By Avenell Dave
I guess we’ll know in the next week or two whether Arsene Wenger’s gamble has paid off – but at least there’s some good news for us Addicts this evening.
After pummeling Egypt for much of the second half of the African Cup of Nations quarter-final this afternoon, Cameroon became the second big name to go out of the tournament.
Two goals in quick succession by Egypt, the second being awarded by the referee when it blatantly didn’t cross the line, have ended Alex Song’s involvement in the competition.
He looked a class above in many games, it has to be said, but the standard of the competition has been awful, with air kicks on a regular basis and mis-placed passing that makes Francis Coquelin’s indifferent performance against Stoke on Sunday (for which I bear no grudge) look positively stellar.
Song certainly won’t be available for Wednesday night, especially after playing 120 minutes this evening, but he should be available for Manchester United on Sunday and that is a huge boost to the club with midfielders getting injured at the rate of about one a game recently.
After the indifferent display Denilson put in at Stoke, I think many of us cannot wait to see Song back in an Arsenal shirt – and with Darren Fletcher likely to put himself about next Sunday, Cesc Fabregas is going to need a minder – and Song can be that man!
The other good news is that Manu Eboue is back as well, after the Ivory Coast also went out last night.
If Bacary Sagna is struggling, at least that gives us another option at the back or even in midfield.
So things don’t look all that bad after all for Arsene Wenger, even if he does need a new striker.
Of course, getting our players back a bit early doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s ridiculous that we lose them at all during the domestic season.
FIFA have suggested they may change the rules on call-ups so players only have to go once every four years – but even that’s too much for me.