The ongoing issue of Arsenal injury problems has once again, and unsurprisingly so, risen its ugly head this week, following the inopportunely timed injuries to both the Ox (who I’d literally just written a piece about stating I hoped he could pull his finger out here) as well as to Theo -surprise that. Steven Evenden wrote a great piece this week about who could effectively fill in for either of them on the right. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see who fills in – most online pundits seem to think it’s Campbell after some positive quotes from Wenger. Personally, I prefer the idea of bringing in Gibbso and moving Alexis to the right but it seems quite unlikely.
It’s interesting that the spot where we’re now feeling the pinch is neither of the unreinforced positions that caused such outcry at the end of the transfer window. While it’s undeniable that we could have used some more outfield options at this point, we were never going to be buying a right winger.
Whatever the underlying causes of our injuries may be, we’ve got a game tomorrow against Swansea, who let’s not forget did the double over us last season. Swansea started this season with a pretty good run of form, drawing with Chelsea and beating United in August. It seems however that their loss to Watford at the beginning of last month scuppered their early season momentum, and they’ve since lost to Saints, Stoke and Hull in the Cup, as well drawing with the other north london team (lower case on purpose chaps and chapesses). They do however come into this game having come from behind to beat Villa with goals from a Sigurdsson free kick (does he score any other goals?) and a last ditch Ayew effort.
Swansea are a well-run outfit, and although they don’t have any players who terrify defenders, have a tidy midfield and a striker who has done us damage in the recent past in the shape of Bafétimbi Gomis. They also have the talented young Garry Monk in charge. For those of you in Edmonton – have you ever seen him and Justin Barrie in the same place??
Our recent record against the Swans, along with some interesting stats on how we’ve fared under referee Kevin Friend are analysed by Premier Punditry here, who suggests that Swansea might have the advantage.
You’d hope that we’d forget the midweek league cup hiccup tomorrow and beat a team who, on paper at the very least don’t offer as much as we do in any area of the field. However, they did us home and away last season, and have a point to prove. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there’re no easy games in the Premier League any more.
I hope everyone manages to get out to the pub and watch this one tomorrow – I’m feeling optimistic but I always am because I’m usually only slightly sober.