Gearing up to our away-clash to Fulham today, Arsene Wenger goes on a bit of a tirade directed at his own decisions, and a certain Englishman for the future…
Arsene Wenger has said that he is not too chuffed with the progress made by young Theo Walcott so far in his fledgling career. In his two-ish seasons with Arsenal, the young striker has netted only four goals so far, but Wenger is both critical yet cautious in his assessment of Walcott. While acknowledging that he expects Walcott to eventually fulfill his potential, Wenger admits the media spotlight on Walcott does not help, saying:
“The expectation level is very high because he is very young and he has been projected early into the spotlight.
He feels the pressure. He wants to fulfil the ambitions and expectation level that people have for him. But I still believe he is strong enough and good enough to make it.“
Arsene Wenger has also said that rushing Robin van Persie back into action against Tottenham was a big mistake, after the striker’s diagnosis showed he will be out for another month with a recurrence of his thigh strain. Wenger says:
“Maybe we made a mistake to play him in the Carling Cup, because we wanted to rush him a little bit back after the muscular problems and were not cautious enough maybe on the night. This time we will have to be very patient.
When a player has waited for so long and is ready to play, you are under pressure a bit from him as well because he feels he can play. Also, when you have been out for a few months, you need some games to get back to your best. You want to give him those games as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, I do not feel we made the right decision to play him on the night.“
Now, we are all justifiably worried by this awful streak of injuries Robin van Persie has suffered. What everyone wants to know is, is it indicative of a long term Michael Owen-case of glasswork? I do not think (and I certainly hope not) that Robin will come through this as long as the management demonstrate more patience in him, and more faith in the current crop of strikers other than van Persie.
Something which has not been coming from the fans, certainly – while Eduardo has shut up my criticism of him lately, one man people still wont quite accept into the Arsenal team is the now crowned BBC African Player of the Year, Emmanuel Adebayor. Some may say he got this award for being the leading scorer in African qualifying matches, rather than the fact that he is the current runner-up in the Premier League scoring charts.
There’s no pleasing some people, I guess. He wasn’t shirked for competition, neither. Didier Drogba was shunted into second place, and the powerful Michael Essien got third ahead of the dangerous Freddie Kanoute and injury-prone Samuel Eto’o. And let’s not forget: the kid’s only 23.
And of course, we have a match on tonight. The squad tonight should be fairly easy to predict, injuries permitting.
Rosicky should return in place of Theo Walcott, while Eduardo and Adebayor continue to hold the front in van Persie’s extended absence. The one interesting thing to look out for in today’s match will be to see how Senderos continues from his good showing against Birmingham last time out.
With Fulham acquiring some new transfers, including the likes of Marlon King, it will be a mix of their trying to prove themselves in front of their home fans, at the cost of a gelled team ethic. Hopefully this is a weakness this Arsenal team can exploit, but caution, especially after that Birmingham performance, is well advised.
I’m hoping, as always, for an Arsenal win, but it certainly will not be as easy as Fulham’s position on the ladder suggests. More tomorrow, with hopefully three points to report on. Up the Arse, always.