Arsene Wenger is set to confirm at lunchtime today that Cesc Fabregas will be out for two to four months after our midfield wizard suffered a serious injury to his medial knee ligament on Sunday against Liverpool. Gooners will recall from the past how the impact of serious injuries to key midfielders have dealt our team a blow at crucial times of the season, with the likes of Emmanuel Petit, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira. The biggest headache for the club will be the gloom that will settle over The Emirates as this news breaks and the pressure that it will place upon the January transfer spending plans of the club. Cesc Fabregas spoke with Radio Marca yesterday and confirmed that he has “negative feelings about the knee injury” the nearest indication that he has had the worst confirmed. Arsenal options from within include Diaby and Denilson, but neither have shown the kind of form that would label them as heirs to our Spanish playmaker’s throne.
Almunia is expected to take over the role of Captain in Fabregas’s extended absence as there seems to be no way back for former skipper William Gallas. The pressure to replace Flamini will now take on a special emphasis with a midfielder who will create the magic that our team needs. Step forward the best friend of Fabregas, who was said to be distressed by his role in Cesc’s injury. Could he now become a firm target for Arsenal Football club? Other contenders include the highly rated Miguel Veloso of Sporting Lisbon and Yaya Toure of Barcelona. From our junior ranks it will be too soon for the likes of Fran Merida and Aaron Ramsey.
Alisher Usmanov has confirmed to the Guardian Newspaper what I suggested in earlier blogs, that he has no plans to increase his Arsenal stake. The credit crunch coming at quite the wrong time for the Russian Billionaire. That leaves Lady Nina no option other than to court the attention of Arab concerns. At least this news eases the fears of fans with regard to Usmanov, but speculation is rising that Stanley Kroenke mya relieve Lady of at least some of the shares, how many remains to be seen. I still think that some wealthy Arabs are planning a raid on those shares, and now the troubles affecting Usmanov could open the way to a full takeover bid as they could make a grab for Usmanov’s shares at the same time, producing a 41% holding in the club. Whether the Board would resist such a move is open to speculation given the current financial climate, but this would be a dramatic u-turn given it’s strong stance on custodianship of the club.
The aftermath of the Adebayor sending off rumbles on as the Liverpool player Arbeloa suggests that Adebayor only has himself to blame for his sending off. This last few days has been significant for referee’s with Phil Dowd sending off Chelsea’s John Terry last night. Sky Sports news are trailing the stamp by Chelsea Brazilian defender Alex who was seen to stamp the thigh of Everton’s Cahill. The TV replays are rolling and we can expect on cue , the FA video panel to be involved. What a change it makes for Sky to feature someone other than an Arsenal player, after singularly ignoring it’s manc darling Wayne Rooney’s stamp on an Aalborg player Kasper Risgard’s chest in the Champion’s League recently.
Onto the delayed post match assessment from Sunday and it’s Howard Webb who is on the end of my rant.
“Oh what a tangled Howard Webb we weave, When first we practice to deceive”
Yes, Sir Walter Scott was clearly an Arsenal fan before his time…lol Howard Webb has to be thanked for having united the entire Emirates stadium in a manner that I could never have predicted. The booing and whistling was excellent and we managed to keep it up for a length of time that frankly embarrassed the Scouse support. Victory through harmony almost until he reduced our side to ten men. I am hoping that this spirit of backing are team is as contagious as the flu sweeping the UK right now. More of it please, the unity not the flu that is!
If this referee is the Premier league’s best official then as the American’s say, I’m a monkey’s uncle. The standard that he protrayed shows just how poor our professional staff have become. The inconsistent decisions were laughable. At times, it appeared that Webb was going out of his way to blow his whistle and make his reputation as a no nonsense referee. I would liked to have heard his explanation of several incidents that he chose not to punish Liverpool for, yet when committed by an Arsenal player, they went straight into his book. I just hope that he is caught out soon in the same manner that Graham “3 yellow cards” Poll was prior to his unceremonial exit from the game. I cannot believe that so much money can be left in the hands of these officials, who clearly make it up as they go along. Howard Webb inexplicably chose to ignore the worst excesses of this Liverpool team.
I was also shocked as to how deceitful this Liverpool team have become. I have seen Carragher commit off the ball incidents that frankly having the term cheat applied to them would be an understatement. In fact wherever one looks in this Liverpool team, one can see the tainted desire to win at all costs in stark contrast to the professionalism and heritage of the previously great Liverpool teams. I could not see Bill Shankly accepting the current behaviour from Steven Gerrard, whose studs up tackle on Bacary Sagna in the 4th minute was a disgrace. Steven Gerrard is a world class midfielder, but he didn’t like being outclassed by Cesc Fabregas. His pathetic dive was typical of the way that he has played of late. Without his diving expertise, Liverpool would not have made the progress to the final sixteen of the Champions league. For people who like the beautiful game, don’t watch the first ten minutes of this game, which saw more high long balls launched than the satellites from NASA. In the first five minutes alone, these aerial bombs were dispatched at the rate of one a minute. The high ball that undid Johan Djourou was lucky. Gallas did his best to cover, but he had too much ground to make up. Djourou will have learned a harsh lesson from that mistake.
To be fair we should have been going in at half time 2:1 down when Gerrard missed his slide in front of goal, but the Gods were to cease their kindness with the knee injury to Cesc Fabregas just on the interval. A harsh fifty-fifty challenge from his friend Alonso, who has manged to injure Cesc on more than one occasion. Is he hoping to get a transfer on the back of crocking our skipper I asked myself? Earlier Robin van Persie’s goal had been a connoisseurs’ item, and if he continues to score goals with his right foot, then teams will be very scared of him, given his left sided reputation. The team were galvanised into stern resistance after the silly dismissal of Adebayor. No one can doubt that given the forceful probing of his boot followed by his trailing arm, that the referee was going to send him off. We can only wonder what is going on in Adebayor’s head if he thinks that both tackles were acceptable. The first yellow card for the same gesture, should at least have suggested to the Togalese striker, that he ought to tread carefully. I cannot defend his gesture, and had it been the other way around, I would have been happy to see a Liverpool player leave the field. But we didn’t . Lucas was allowed to cynically go around fouling any Arsenal player making progress, and even after his final warning he made three other fouls before going into the book rather belatedly
Liverpool had the lions share of possession when we looked jaded and sluggish. But what do you expect if we line up 4-5-1 at home? People have attac ked Liverpool for being negative, this can only be true after we were reduced to 10 men. Up until then, they could have beaten us when Fabregas left the field, had they had more desire. Nasri had another disappointing game after his blistering start, and he left Clichy exposed upon several occasions. He is not very defensively minded and should be put in his Marseille role just behind Robin van Persie, especially now if Le Boss thinks that Bendtner does not have what it takes. The line-up against Aston Villa will surely see the return of Eboue in front of Sagna, with Diaby centrally accompanied by Denilson. We need to counteract the pace of the Villa attack, and perhaps we need to consider the likes of Vela and Jack Wilshere. Jack has shown a wonderful ability to tackle players three times bigger than himself. Returning to Liverpool and their play acting and gamesmanship. It was a sad site to see, when all unbiased onlookers will agree that to pursue a win at all costs strategy is likely to tarnish any premiership title victory.
For instance, Steven Gerrard should have been booked for diving, and when will we introduce retrospective red cards for this kind of behaviour? I have decided on the evidence of Sunday’s game that Liverpool will not win the league, and I hope for the sake of their honourable fans, they stop this gamesmanship that Jose Mourhino honed to a fine art with his Chelsea squad over two seasons. The movement of Diaby and Denilson is not yet capable of winning the midfield battles, and now with Fabregas’s departure, we are in desperate need of a playmaker. Denilson loses possession too much, and Diaby holds onto the ball for too long. Aaron Ramsey has lot’s of energy but not yet an experienced eye for the killer pass. The nearest players that I have seen with these attributes are the diminuitive Jack Wilshere and Fran Merida. The next game against Aston Villa is the true “must win” game. We need to stop the momentum of O’Neill’s men. Their current table position does not flatter to deceive, and they have a very realistic chance of breaking into the top four at our expense. One can only hope that they suffer the same distraction regarding Gareth Barry and Liverpool in the January transfer window. I do not think that O’Neill has the bottle to go through to the bitter end, but we should not make it easy for them.
I am glad that the next game is against Aston Villa, because it will prove to Arsene Wenger whether it is purely belief alone that separates these players from success. Villa will be fighting for the their Champions League place. If we fail on Boxing day then the fact that Chelsea dropped two points tonight against Everton will have become all the more galling. Finally, with Lassana Diarra having signed with Real Madrid, subject to a medical. The extra 25% of his transfer fee due to us, must be used to make that killer purchase that we enable us to kick on in the final half of the season. If Arsene Wenger does not buy as expected in the transfer window, then my worry is that people like Maximus who visit this site with their doom and gloom, may be given even more ammunition. I am confident that these disenchanted fans will finally have something to cheer about come the end of the season. Arsene Wenger can prove to his critics that this Arsenal Football team are indeed a quality outfit only short of two or three players willing to play hard for the badge. When we look for people to blame for our current position, we must really look long and hard at ourselves. My rant against Liverpool cannot disguise the fact that for long periods of the game, we were second best in terms of effort applied and any new signing must address these weaknesses.
Fabregas the King.