Call for Manuel...the others seem Fawlty, Basil

What is it with Arsenal and our keepers? If Arsene Wenger has one weakness (and he probably doesn’t other than choice of shirt-tie combo) it must be choosing the incumbent for the No.1 slot. He was blessed to inherit David Seaman and even then he gave Alex Manninger a chance ahead of the pony-tailed one.
Then came the German nutter Basil Lehmann before Manuel Almunia gave him the runaround in scenes not unfamiliar to Fawlty Towers fans. All we needed back then was for Polly to give Pat Rice a run for his money and for Cybil to launch a buyout. ‘Another keeper crisis, Fawlty?’ Not yet, Major!
Now we have come full circle with the news that Almunia is poised to return for the Gunners in tomorrow’s Premier League clash with another team whose name escapes me.
That”s according to this morning’s papers, who report that Lukasz Fabianski will be out for three weeks with a thigh injury.
The Daily Mail reminds us that Almunia has not played since our 4-2 defeat at Manchester City in mid-September but missed the next six games with a chest infection and was then kept on the bench as Wenger showed faith in Vito Mannone.
AW said: ‘Fabianski will be out for three weeks and it is a big disappointment because he just came back from injury,’ who also confirmed injury will rule Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky, Denilson and Jack Wilshere out of the game.
Wenger also faces a delicate decision over Samir Nasri, who played 90 minutes against Liverpool and needs further games, but must also balance the risk of playing too frequently after returning from a broken leg.
“After five months without playing, I had appetite against Liverpool, I wanted to ‘eat the pitch’ to touch the ball,” Nasri told the Telegraph. “I am going to be patient. The most important thing is not to suffer a relapse.”
Fran Merdia could come into contention for Saturday’s derby and has also said that he is hopeful of extending a contract which expires at the end of next season.
The Sun reckons Merida’s contract talks opens the door for Atletico Madrid to come calling for the £10million-rated midfielder, 19, who scored a stunner against Liverpool in the Carling Cup on Wednesday.
But he could be a free agent in the summer and Atletico president Enrique Cerezo confirmed last night: “He has entered into our plans for next season. He is a player that interests us. The decision rests with the kid because he is free in June.”
Merida wants to keep his options open and is currently talking to the Gunners about a new deal. The Spaniard, picked up from Barcelona in 2006, said: “At the moment I am talking to the club so I don’t know what is going to happen.
“Hopefully everything is going to be all right but we are going to sit down and talk about it. I am really happy in London.”
But the Sun insists that sources close to Merida suggest his family are in favour of a move back to Spain. He has made only four Carling Cup starts for the Gunners and spent four months on loan at Real Sociedad last year.
Elsewhere, our gobby pal Emmanuel Adebayor has reopened his feud with Arsenal’s fans by claiming skipper Cesc Fabregas will be the next big star to quit the Emirates, reports the Mirror.
Defender Kolo Toure followed Adebayor out of north London to Manchester City in the summer and the striker believes Fabregas could be next if Arsenal underachieve again this season.
Adebayor has also accused Arsenal fans of not supporting their players enough. He said: “I think players like Fabregas will look to leave if they are not in the Champions League, but my focus is all on City now.
“Football is more about kicking a ball and tackling. There is a connection between people, players, fans that takes it to the highest level. When that is missing, everything falls apart. You need to feel loved and that is what I feel at City.”
What a complete ****.
Finally, a paper round-up wouldn’t be complete without a bit of transfer speculation and it’s back to the Sun who tells us that Torino’s Angelo’s Ogbonna is a target for AW.
The paper says AW is a big admirer of the Italy Under-21 star and wants to strengthen his defence when the transfer window reopens in January.
Ogbonna, 21, has been earning rave reviews in Serie B this season and is regarded as one of the best young talents in Italy. Juventus and Inter Milan have also been keeping a close eye on his development.
Check back later for a very lively Ask The Oppo with a rather bitter and twister T******** fan — aren’t they all?

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