Daily Archives: February 22, 2012
It all started when Arsenal visited the Stadium of Light to take on a resurgent Sunderland side in a game that signaled the end of Thierry Henry’s fairytale adventure in the Premier League. For an established Premier League outfit like Sunderland, the pitch was an aberration but the home side was unfazed by such conditions.
Alex Song lost the ball far up in midfield and the home side launched an attack that was brilliantly intercepted by Bacary Sagna. The ball fell to the path of the Gentle Giant Per Mertesacker then a simple step-over turned into a nightmarish scene as the German hit the turf clutching his ankle in agony.
James McClean didn’t have the time to express his gratitude for such a gift and scored Sunderland’s goal but when the orderly came into the pitch with a stretcher, reality donned on everyone that Arsenal’s defensive woes were about to be compounded. Shortly after the game, the scans came out and Arsene Wenger confirmed that he’ll be out for a long while.
With this disappointing season a few months away from conclusion, all eyes would be firmly fixed on the soccer fiesta scheduled to take place in Ukraine and Poland this summer. Per Mertesacker has used his Facebook Page to give his fans an injury update:
“My participation in Euro 2012 is not in danger. Dr Stöckle in Tübingen did the operation on Tuesday evening, attached a piece of bone back to the ankle and patched up the deltoid ligament on the inside of the ankle.
“All went well and I’m in Donaustauf, Bavaria, for the physical rehabilitation.”
It’s certain that the Gentle Giant won’t be seen wearing the Red and White this season but his absence will be immensely felt. They say that you’ll never know what you have until you lose it and it’s fair to say that Mertesacker has proved this adage right. If he received a back pass from Thomas Vermaelen last Saturday in the FA Cup fixture on the same putrid pitch, he wouldn’t have panicked on the ball before conceding a free kick that ultimately led to the first goal conceded.
Mertesacker’s Germany was drawn in the most mouthwatering group of the tournament alongside Holland, Portugal and Denmark. I’m not a huge fan of international football but I’ll would ensure that I won’t miss any game in this group at least.
Sticking with injuries, long-term absentee Carl Jenkinson was scheduled to make a comeback against Norwich Reserves in a strong Arsenal Reserves line up that was to be bolstered with names like Andrey Arshavin, Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh and Yossi Benayoun.
As expected, Arsenal Reserves ran riot against Norwich Reserves with five unreplied goals. Park opened the scoring, Arshavin had a brace while Benik Afobe and Benayoun completed the rout. It’s worth noting that Chamakh lasted for only 29 minutes on the pitch as he was on the end of a rash tackle.
While forwards like Arshavin, Chamakh and Park graced Reserve League football, there’s a striker in the squad whose importance to the team is unrivaled. Robin van Persie has carried Arsenal on his able shoulders this season and he has already notched up 28 goals in his first season as Arsenal’s captain.
In the wake of Arsenal’s debacle this season, he has been hugely tipped to join the exodus of superstars that left for greener pastures but it seems as if the Arsenal hierarchy is prepared to take a last stand on him. Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has told any potential suitor that RVP is going nowhere:
“The communication has come directly from Ivan Gazidis. He flatly refuses to sell him at any price. He has told Van Persie, ‘you are going nowhere and can see out your contract’.
“Arsenal are not stupid. If he sees out his contract he will be 30. Real Madrid and Barcelona are not going to recruit him at 30. Van Persie feels powerless and anxious. There is no way any club will pay £40m for him this summer, because of his age. This makes him a £20m player and Arsenal don’t need to sell him for that.”
A few weeks ago, Footy Bible reported that Real Madrid is planning an audacious £70m bid for the talisman but it seems as if AC Milan has placed him under their radar. However, it seems as if contract talks are imminent.
To round it all up, Arsenal’s Scourge of the North London Derby Rafael van der Vaart is hoping to be fit in time for Sunday’s clash. Hopefully, he may be penalised this time if he attempts to play ‘handball’ instead of the beautiful game.
He has smashed in four goals in just three meetings with Arsenal and judging from the way the defence has been atrocious, I can only hope for the best.
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