Friday, April 10, 2009

Injured Arsenal

Chim chiminey,
Chim chiminey
Chim chim Djourou.
Who needs William Gallas,
When we've got Djourou?

- something we'll be singing with conviction at season's end

Despite the recession, there won't be any layoffs from Arsenal physio team. There's just too much work to do. William Gallas is out for the rest of the season with a medial knee ligament injury. Gael Clichy is out for two weeks with a back injury. Manuel Almunia is out for three weeks with an ankle injury. Just when we thought we were over our injury problems, we get decimated again. It's a big, big blow to the Arsenal.

If you're a pessimist, our chances for success have been shot to pieces and we're better off giving up on the Arsenal. It's time to start chaining ourself to the cannons outside the stadium, go on a hunger strike, or write angry letters to Peter Hill-Wood, in order to force our board buy players in depth to cope with our inevitable injuries. Because it's irritating to have our chances of success repeatedly curtailed by injuries and a thin squad.

If you're an optimist, however, it's still an exciting time. It gives Fabianski and Djourou a chance to cement first-team places. Djourou has shown that he's capable at centre back, and a Djourou-Toure partnership is probably a better fit for the team than Gallas-Toure anyway. He was reliable when partnering Gallas earlier in the season. Fabianski was fairly impressive when he came on against Villareal, and he's a reasonable replacement for Almunia. Almunia's put together a series of capable performances, but the jury's always been out over whether he's good enough to be first choice. I suspect that if Fabianski is solid, we'll see him as our first-team 'keeper next year. And Clichy's injury will give young Kieran Gibbs some valuable first team experience.

It's easy to be pessimistic. I've spent my whole life doing so. If you expect the worst, then everything good can be seen as a stroke of good luck. It's harder to be positive, though. If you place expectations on anything, you run the risk of being disappointed. But it's something you've got to do. The pay-off is much greater. And you're a bit more cheerful anyway.

It's like walking around the city with your eyes on the pavement to avoid being hit by a cream pie. Sure, the odds of getting a faceful of pie are greatly reduced if you look down and walk quickly past the pie-throwers, but you miss out on so much if you do that. Sometimes, it's worth taking the risk of getting hit by a cream pie. I'm not sure if there's a point to this analogy, but I like cream pies. They're hilariously delicious.

Anyway, the dream of a treble is still alive. Man Utd are imploding on the field. Liverpool are imploding off it. Chelsea are karmatically misaligned (too many jerks) to win. Which leaves the Arsenal as the only possible choice for the Premier League. And the Champions League and the FA Cup?

Piece of cake.... or cream pie.

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