The Club are due to confirm the existence and severity of any injury suffered by Tomas Rosicky at the pre-season press conference today. If this is a simple hamstring confirmed on scanning, then he will be out for 4 to 6 weeks but should be able to return to full fitness. His desire to join the Czech National squad has been derailed, but these setbacks need not be considered a major problem unless he fails to return on time. In which case my previous concerns about Arsenal carrying a long term injured player will resurface.
Arsenal are set to face one of the following teams now that the results of the third qualifying round are completed- Anderlecht, Athletico Madrid, Celtic, Fiorentina and Timisoara. Having beaten Athletico Madrid in the Emirates cup, one might be forgiven for expressing less fear of this La Liga side. Fiorentina of Serie A are no push over having challenged for the title and displaced AC Milan from the Champions League last season. Anderlecht is a Belgian side who have not rediscovered their form in the seventies which saw them win the UEFA Cup three times and a succession of national league and cup titles.
A tie with Celtic would be tricky, but probably represents a straight forward tie assuming they are on a par with the Rangers side that visited the Emirates during the recent pre-season tournament. Timisoara are completely unknown to me. A Romanian side, I suppose if they should be considered the weakest side and a draw that would see Arsenal go through without difficulty. The draw takes place tomorrow in Nyon at midday and I shall let you know as soon as I hear.
The size of the squad and subsequent fortunes are not quite as dependent upon this tie as Alex Fynn has suggested in the publicity for his new edition of his book, but regular Champions League income has enabled Arsenal to maintain a high wage bill. The consequences of failure would reduce the profits considerably, but it would not be armageddon. The caution being displayed by the club is something that generates nervousness in the supporters. We trust Arsene, but if he fails to deliver what then? I for one could not contemplate the Chavs being the first London team to lift the Champions League.
No word yet on Sendy’s move to Everton or Eboue’s links to Fiorentina. With just over three weeks left before the end of the transfer window, there is plenty of time to secure our transfer targets. The current squad will have the incentive of producing the early results in the Premier League to convince us all that continuity is as important as new signing. The early fixture at Old Trafford at the end of August takes on more significance as their number one choice goal keeper Van der Saar is injured. There is a lot of hype about Valencia, but my view is that he is no Ronaldo, and this is yet more hyperbole on behalf of the Manc supporting media.
There are reports surfacing that Arsenal will improve their bid for Marouane Chamakh of Bordeaux by half a million. This still falls way below the price wanted by Bordeaux, and my assessment is that Bordeaux will accept a lower fee rather than lose any income under Bosman in January. Valencia are the opposition on Saturday, and after their lack lustre showing at Old Trafford I hope that we can beat them by more than the two goals that they conceded against Ferguson’s charges.
I am hoping to see Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott in action at some point. Theo Wlacott is quoted on Arsecom as relishing the prospect of palying as a central striker. We all recall the step up that Thierry Henry made, but to be honest after the Under 21 Tournament in Sweden, I cannot see Theo being ready to assume this role. He said the following
“The boss spoke to me last year and said I would get a chance up front but my shoulder injury [against Stoke] upset those plans,”
“I’d like to get a chance up front but for this team I’ll play anywhere.
“You never know what will happen but I am definitely ready to play up front if chosen.”
I think that Eduardo is an established striker and he should take any central role before Theo. I am still a strong supporter of Walcott, but his recent form suggests that he is “work in progress” The same cannot be said our Mexican Wunderkid. I can’t wait to see Vela who I regard as the best finisher at the club. I believe that Carlos Vela must be given more opportunities this season, he could be our secret weapon or super sub, who knows. If we fail to sign Chamakh now that Huntelaar has gone to Milan, then what what about a forward line of Vela, Eduardo and Arshavin? risky but exciting no?