Szczesny , Hleb & Cesc

*Originally posted 19th April 2011

Good morning!
To say that I am starting to feel positive again about Arsenal would be a total overstatement, but I am at least not feeling quite as bad as I did yesterday and whilst that was pretty bad it certainly wasn’t as terrible as Sunday evening – so perhaps that is progress of sorts?
I think this minor uplifting has something to do with the fact we have a quick return to action, and what fixture could provide atonement better than a North London Derby? It is a victory this team owes not just us but themselves. It is a chance to make up for the 2-3 capitulation in November at the very least and it’s good to see that Wojciech Szczesny recognizes this & has said –

“We owe the fans a result at White Hart Lane”

The Polish goalkeeper who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday has also insisted that Arsene Wenger does not need to sign another goalkeeper, he wants to make the Number one spot his own for many years to come  I totally agree with him. Wenger has often talked about the possibility of our younger players being ‘killed’ in terms of their development if more experienced players are brought in to take their first team places, whilst I think that the boss needs to put the short term ahead of the long term from time to time this is one of the occasions when we need to stick with and put full faith in youth. At the start of the season Szczesny spoke about his determination to break into the side and also how he would be prepared to walk away from the club if those opportunities did not present themselves. Having started the season as the third choice ‘keeper he has surely done enough to be considered automatic first choice. Fortune may have been in his favour, clearing a path to between the posts in the first place but to now relegate him back to the bench would be disappointing to see and may well force him to move on in search of regular first team football.

From a player who defiantly needs to stay to a player who need not come back – Alexander Hleb has been talking of a desire to return to Arsenal. There are a few clear reasons why this should not happen, although I do appreciate that it may well be little more than the player himself trying to get a little bit of attention in the hope of a better move in the summer than a loan to Birmingham City, firstly let us not forget the nature of the Belarusian’s departure – All built around his supposed love of Ice Cream  Secondly, what has he done since leaving? He couldn’t nail down a place in the Barcelona side and has ended up making a few far from sparkling appearances for Birmingham City back in the Premier League this season. I know there were many who were sad to see him go but I don’t think we’ve been attempting to plug a Hleb shaped hole all this time have we? Lastly, the last thing we need is another creative midfield player who can play lovely tippy-tappy football and knock it around the park for fun but fails miserably when required to put up a bit of a fight and dig deep.
And now from a player who need not return to a player who maybe should be off or so says Perry Groves.

I admit I have somewhat mixed views regarding this at the moment, don’t get me wrong I would be gutted to see Cesc leave the club but maybe just maybe now is the time?

We all know what he has achieved at the club by the age of just 23 since making his debut as a 16 year old is quite remarkable and there is no doubting his talent but we also know that he will leave at some point, personally I have always thought it would be after Euro 2012 but maybe now is the time to part ways.
I know Cesc has been struggling with his hamstring this season and that in turn is a result of the amount of football he has been playing for club and country over the last few years, he may not have played in many of Spain’s games but in terms of a complete summer break it is at least four years since he last had one, but I just don’t know if he looks right at the club this season. I mean right in the sense that players like Henry and Vieira after years of being linked with moves away never looked quite at home during their final seasons and we all knew that the time had come to part.
I know that Cesc like Thierry & Pat, and many more who have been and gone, loves the club. I know he is an Arsenal man and I know he continues to give everything he has every time he steps onto the pitch so this is far from me saying I want him to go, I just think we might have reached that point.
I think a telling point is when Cesc admitted in the game against Barca in the Nou Camp, a game in which he was desperate to play in having missed the game there the previous season, he later admitted that he knew after fifteen minutes that he shouldn’t continue but stayed on the pitch until the 72nd minute. but against Blackburn a few weeks ago after saying he was fully fit and having been expected to start the game he stayed on the bench having appaently suggested he wasn’t mentally prepared to play.
I am sure that there is much much more to it and that El Capitan & Le Boss discussed it all and agreed at all points that it was best for the player and the team. I guess we’ll soon see what happens.
Well, there is no Arsenal press conference ahead of the derby which seems odd – it would be a great opportunity for the boss and the players to produce what may well be one last rallying cry.
United play Newcastle tonight at the ‘Fat Mike loves burgers @ St James’s Park’, I don’t expect it to finish 4-4 but as Arsenal fans are well aware far stranger things can happen in football.
Here is a little further reading, a great article by Henry Winter which really sums up why Wenger needs to change the record. As Big Dave said in the comment section of yesterdays blog Arsene is starting to really make himself and us look stupid.
Thanks for reading…
Up The Arsenal!



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