Beautiful, terrific morning down under. The news today mostly comprises of player interviews, so it’ll be a short blog today.
We’ll start the day with Gilberto Silva, who must still be incredibly bemused by Flamini’s outstanding form (and Senderos’ solid performance against Steaua too, though Gilberto’s eyes would naturally be on Flamini’s position), and his abundance of bench time this season thus far. He’s been quoted as saying:
“When you play one game in a different position and then in the next game you’re not playing it is hard to accept. It’s the first time I have been out of the team and I can confess it’s been so hard.“
While Flamini’s form is brilliant, Gilberto will surely have a big say in the forthcoming season. Hark back on to the Invincibles season (one that gets mentioned quite a bit, now) – in the first six games, no one in their right mind would have put anyone ahead of Wiltord on the right wing. He was in irreplacable form for the beginning of the season, but over the course of the season, Fredrik Ljungberg showed why he was the mainstay of the side’s right wing, recovering from injuries, regaining form, and slotting in over ten goals that season (was it 14? I cant recall the exact figure).
And while it would be brilliant to see Flamini become a permanent fixture in the side, we cant write off possibilities, of which Gilberto is a very probable force. He’s far too popular to give up on, anyway.
Robin van Persie remains ‘unsurprised’ by Arsenal’s brilliant start to the season, saying the togetherness in the squad has been a factor evident to the players since preseason and is only now dawning on the rest of the public. He says:
“I like the fact we’re playing together week in, week out. Some teams like Liverpool switch and it is OK for them, but we are settled and we like it. “If we can stay together, we can do amazing stuff in the future. We can win trophies, why not?“
Along similar lines,
The challenge is to become like that team of four seasons ago. We now have nine straight wins and that tells you something about the focus of the players.<!–
“It was not the most glamorous game they will ever play but overall they were very hungry. Now we have to see how long we can extend this run. We can try to be inspired by the kind of consistency we showed in 2004.
Right now it is too early to compare. We went 49 games, there is still a huge difference. So let’s go step by step.“
Important bits in bold to make sure the mistake of 02/03 is not made again, especially with the press misquoting Wenger the last time he said such things. I dont think we’ll get anywhere near the echelon reached by that amazing team of four seasons ago, but the potential to win the damn league (which is all that matters) is definitely there. The buzz in the team is great at the moment; now we just have to wait and see if they keep their feet on the ground.
Manuel Almunia, very quickly, believes he can be the first-choice keeper for the whole of the season. His form has been decent, though there is plenty of room for improvement. Always a good thing when you have quite a few clean sheets under your belt already, he says:
“At the moment I am No 1. I’ve played a few games in a row, I’m doing well and so are the team. We have put in some big performances and I don’t think the boss should change anything. I believe I’m the best keeper and I think I can keep my place for a long time. I would like to play the whole season.“
And long may the Sun God’s reign continue. Rosicky has interestingly been called up to the Czech national squad, despite the fact he cant play for Arsenal with his niggling hamstring injury. I’m sure Arsene will try and sue the Czech FA for watching his player hop around in sciatic glee. “Only two goals, Tomas? Not good enough!”
That’s all for today. Im enjoying the sun, while most of you Northerners are probably basking in the cold. Such is life.