Archive for September 16th, 2009

Liege Preview: Wenger should have bought an experienced keeper this summer

1 comment September 16th, 2009

On the occasions I’ve seen young Vito Mannone play for Arsenal, he has made me so nervous that the chances of me actually weeing myself have increased tenfold.  With the news that Manuel Almunia has a chest infection meaning that Mannone will make his Champions League debut in Belgium tonight, I’ll be attaching a catheter just before kick-off.

Denilson and Robin van Persie are also out – the former with a back problem and the latter after a ritualistic Togolese decapitation.  Arsene’s comment on Adebayor’s stamp was as witty as it was scathing:

“It looks very bad.  You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the 100th will be Mark Hughes.”

Mark Hughes ought to be ashamed of the way he has discussed the Adebayor situation, including claiming at one stage that the player’s celebration was with “the City fans in that corner” with whom the he shared a “special affinity”.  What utter tosh.

Anyway, back to more important matters, like the Champions League – something Adebayor has foregone this season.  The Liege side we face tonight are no pushover – I remember their games against Liverpool last season with fond memories of how much panic they caused in the scouse ranks.  They’ve got a crunchy midfield, too – watch out for Axel “The Axe” Witsel.

WIth plenty of injuries already littering the squad, our team almost picks itself.  Mannone will be reassured by the presence of Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas, with Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy at full-back.  Clichy and the missing Almunia have started the season with some rocky form, but hopefully tonight will start an upturn in the frenchman’s fortunes.

In midfield, Cesc is likely to be joined by Alex Song and Abou Diaby, though there’s an outside chance of Tomas Rosicky making his first start for the club in over a year-and-a-half.  Ahead of that, Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner are certainties, with Emmanuel Eboue the most obvious candidate to fill the third attacking spot.

It’s not our strongest line-up – absentees Almunia, Arshavin, Van Persie, Walcott and Nasri are all key players – but after two defeats we need a positive result.  I’ve got the sneakiest of feelings that the unexpected availability of Eduardo might provide crucial.

Good luck Vito and Come On Arsenal!


Never write a headline before you write the blog.  Especially if you don’t really plan it and just splurge your thoughts out through the medium of type.

I forgot to talk at all about the fact that Arsene should undoubtedly have brought in some experienced cover ahead of the new season.  He knew that Fabianski had a serious injury, and whilst Mannone and Sczczczczeszcznhny have promise, it’s almost unfair on them to rely on them on the biggest stage – goalkeeper, perhaps more than any other, is a pressure position that requires experience.

Furthermore, could Manuel Almunia’s sluggish start to the season be explained by the fact he has no realistic competition?  One to ponder…

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