Medals Collect Dust

– I was surprised that Arsenal contested Vermaelen’s red card against West Ham. Sure, I felt it was harsh, but you can’t say there wasn’t contact, however slight it was. I was worried that we’d get another game tacked on the original one match ban if we failed in our appeal. Thankfully, that didn’t occur, even though the red card stood. Perhaps if you appeal against a violent conduct three match ban, the FA will add another game onto the ban. Anyway, we know now, Vermaelen will be out against Birmingham, but just that game.

– Birmingham seem to be slightly off form, but they have a sturdy defense and are capable of springing a surprise. They are lacking in motivation though, as safety is assured and Europe is probably just out of reach. It is an away fixture, and our minds will be on Barcelona (try as they might to ignore it, but that’s just the truth). It will be a difficult match.

– I pay very little attention to articles predicting where the Premier League title will end up, but I read most of them anyway. Lee Dixon predicted Arsenal to finish 2nd behind United. That’s a good man, no need in publicly jinxing our team. Most people expect United to run away with it, and while their fixtures are easier than Chelsea’s, I see matches that will give them a difficult time. There is very real pressure on all three teams to win every single match. This is a real title race.

– I expect Wenger to rest Sol for Birmingham, draft Silvestre into the side, and play Alex Song at CB. Wenger knows that Sol cannot play two matches a week, and he’ll want him ready for Barcelona.

– Sol has made four appearances in the Premier League for us this year. He needs to get to ten in order to get a medal if we win the Premier League. With Gallas due to return (hopefully), the chances of him getting to that number appear slim. Martin Keown famously choked Wenger playfully during the end of the 03-04 season when it seemed as though Wenger was not going to sub him into a game. He knew that those appearances would give him the ten appearances he needed. That year, we had the title in the bag, and such courtesy will not be lent to Sol Campbell. But, who cares about medals? It’s lifting the trophy that’s the most important thing. Medals are locked away in closet and frequently given away by true winners. If we emerge as Champions, Sol will know he’s played a vital part in making that happen. That’s far more important than some medal.

– Likewise, Carlos Vela and Armand Traore are stuck on eight appearances each. The latter has regressed to the point where he might not feature again, and Vela has been in and out of the side. Their hopes for a medal should not be considered, unless perhaps we’re winning by 8 goals against a side.

– On a short note about Barcelona, Lionel Messi was absolutely incredible against Zaragoza the other night. The second goal was stupendous, and if you watch closely, you’ll notice that every dribble was a clean one. He meant every single element of it. He’s astonishing. I have some ideas on how to stop him, and English sides have done okay to nullify his threat to a degree. But on current form, he’s showing why he’s the World Player of the Year, undisputed.

– Despite their position in the league, I believe Portsmouth will give Chelsea a good fight today. We’ll see if it’ll be enough though for Chelsea to drop points.

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