By Avenell Dave
In the big scheme of things, beating Stoke is something we should absolutely expect to do each and every season.
The fact that the result was in any doubt confirms how serious our injury problems have become and when the side was announced without even off-form Eduardo, it showed how stretched our young squad has become.
Much has been said already about how good Andrey Arshavin played, and his finish for the first goal was superb in its execution.
But he also missed two clear and straightforward chances and we can’t afford to do that in games against sides with any sort of quality.
Strikers like Fernando Torres, who will be back next week just in time to play us, I expect, just don’t miss chances like that and we’re not secure enough at the back to be able to afford profligacy.
The withdrawal of Tomas Rosicky, Manu Eboue and Armand Traore is going to stretch us even more and means even fewer of our experienced players will be available for our Olympiakos game on Wednesday.
Is that such a bad thing?
Let’s give as many of the team a night off as possible.
I don’t want to see another humbling like we did at Middle Eastlands last week but if Arséne Wenger is right and players learn more in one Champions League game than a trio of Carling Cup matches, it could be so valuable for the youngsters.
One things is for sure, especially with Philippe Senderos looking to leave in January, that Kyle Bartley needs to start being assimilated into the first team – while everyone focuses on the problems we have in attack, one serious injury to William Gallas or Thomas Vermaelen with Johann Djourou pretty much out for the season and we are in deep trouble. Mikael Silvestre just doesn’t cut it.
Wenger talks about this being one of the worst injury crises he has ever encountered, but the fact is, RvP has never played a full season and neither has Rosicky. Even Theo Walcott is turning into a perennial crock.
We have some fragile players, many over-used players who then become prone to injury and we have players such as Eduardo whose body has suffered such trauma that you wonder if he too will ever recover to play consistently.
Is it down to the medical staff? The size of the squad being unable to cope with the rigour of a fixture-intensive English season? Or are we just not doing our homework well enough to find robust players who rarely miss a game.
I feel for Rosicky and I know how good a player he can be, but unless we sign him to a pay as you play deal, is it really worth offering him a new deal when his current contract runs out next summer?
As a post script, I was delighted to see Citeh beat the Ch*vs on Saturday and even more enjoyed the abuse Ad*b*y-whore took in the pub during the game.
But are we deluding ourselves to think we have a chance of the title? Are the Ch*vs really going to suffer the inconsistency we have endured? Aren’t Citeh a bigger threat to us since their pursuit of a Champions League place is a serious one.