Damage Assessment

By on October 16, 2009

Gael Clichy

On the Thursday and Friday following an international break, the club generally goes into damage assessment mode. The question is never, “Is anyone hurt?” But, rather, “Who is hurt, and for how long?” Last month, I posted my recurring international break nightmare. It is also the time to forgot all the “Cesc-to-anywhere-but-Arsenal” stories, which for some reason continue to get Gooners all worked up.

Gael Clichy is out due to an ankle problem sustained while playing for France as is Abou Diaby. Also, Eduardo’s long trip back from Kazakhstan rules him out for Saturday. But, strangely enough, we have more good news than bad at the end of this interlull… strange days, indeed.

Samir Nasri on crutchesFabianski is available after corrective knee surgery and “will be in the squad.” Manuel Almunia is “50-50” for Birmingham, according to Wenger. Samir Nasri was finally back in full training this past week and he has been tentatively scheduled to make his return in the 4th Round of the Carling Cup at home to Liverpool on the 28th.

The return of the keepers is probably the most welcome news. Mannone has done well and I think we can all feel a bit more confident in our 3rd keeper but Almunia and, especially, Fabianski are absolutely essential to the club and we are lucky to have had Mannone take his chance and show the Boss and us his potential.

His shot-stopping was great but like most young keepers, he needs to work on his decision-making; his failure to come for the ball on the first Blackburn goal being the most glaring example. But I have faith that he will have learned alot in his brief spell in the first team and should a recurrence of the situation happen again, I would not be overly concerned about Mannone getting a run of games.

In other news, Arsenal has released an official iPhone app. It costs £2.99 or $4.99 and is available now in the iTunes store. It includes match and interview videos as well as full player profiles and the official news feed from the website.Vito Mannone

Also, Arsenal are restarting their Friday night programming which was originally available on ArsenalTV before the Setanta debacle. It will now be seen on ArsenalTV Online live every Friday night and includes the usual “Arsenal Live” with Dan Roebuck, Stewart Robson, and Ray Parlour at 7pm GMT. That will be followed by a 15-minute “Spotlight.” And then it is capped off with the “Fans’ Forum,” hosted by Tom Watt. For those of us in the States who are not at home at the time of the live broadcast, I think I can say that it would be fantastic if the club archived the episodes so they could be watched later.

Arsenal Station would also like to congratulate Robin van Persie and his wife on their new baby. And, finally, Stan Kroenke has increased his shareholding this past week to 28.9%. Arsenal Station will comment on this development later on in the week.

That’s pretty much it. This post is the equivalent of coming back from a layoff with a light practice session. Arsenal Station had a couple of very interesting guest articles from Ted Harwood and Brett Chase and it’s now time to get back down to business. So it’s Birmingham on Saturday and then off to Holland for the Champions League fixture with Ronald Koeman’s AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday evening. Up the Arsenal!


  1. Nigel Van der Valk The 2nd

    October 16, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Not sure how we have more good news than bad. 3 Basic first teamers out and Fabianski back with Nasri training.

  2. mayank

    October 16, 2009 at 9:15 am

    the best thing is that we will get arsenal to play this weekend. there is nothing like it.
    Go Gunners

  3. ArsenalStation

    October 16, 2009 at 9:22 am

    The return of Fabianski, Almunia, Nasri outweigh for me injuries to Clichy or Diaby. And considering our record, the fact that the rest of them are coming back without injuries is more good news as well. Eduardo is out for the match but only because of the travel, not due to injury. I would have expected worse.

  4. Only Fabregas

    October 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    What about Almunia’s failure to come out for the ball that was headed in by Diaby when we played against Manu?

    Mannone is not worse than Almunia. Then also remember Giovani’s goal when we played Hull. Ronado’s 41 yards free kick. Bentley’s goal. C L finals 2 near post goals.

    We won’t win anything with Almunia in goal.

    Almunia is not good and has never been adequate for the Arsenal; a club that has seen GKs like Jennings, Seaman, Lehmann who all won us titles and cups.

    If its not broken, don’t fix it. Mannone for No.1

    Note that Casillas has been No.1 for Madrid since 19 years old.

    Almunia is one of the major reasons we’ve always fallen short.

    • ArsenalStation

      October 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm

      I didn’t say Mannone was “worse than Almunia.” To be honest, Fabianski’s return is probably more vital than Almunia’s. As for the United goal, he had no reason to come out for it, the free-kick came in right across the backline and nowhere near a United player… how is he supposed to know that Diaby is going to make what was probably the best header of his career into his own net. Mannone at least learned his lesson because a few minutes after the goal, B’burn got the ball in a similar position and Robinson once again booted it into the box and that time Mannone came out and grabbed it out of the air. Look, Mannone has great potential but do I want to see him in goal in a Champions League semifinal… NO! Not this year anyway. If it’s not Almunia, it HAS to be Fabianski.

  5. Only Fabregas

    October 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Equally, I don’t want to see any GK not rated even as a bench GK in his home country near the Arsenal. He’s always been average but this year has been worse. Portsmouth, Manu, City and even Cetic at home were all games he was poor this year.

    I don’t understand. Lehmann had two mistakes at the beginning of 2007/8 season. He was poor against Fulham but we won 2:1 and also against Blackburn away but we drew 1:1 and was quickly dropped.

    Almunia has been average since he became No.1 in 2007/8 season and was terrible in certain games, Spurs, Hull, Manu etc but Arsene is still keeping him.

    Fabianski is even worse, Almunia replica. Just watch the 1:5 trashing by Spurs, 1:2 FA with Chavski, 1:4 league against Chavski and 4:4 against Pool and we can see the danger we will face with Fabianski as well.

    Our only hope is in Mannone and Szczesny.

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