As we all wait with baited breath on the injury to Mkhitaryan, my mind has already started to shift to tomorrow’s game against Southampton and wonder what happens if our Armenian has suffered the suspected medial ligament damage that Arsene spoke about immediately after the game on Thursday night, then it really will be a race against time for us to get him fit for the semi final, because having done a wee bit of googling on damage to the medial ligaments it looks like you’re talking anything from three to 12 weeks. If it’s a really bad one then his season is basically done given we’re in April now and watching him hobble off on Thursday didn’t look good. From where I was stood in block five by the time he got round to us where we were clapping, he wasn’t even clapping the fans back, he was just looking at the ground and you could clearly see he was gutted. Hopefully he’ll be ok. If he’s due for a spell on the sidelines he can always entertain himself in other ways, like visiting 1xbet review.
We’ll probably get some form of answer after the Southampton game on Sunday but I have a bad feeling about this. Even if he’s out for three week’s he’ll miss the first leg of the Europa League which takes place on Thursday 26th April and with Aubameyang also not available due to the poxy UEFA rules, it will put more pressure on the likes of Ozil and Lacazette to perform and be the creative outlet.
What Mkhitaryan’s injury also shows is just how close we are to being severely limited as a team. We aren’t blessed with a raft of players in fine form and also with the kind of ability that Ozil, Laca, Mkhi and Auba bring to the team and should any more players pick up knocks – and lets not forget this is the time in the season where players get injured due to the number of games played, etc – then it won’t be long before we’re looking threadbare.
It’s why games like Sunday are so tricky. Arsene will want to keep momentum but when you’ve got a few key players like Ramsey, Ozil, Laca, Mkhi, etc, all doing the lion’s share of the end product, it is perfectly understandable to want to protect them. In a way I’ve been thinking that had we scored a few more in midweek against CSKA it could have given Arsene even more of a buffer in protecting the players and deciding who can do with an extended leave of absence so we’re properly ready for a semi final should we progress next Thursday. There’s probably an element here of me being a little too protective of players I know; we watch football for the best players, not to have them sitting on the sidelines when fit, but when it gets to the stage in the season where everything rides on one or two games you kind of start thinking about those games only and not the ones in between.
There’s a balance to be struck and we’ll see what Arsene goes with tomorrow.
Ospina being out for two to three week’s is also an interesting one because in three week’s it’s the semi final and so I just wonder if this will be an opportune moment to play the ‘consistency’ card and keep the Czech stopper in for the remainder of the campaign. If i’m not mistaken I believe Ospina’s contract is up in the summer and so he’ll clearly be moving on if that’s true. So despite the fact Cech is in the autumn of his career, he’s still the person we can all expect to be at the club when the first competitive ball is kicked in August. He’s also the better ‘keeper and as we get closer to a potential cup final then we want our best players in every position.
Back to Southampton though and it appears that the horrendous character that is Mark Highes is talking up how Southampton will be ready for Arsenal tomorrow. I suspect he’s right in that we won’t see as appalling a performance as they gave against West ham but with our league games tending to feel like one heck of a grind, it wouldn’t surprise me the slightest if tomorrow’s afternoon kick off is a real dull-fest. Southampton will have seen what Stoke did and know that if they can be compact and frustrate Arsenal then there are potential points to be had and with rotation surely to be in Arsene’s mind tomorrow, I suspect we’ll get another game in which we feel like we’ve aged a few year’s by the end of the 90.
Hopefully though we can still get the win and i’ll have a look at that game in a little more detail tomorrow in the usual match preview from me. Until then I think i’ll take my leave and speak to you all tomorrow.
Peace out homies.