Damage Assessment

Gael Clichy

On the Thursday and Friday following an international break, the club generally goes into damage assessment mode. The question is never, “Is anyone hurt?” But, rather, “Who is hurt, and for how long?” Last month, I posted my recurring international break nightmare. It is also the time to forgot all the “Cesc-to-anywhere-but-Arsenal” stories, which for some reason continue to get Gooners all worked up.

Gael Clichy is out due to an ankle problem sustained while playing for France as is Abou Diaby. Also, Eduardo’s long trip back from Kazakhstan rules him out for Saturday. But, strangely enough, we have more good news than bad at the end of this interlull… strange days, indeed.

Samir Nasri on crutchesFabianski is available after corrective knee surgery and “will be in the squad.” Manuel Almunia is “50-50” for Birmingham, according to Wenger. Samir Nasri was finally back in full training this past week and he has been tentatively scheduled to make his return in the 4th Round of the Carling Cup at home to Liverpool on the 28th.

The return of the keepers is probably the most welcome news. Mannone has done well and I think we can all feel a bit more confident in our 3rd keeper but Almunia and, especially, Fabianski are absolutely essential to the club and we are lucky to have had Mannone take his chance and show the Boss and us his potential.

His shot-stopping was great but like most young keepers, he needs to work on his decision-making; his failure to come for the ball on the first Blackburn goal being the most glaring example. But I have faith that he will have learned alot in his brief spell in the first team and should a recurrence of the situation happen again, I would not be overly concerned about Mannone getting a run of games.

In other news, Arsenal has released an official iPhone app. It costs £2.99 or $4.99 and is available now in the iTunes store. It includes match and interview videos as well as full player profiles and the official news feed from the website.Vito Mannone

Also, Arsenal are restarting their Friday night programming which was originally available on ArsenalTV before the Setanta debacle. It will now be seen on ArsenalTV Online live every Friday night and includes the usual “Arsenal Live” with Dan Roebuck, Stewart Robson, and Ray Parlour at 7pm GMT. That will be followed by a 15-minute “Spotlight.” And then it is capped off with the “Fans’ Forum,” hosted by Tom Watt. For those of us in the States who are not at home at the time of the live broadcast, I think I can say that it would be fantastic if the club archived the episodes so they could be watched later.

Arsenal Station would also like to congratulate Robin van Persie and his wife on their new baby. And, finally, Stan Kroenke has increased his shareholding this past week to 28.9%. Arsenal Station will comment on this development later on in the week.

That’s pretty much it. This post is the equivalent of coming back from a layoff with a light practice session. Arsenal Station had a couple of very interesting guest articles from Ted Harwood and Brett Chase and it’s now time to get back down to business. So it’s Birmingham on Saturday and then off to Holland for the Champions League fixture with Ronald Koeman’s AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday evening. Up the Arsenal!