It feels a little strange not to be writing a match review on a morning Sunday but I am sure the extra couple of days have been welcomed by the players as they prepare for Wigan’s visit tomorrow night.
There was more sad news for football fans yesterday as Udinese’s 25 year-old midfielder, Piermario Morosini who was on loan at Livorno, suffered cardiac arrest while playing in a Serie B game yesterday. Unlike Fabrice Muamba though, Morosini did not regain consciousness and passed away in hospital. RIP Piermario.
I am no medical expert so I will not try to speculate on the causes of increasing incidents of this nature. But surely there must be some preventive checks that can be made prior to games? How about having a dedicated cardiac centre at each stadium and a specialist on duty during games? I am sure clubs can allocate the space, although I am not sure if the costs would allow for this. Surely specialists can be hired from local hospitals for match duty?
I don’t know if these suggestions are workable and even if they are, that they will actually help in saving lives. But this is now the third incident in a matter of four weeks if you consider the demise of D Venkatesh, an Indian football player who also died of a heart attack while playing in Bangalore. I understand that such facilities may not be available at all levels of the game and in all countries, but at least we can make a start somewhere – and what better place than the best league in the world.
In the FA Cup, Liverpool booked their passage to the finals by beating derby rivals Everton at Wembley yesterday. The game did not rise to any high standards and was eventually won by the team that made the fewer mistakes. Everton’s first goal after a bungle up between Carragher and keeper Jones brought back bad memories from our last visit to that stadium.
Arsene Wenger thinks domestic cup successes are alright, but the real prize is to win the English Premier League and Europe’s élite competition.
There are two basic trophies for me that are the sign of the quality of a team; they are the Premier League and the Champions League.
All the rest, they are trophies of course and they are important, but they do not really reflect the deep quality of a team. The championship does, and we want to win it.
Due to our miserable start in August and early September, Arsene did not have the luxury of fielding young talent in this season’s domestic cup ties. His remarks suggest that if Arsenal begin the next season with some semblance of normality, we may once again see more Reserves’ talent getting a run out in League and FA cups.
The manager has also reiterated Arsenal’s previously stated position that the club will spend, but wisely. This was in reply to Sol Campbell’s warning that purse strings have to be considerably loosened for the Gunners to retain Robin van Persie’s services and end the trophy drought. Liverpool is proof that investing indiscriminately is not the answer, although Jamie Carragher believes Andy Carroll’s winner last night was worth the £35 million paid for him. More of the same in the summer then, King Kenny.
Arsene Wenger also had some team news to dispense ahead of the Latics’ arrival. Gervinho seems a certainty and Gibbs may be ready too. Both Coquelin and Diaby will only return to full training next week so they are not under consideration. And of course Koscielny is suspended.
Hope is fading for Jack Wilshere’s chances of making the England team for the European Championships. Although Arsenal will treat his recovery with extreme caution, let’s just hope the FA display some common sense in not forcing the issue in May. They haven’t done much of that lately so it certainly is a matter of concern – an SOS call from the country could seriously affect the club’s plans for next season.
One player that should figure prominently in the next campaign is Abou Diaby. This according to Dave Seager, who wrote an excellent piece yesterday about the importance of the French midfielder to Arsene Wenger’s plans, when fit. The last two words when posed as a question have almost always yielded the answer ‘rarely’.
I have to say I too admire the player immensely and love watching him play. The injuries are not his fault and no one is suggesting they are. However, we have to bear in mind that even a 25-man squad seems inadequate when the matches come thick and fast in January and February. Having a key member of the team permanently in the treatment room limits the manager immensely.
As with Eduardo, Arsene Wenger may be forced to make a tough decision if the Frenchman’s injury woes continue next season. I suspect 2012-2013 will define Abou Diaby’s future career at Arsenal. Here’s hoping it’ll be a long and successful one yet.
Back with the Wigan preview tomorrow. Until then, adios amigos.