Quite often with Arsenal, when you hear rumours about an injury lay off, it usually results in the reality being much worse than feared.
Rumours of a three week lay off = out for six weeks
Hearing about a month out = three out.
Possibility of a return before Christmas = Christmas 2016.
So it is with some caution that I approach the subject of talking about a possible return for Koscienly for this weekend, as well as Alexis within the next few weeks and at least back for the City game, because we’ve heard it before and we’ve been disappointed before.
Instead, I will try to fill my day with things that will try to make me forget that we’re likely to get news about Alexis, Koscienly and Cazorla today, or at the very least tomorrow when Arsène delivers his team news to the official site.
We need to be planning for this weekend’s game without them, for which some major shuffling of the team is in order for the manager, because in all likelihood we’ll be seeing a very different team to the one that started the season. No Walcott, Alexis, Ramsey moved centrally, Cazorla and Le Coq gone, with Arsène needing to use the full compliment of his squad. However, rather than mire myself in the disappointment of injuries, I’m trying to be positive about the opportunities it might provide us to see something new. Like Ramsey centrally, alongside Flamini, for example. I read an article by Aidan Gibson the other day which afforded me such excitement. It was on The Short Fuse and I’d definitely recommend it. What Aidan was getting at in his piece was about the opportunity to see a better Arsenal with Ramsey moved centrally alongside Flamini (or potentially Coquelin down the line) and it struck a chord with me. It did so because we’ve been playing a certain way for some weeks and haven’t really been getting anywhere. But now, through enforcement of change due to injuries, we find ourselves in a position where the manager has to change and who knows, he might just find a winning formula.
Ramsey has energy and drive and, with licence to move forward in a central position more, he may rediscover some of his scoring form we saw from a couple of years ago. His late arrival in to the box two years ago was very Lampardesque, if you’ll pardon such a comparison with a Chelski player, but if similarities can be found from a goalscoring perspective then we’ll all be happy.
With more energy through the middle and (fingers crossed) a less gung-ho Flamini, it may just reignite the flame of 2013/14 Rambo that we’ve missed of late, whilst also allowing othe players out wide to flourish. The Ox, for example, will get more game time to prove he’s worthy of being a regular starter. To say his form has been patchy this season is perhaps a slight understatement. He’s been poor or very quiet at times, but injury hasn’t helped that and he’s been in and out of the team. Much like Campbell’s situation, he’ll find himself in a position where he’s now going to at least get three or four games in from the start, so he needs to show he can do it.
Sunderland at home this weekend should be a good opportunity for the players to build a bit of confidence ahead of the Olympiakos game (yes I know I said ‘Olympiacos’ yesterday, but I’ll be devilled if I know which one is the right spelling, so I figured I’d just randomly alternate!), then an away trip to Villa. It should be a chance for those players to ease in to their new roles. Or in Rambo’s case, a new ‘old’ role. His is a case of reacquaintence.
I saw some of the chatter online that Chambers is playing in the defensive midfield role for the Under-21s, which makes sense, but I suspect there will come a time where we need to see him in first team action a bit more before he’s ready for it. It’s a tricky one because we don’t really have any games in which we can ‘test’ players out, because league and Champions League are important, but he’ll only get so far by playing games at the Under-21 level. I hate ‘Catch 22’s. They really are the pits, don’t you know.
It’s why still being in the Capital One Cup would have been useful, but that’s all in the past and we have to make do, so perhaps we should console ourselves in the memory that Christmas last year we were given the gift of Coquelin. Maybe this Christmas we’ll get the gift of Chambers.