Will Arsene sing a loony tune?

It’s the question on every Arsenal fan’s lips this morning ahead of the vital trip to St Andrews tomorrow to face Brum without the banned Thomas Vermaelen: Will AW play Sol Campbell alongside Mikael Silvestre or drop Alex Song into the back four and bring another midfielder, possibly Denilson, possibly Diaby in to do the screening job the Cameroon international ususally does so well?
Henry Norris, more of him later in this round-up, is as cutting as ever in the Bugle: “Silvestre? I’d rather Arsene played Tweetie Pie — at least then with Sol alongside him it would be a case of, er, loony tunes!” Bit below the belt, that one, Henry, old boy! We have to back the players who wear the shirt on any given day and offer them our full support and encouragement! Shocking stuff.
Yes, I though Silvestre looked leg-weary against Burnley and I just wonder if it would be asking too much of an ageing centre-half double act to cope with 90 minutes away from home against a side with decent form. But what do I know? Other than AW will make the right decision.
And so we wind our weary way to the tabloids and kick-off with the Mirror reflecting on the return to Brum Eduardo, who was left with a broken leg and dislocated ankle following a red-card tackle from Martin Taylor two years ago.
Eddie was out for a year but AW reckons the Crazilian has the “mental strength” to cope, saying: “We want him to come back there and just win our game. That is the only way you can deal with that situation. I have not spoken to him yet about it yet, but he will certainly have a weight on his mind and he has just to prepare his mind to deal with all that.
“It is like you drive the same way every day in your car – one day you have an accident, but afterwards you cannot just not go through this way any more. You have to live with it. Life goes on. It is only once in the 1000 times he played which he had an accident. It happened at Birmingham, but could have happened somewhere else.”
The same paper tells us AW won’t save Sol for the Barca game on Wednesday. He said: “I will pick him for the next game because the next game is always the most important one. We have fought for the whole season to give ourselves a chance of winning the championship, and now we are in this position it is a priority.
Bill Gallas resumes full training today after his calf muscle injury but will miss the trip to Birmingham and the first leg against of the Champions League quarter-finals.
Despite Wenger excusing Gallas from his one-year extension limit for players over 30, no deal has been reached, with keen to reduce the former Chelsea defender’s £80,000 a week. And the Daily Mail reports that no deal has been reached to sign a new deal with the defender and that Gallas is free to talk to foreign clubs and can start negotiating with Premier League rivals at the end of the season.
AW said: ‘I feel we are winning the battle to keep him, but in this domain you have to be open and be ready for anything,’ conceded Wenger. ‘He is free to sign for anybody he wants and tomorrow somebody could come up and offer him a massive amount of money. He knows we want to keep him and that we make an effort but it has to be, as it always has been historically, within our set budget.’
The Guardian adds that Campbell, Gallas and Silvestre all have deals that require renewing but that AW won’t hold contract talks. He said: “We focus on the games. Now we play Birmingham, Barcelona, Wolves, Barcelona and Tottenham. It is a crucial stage for us.”He said of Campbell, Gallas, and Silvestre: “They are all focused because they are, as well, at an age where they know they have to deal with that,” Wenger said. “So that it is not the same as when you have a player of 23 or 24. A player of 33 or 34 is in a normal situation with that. For a player of 23 or 24 it is an abnormal situation.”
Meanwhile, the Sun says AW has urged fans not to expect too much too soon from Robin Van Persie, out since November with ankle ligament damage and that the Dutch striker could be back within a fortnight.
He said: “Don’t expect miracles when a guy has been out for such a long time. We are happy to have him back and he is physically, fitness-wise, in good shape. So we just have to get him back to full team fitness – that will take two to three weeks maximum. You need a few games to get back to your best.”
A return to Henry Norris, still recovering from a broken toe sustained in a Fleet Street five-a-side game for the Bugle against The Stage, writes: “If Wenger has any sense, and he does, he’ll ship out Campbell and Silvestre and keep Gallas on for another season. Then he needs to get Djourou fit and and buy Michael Dawson…(Editor’s note: at this point I am afraid Henry was temporarily relived of his duties, and marbles, and carted off to the nuthouse for some rest and recuperation).
Get well soon, Henry, old boy!

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