Apr 072008

With the trip to Anfield tomorrow concluding the unlikely threesome of games over the past six days, the major concern is once again the players on the treatment table. Van Persie is doubtful, so Adebayor will probably have to run his socks off up front on his own again. Rosicky, meanwhile, is likely to be out for the season, hardly a surprise, especially as he is a player who needs four or five games to get up to speed, but a disappointment nonetheless.

On the one hand, as Wenger claims, you can say that had we not suffered this spate of injuries, we’d be doing much better:

“The turning point was losing Eduardo when we were already without Van Persie and Rosicky. If we’d had everybody available we would still have been top of the table.”

Which is all very well, but can you name a Premiership side who don’t have first team players out at this stage of the season? Besides, Rosicky is injury prone, and while Van Persie is just being unlucky, having three players missing is hardly a crisis. It just exposes the thinness of the squad.

There is no doubt that, as with last season, there will be calls for mass spending, but again Wenger is unlikely to bring in more than two or three names, which in all honesty is fine. The first XI are good enough, they just need some backup and competition for their places. That doesn’t mean signing superstars, it just means augmenting cleverly, which is what the boss does best. But we’ll leave that to the summer.

Right now, we need to get past Liverpool, and for that to happen, tiring legs need to stretch themselves once again. After that, they can have a break, possibly even starting against United at the weekend. Yes, it’s a trip to Old Trafford, but you have to prioritise, and a possible Champions League semi is more important than league pride when the battle has already been lost.

If we go out tomorrow night, the priority changes to finish at least second in the league, to avoid a Champions League qualifier next season. With Chelsea then in a semi (assuming they get there), sandwiched around a Premiership match against United, they’ll have a similar run to the one we’re on now, making them very catchable.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though. I’d much rather we knocked Chelsea out of Europe ourselves.

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