With just one line delivered, Arsene Wenger has completely deconstructed both Adebayor’s “what me worry?” defense and Mark Hughes’ completely nonsensical double defenses of “Adebayor was celebrating in front of the corner fans” and his plea for leniency in Adebayor’s case because he’s such a good lad.
Earlier in the week, I documented, fairly extensively that Adebayor wasn’t a good lad. He tends toward explosive anger when frustrated and after the fact it’s everyone else’s fault but his. After the League Cup final against Chelsea where Adebayor was given a red card he went on a Drogba-esque tirade against Howard Webb, captured on camera for all the world to see. And then after said
My reaction after the card did not mean I wanted to hit the referee – I just wanted to know why he gave me the red card. I do not think I did anything wrong.
So, it’s no surprise that he’s taking the innocent line again. But what is a surprise is that Mark Hughes is defending Adebayor so adamantly. Maybe it’s becauise he’s a former United player and feel like he’s the gods’ gift to football. I don’t really know.
Anyway, that’s enough of that. With the referee having seen the replays of the incident and saying that he would have given a straight red had he seen it, Adebayor will certainly be suspended for 3 games and could get up to 6 if they give him the maximum penalty for his steward injuring goal celebration. Frankly, I hope they appeal the decision and the FA double it to 12. Or maybe the FA will take a look at Adebayor mocking his goal celebration in training and further charge him with bringing the game into disrepute.
But that’s all in the past, whatever happens will happen, we’ve got a Champions League match today!
Ahead of the match Wenger and Vermaelen talked about team selection and scouting of Liege and so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
On Thomas Rosicky, it seems everyone in the Arsenal clubhouse are jumping for joy both personally and professionally to have Thomas Rosicky back in training and scoring goals as a sub. There’s been a ton of speculation about whether he will get a start today and I will throw my hat in the ring as a definite start owing to the fact that the boss described his chance of getting a start, with his winsome grin, as “a good chance, it is a good opportunity for him.” Quite where he will get a game I’m not sure but with everyone speculating that he’ll play in the three with Cesc, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he’ll start up front on the right with Bendtner in the middle and Eduardo on the left. Wenger does have an option here so don’t be surprised to see Rosicky replaced by Eboue at the start and Thomas coming off the bench if we need goals, or even if we’re way ahead — he needs the games!
The midfield three picks itself with Song on top form at the moment, Cesc as a must have in pretty much every situation, and Diaby is, erm, available. I suppose Wenger could surprise me and pick Rambo over Diaby at the start but I doubt there will be too much shuffling considering the options available in defense.
Speaking of which, there’s another bit of speculation that Clichy’s dip in form will see him relegated to the bench for this match but I really doubt it. Wenger is ultra loyal and might look at this as an opportunity to show Clichy that he believes in him after his string of poor performances. Plus, there’s a bit of a problem at goal keeper and I doubt Wenger will want to shuffle the back four at a time when he’s playing the third string keeper.
As for the keeper situation: whenever a player has a poor game and then gets sick immediately after there’s always going to be rumors that he’s being dropped. This is fueled by the fact that during the press conference as he was rattling off the injury list (van Persie, Denilson) Wenger had to be reminded (off screen by the handler) that Almunia was out injured and when the press asked what was wrong he paused, looked up, and said “uhhh virus” and followed that quickly with “chest infection.” Others have said it already but it bears repeating: Wenger couldn’t possibly be dropping Almunia for Mannone. That’s just plain crazy. Mannone is a fine kid I’m sure, but there’s no way that Wenger would put his team in danger like this. Mooney must not be fit.
So I expect the starting XI to be like this:
Feel free to lambaste me for my speculative selection.
As for the game on television, unfortunately it’s only LIVE on Setanta and that means that I would normally go to the bar. Today that trip was going to be after the match owing to work appointments but even that might be in jeopardy. See, I have this killer sore throat and one of my friends was just diagnosed with strep throat so, I have to go to the doctor. If I have strep I will need to stay home for at least 24 hours and that means I’ll be watching the match on some crappy video stream tape delayed on Fox Soccer Channel at 2pm PST. If I don’t have strep, I’ll need to go to work and then will be able to watch the match after work on replay. Fingers crossed!
Right, either way check back in here tomorrow for the Good, Bad, and Ugly. See you then…