Teams News For Tomorrow’s Game, Ox To Start?
It’s a rather short post today, other matters requiring attention at present. So if the prose is morose, please bear with me. Although if it is that, I guess you will hardly notice the difference from other days.
Most of the talk is obviously about Chelsea’s impending visit to the home of beautiful football tomorrow. In teams news, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mikel Arteta won’t play again this season. The good news is that the injury is not as sinister as first believed, an ankle sprain far more acceptable than ligament damage. Our little midfield maestro should be ready to play again in six to eight weeks.
Kieran Gibbs returns to the squad as well, and his pace should see him replace Santos at left back. Abou Diaby is likely to feature too, after coming through unscathed from a 45 minutes run out in the midweek Reserves’ friendly win over Oman XI. Le Boss is understandably cautious about his compatriot, so I expect the French midfielder to be on the bench.
There has been some discussion among fans about the use of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain recently. Although he is an exciting talent, Arsene Wenger has preferred to use him sparingly of late. Some people think he should place more trust in youth.
Instructing Arsene Wenger to use a youth-first policy is like asking a moth to go to the light.
I think the main reason Arsene is reluctant to use Alex too much is because of the injuries to young players like Wilshere, Frimpong and Coquelin. He may also be worried that the Walcott syndrome will strike Oxlade-Chamberlain, the media hyping up the player only to bring out the knives at the first bad performance. He could also be protecting him from joining England’s ill-fated Euro campaign – you don’t have to be Paul the Octopus to predict that it will end miserably.
Alex still has a lot to learn to warrant a regular starting place. Overusing him now would not only invite the possibility of injury, but would also be detrimental to the young man’s confidence. I am happy to wait until Wenger decides the best time to unleash the Ox.
Personally, I feel Arsene will start with Gervinho tomorrow. Even with two players short in the midfield, the manager would prefer to hold the Ox in reserve for the later stages of the game, what with Chelsea having played a couple of physically tough games in the last week. For sure Alex will be involved, I just don’t believe he will start.
As the season draws to a close, transfer speculation is starting to pick up again. The hottest property out there at the moment is Robin van Persie and everyone is having their say on what he should do, who he should dine with, which hotel he should visit, what he should wear for said visit etc. Ex-players are getting into the act too, Patrick Kluivert is suggesting Robin should move to another club in order to win trophies. If Johan Cryuff said that, you might be excused for giving the story some credence but Patrick Kluivert? Enough said.
Be back tomorrow’s with the Chelsea preview. Until then.