic fans so bored with their own blogsites that they now find it necessary to invade Arsenal blogsites?

    Common Celts, it only a game of pure old football. Not to worry, we promise not to score more than 2 and we promise to support you against Rangers if we ever visit Scotland on derby days. Deal?

  17. there was a link to the on the Celtic NEWSNOW page stating “Have Celtic signed Boughera?” which is probably why you recieved so much traffic toady

    Its probably akin to a page on the Arsenal site stating ” THe Gunners have signed Terry”

  18. PS

    1960–61 POR Benfica
    1961–62 POR Benfica
    1962–63 ITA Milan
    1963–64 ITA Internazionale
    1964–65 ITA Internazionale
    1965–66 ESP Real Madrid
    1966–67 SCO Celtic
    1967–68 ENG Manchester United
    1968–69 ITA Milan
    1969–70 NED Feyenoord
    1970–71 NED Ajax
    1971–72 NED Ajax
    1972–73 NED Ajax
    1973–74 FRG Bayern Munich )
    1974–75 FRG Bayern Munich
    1975–76 FRG Bayern Munich
    1976–77 ENG Liverpool
    1977–78 ENG Liverpool ]
    1978–79 ENG Nottingham Forest
    1979–80 ENG Nottingham Forest ]
    1980–81 ENG Liverpool
    1981–82 ENG Aston Villa
    1982–83 FRG Hamburg
    1983–84 ENG Liverpool *
    1984–85 ITA Juventus
    1985–86 ROU Steaua Bucureºti
    1986–87 POR Porto ]
    1987–88 NED PSV Eindhoven
    1988–89 ITA Milan
    1989–90 ITA Milan
    1990–91 YUG Red Star Belgrade
    1991–92 ESP Barcelona
    1992–93 FRA Marseille
    1993–94 ITA Milan
    1994–95 NED Ajax
    1995–96 ITA Juventus
    1996–97 GER Borussia Dortmund
    1997–98 ESP Real Madrid ]
    1998–99 ENG Manchester United
    1999–2000 ESP Real Madrid
    2000–01 GER Bayern Munich
    2001–02 ESP Real Madrid
    2002–03 ITA Milan
    2003–04 POR Porto
    2004–05 ENG Liverpool
    2005–06 ESP Barcelona
    2006–07 ITA Milan
    2007–08 ENG Manchester United *
    2008–09 ESP Barcelona

    Can anyone tell me which footballing “Giants” are missing from the above list? 🙂


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