Villareal v. Arsenal; a Preview Full of Question Marks


Arsenal will release more information this afternoon on injured trio Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, and Samir Nasri but Wenger spoke very hopefully about all three yesterday. Wenger said that van Persie was 50:50 to pass fitness, that Samir Nasri’s tests looked good, and that “Theo Walcott should be all right.”

I look forward to this afternoon’s press release and I will update this section when that’s made public. No news will be forthcoming on Diaby, Eduardo and Rosicky as they are all 100% ruled out for the trip to the Spanish coast.

Update: Nasri and Walcott are in, van Persie out.

On the other side, Marcos Senna is being included in the team but is a question mark to make the game. I’m going to say that he’ll be fit and that Villareal’s manager is just trying to keep Arsenal guessing.

As I said yesterday, Cazorla is out for the season, suffering a broken leg in Villareal’s complete loss to Almeria. How complete a loss? They finished the last 30 minutes with 9 men after Cazorla was injured and Pires was sent off. Fingers crossed that they have heavy legs tomorrow!


There’s a lot of column inches being devoted to the two or three supposed  contract/transfer stories swirling around the club. Is Cesc leaving? Adebayor? Robin van Persie? Will there be a wholesale clear out?

I don’t know.

No one knows. What we do know is that if Arsenal lose this match and the one against Chelsea on Saturday then our hopes for any kind of trophy this season will be severely diminished. So it’s best to stay focused on these two matches rather than a bunch of shit stirring.

I also know that this “five years without a trophy” story is seriously getting on my nerves. If van Persie leaves because he wants to win a trophy, good luck to him. I don’t know where he thinks he’ll go where he will be guaranteed to win something: as far as I can tell Man U don’t need another perpetually injured striker. But irregardless, have fun in Italy or Spain or wherever will have you, Robin, oh and you’re welcome for the years that Arsenal stood by you while you spent months upon months in the infirmary. Honestly, if Robin leaves it will particularly chap my ass, but if he leaves then f*ck him.

I also know that, like Wenger, all this speculation and chitter chatter about stuff we have no control over just serves to get people amped up over nothing. Moreover, talking about contracts and Cesc leaving, despite the fact that he has been unequivocal about his future every year (including this one) that he has been at the club, distracts the players from what’s important: Tuesday’s Champions League match against Villareal and Saturday’s FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea.

So, that’s my final word on this speculation. I’m not devoting any more column inches to bullshit rumors and shit stirring by cunts like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, etc. etc. No one is leaving the club this week so speculating about what might happen this summer is pointless.

Good bye yellow brick Pires

Robert Pires has admitted that this Champions League match up is very emotional for him, and that especially the return leg to the Emirates will be like the testimonial he never had.

I agree, and I will be very sad to see Pires, at 63 years old, limp around the pitch and get dumped out of the competition by a very hungry, young, and fit Arsenal. I will be sad for a moment… then I will be happy!

The first leg kicks off at 11:45am (PST) and unless you’re going to watch the match alone at home on ESPN Deportes I’m inviting all locals to join us for Setanta’s broadcast at Doyle’s Public House. I can’t have a pint because I will be caring for my lovely daughter after the match but I will have one of their state of the art sarnies. They are delicious.

See you there and remember: UP THE ARSE!


  1. Nobody is giving Villareal a chance. Now’s the right time to be cautious for complacency.
    When players weigh themselves more than the club then we say good riddance. But those who weigh logic and reason more cannot be blamed.
    The squad is proven to be self sustainable with age and depth growing in same time zone. Disharmony was the cause of imbalance. Victory awaits :))))

  2. The speculations shd not detract us from the real cause, the team is compact and players committed at the club.But if for any reason anyone decides to leave, we can only wish them safe journey and they are not the first to go, we lost Viera, Henry,peres,Helb,Flamin but Arsenal is still in existance so we not scared.
    As for Villareal tomorrow we shall win 2-1 without Van Pasie.Hoping that the remaining players do not get injured.

  3. Well Almeria pretty much decimated Villareal on the weekend and we handily gave it to Citeh. Wenger said in the press conference that it’s good to go into a big game on the back of a win as it gives the team confidence and boosts morale. I’m not too worried about this leg and am sure we can break down Villareal, especially since Cesc is back and was looking very good on the weekend. Manu got a couple to add to his goal scoring confidence. Senna is a very good player but I think we can contain him. Once he can be marked out of the game over half of Villareal’s attack is done since they are lacking the bodies they need due to injuries for them this season. They usually have very good flank attacks but their usual wingers are mostly out and they’re in a slump right now as a team. I’m really not concerned about any team in the world right now as I believe given our current form and that of the other clubs in Europe we can give any of them a run for their money. The almighty Mancs look like they are slipping and are riding some kind of luck to have 3 points against Villa, while Liverpool had to scrape hard against Fulham and Chelsea look solid but Spuds have shown us that they can be handled fairly comfortably, especially with Drogba being injured on the weekend.

  4. Cool, Travis, see you there.

    WC, I’m worried about every game! Against City on Saturday Arsenal got off to a shaky start and could have gone down 2-1 at one point and you can bet that if Robert Pires has a shot in the box he’ll score, unlike City.

    So, while I’m optimistic, I’m also being realistic and saying the boys need focus to get through this first leg.

    1-1 is what I think the final score will be.

  5. Tim – you wanker. Don’t ever talk crap about Pires. In his prime, he was one of the best players in the world.
    I am off to catch my flight to Seattle. I should get there in time to catch the game with you guys at Doyle’s.

  6. We should have enough in our tanks to come out of the battle with at least a draw and hopefully, that all important away goal.

    We will probably see the same team and 4-4-1-1 formation displayed against City last Saturday, with Eboue starting in place of Walcott and Nasri replacing Arshavin on the left.

  7. Welcome back CaribKid, I hope you had fun away from the internet?

    I just wanted to point out that everyone (well, not EVERYone) saw the Citeh game as a 4-2-3-1 formation: the same that they used against Roma.

    I fully expect the 4-2-3-1 (or 4-5-1, if you prefer) for tomorrow’s game. FULLY.

    Welcome back!

  8. Thanks Tim,

    And yes, actually enjoyed my internet hibernation.

    Obviously everyone didn’t see it as a 4-2-3-1 formation (LOL)

    It’s basically semantics, or should I say numerics. Fab played as a support striker in the hole behind Ade and had very little defensive duties, as he also does for Spain when he starts. It is more of a Bergkamp type role and that’s why I hesitate to call it a 4-5-1. 4-2-3-1 could do as well with the 3 playing in an inverted V.

    Here’s to winning tomorrow.

  9. On the other hand Tim, if not for Shay Given, Citeh could have gone down more than 2-0. It’s a what if argument that we can all speculate about but we’ll all be wrong because we don’t know. Yes we should take it one game at a time but our fixtures are going to become so congested that we have to plan for the future, even if that means looking into the crystal ball to a CL final that we haven’t gotten to as yet.

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