Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Ramblings

The appeal over Vermaelen's dismissal has, as expected, been rejected, so for the first time this season he will miss a league game, this weekend against Birmingham.

The manager is left with something of a conundrum. Does he play the rickety-looking duo of Silvestre and Campbell? Or use Song and Campbell, a partnership that looked solid in the second half against West Ham? This would theoretically make us stronger at the back, but weaker in midfield, with the loss of any real anchor.

Another possibility is that Campbell will be rested, and Silvestre will partner Song, because it's already been said that Sol will struggle to play two games in a week, and the thought of him facing Barcelona is frightening enough without him being knackered before the game even kicks off. Apparently, there is a chance Gallas will make it back for the first leg... Let's hope so.

I also wonder whether Sagna could play centre half in the league, with Eboue at right-back, but in fairness that is Championship Manager logic, and it is probably too vital a time for that sort of tinkering. What all this does illustrate is that Wenger really should have shelled out on a little more cover at the back.

Gallas has never had a season free of injury for Arsenal; he's always missed a month or so at some point, so that was to be expected, as I've said all season. I know I moan a lot, and Campbell has generally done well, but to have only he and Silvestre as back-up always had a potentially costly look. Wenger just seems to prefer that sort of costliness to the financial kind. Fair enough, he will say he trusts in the unity of the squad, and perhaps point to Song's versatility, but the fact is it could be damaging to lose Song from the midfield, particularly away from home (or indeed against Barcelona, if his deployment in defence is being considered there).

In any case, the longer this team can renew their claim to a trophy (or two), the more heroic and surprising they become, and likewise Wenger. I feel compelled again, though, and for the umpteenth time I know, to add that I think he has unnecessarily handicapped himself by not buying. Obviously, his vision extends beyond this season, whatever its outcome in silverware terms, and the last few weeks have at least suggested that any failure this season will probably be as heroic as last season's was abject.

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