I’m Waiting for Abou

The finish line is now in sight. Seven games and 21 points. Nevertheless, like the woman above, there is a distraction – it’s called Barcelona. The quarter-final draw last Friday took away the attention of some Arsenal players. Thoughts of the Nou Camp, Messi, and a return home for Cesc were obviously on their minds. After going a goal up after five minutes, Arsenal should have really added to their tally and finished off West Ham in the first half.

But they took their foot off the gas and with the referee’s assistance, allowed West Ham back into it. With only 10 men and the odds against them, Arsenal actually started playing with more purpose – thoughts of Barcelona had now vanished.

It will be interesting how Arsenal shape up at St. Andrews on Saturday. Birmingham City are a decent mid-table team, but their current form is patchy. One week they lose, the next they win or draw. Safe from relegation, but out of the cups with only a slim chance of qualifying for the Europa League next season – Birmingham seem to be in an end of season slump.

Saturday’s game has bad history. Just mention the name Eduardo and every Gooner will be wanting revenge. It was a day where not only did Arsenal lose a striker, who was coming into form, but it was also a day where Birmingham cheated to win a last minute penalty that tied a game Arsenal should have won. It was the beginning of the end for Arsenal’s 2008 title challenge and for William Gallas as the captain.

Looming in the background of the Birmingham game will be the Barcelona match the following Wednesday. It will be interesting to see if Cesc plays on Saturday. He will not want to miss playing against his old club. However, resting him will not affect the team as much as resting Vermaelen.

The two positions that Arsenal are weak in – depth wise – is the center-back and center forward.

Lose Vermaelen for the rest of the season and Arsenal are in trouble.

Campbell and Silvestre can only play one game a week. Song can act as cover but will be missed in midfield, while Gallas is injured with no return date.

As for the center-forward position, if Bendtner gets injured we have no target man or beef. His replacement is still a month away from full fitness.

There are big positives, however. Abou Diaby is showing the kind of form that makes you understand why Wenger has offered him a massive pay rise. Clichy is putting in performances of old. On Saturday, he was outstanding. Eboue is now talked of as a player that must start every game, such has been his rise and response from the depths of the Arsenal boo boys.

Abou Diaby, however, is the player that has really grown in stature the most. When he came on as a sub last Saturday, I felt more assured that Arsenal were going to win. His class, just like the woman above, is beginning to show, making me feel more confident in winning difficult games at places like St Andrews.

Keep It Arsenal

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