Jack Wilshere was set for a return mid February setting the medical world abuzz with his miraculous return. Then he suffered a stress fracture in the same ankle during training and now the story is he's lost for the rest of the season or at least a good portion of it. This is so quintessential Arsenal we have come to expect it. Waiting for Godot.
With Aaron Ramsey showing battle fatigue and a loss of edge, the debate has shifted to whether the midfield will be better served with Andrey Arshavin at center rather than out on the wings where he frankly looks lost. Playing in the hole requires some holding capabilities to reset and recycle the attack and so far Arshavin has looked incapable of protecting the ball. At this point Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta make for better options.
Which brings us to the good news part. The Spaniard will be available for today's FA Cup tie against Villa. The better news is we could see both Bakary Sagna and Francis Coquelin back from injury, providing sorely needed coverage on both flanks which is great news because we can shift Thomas Vermaelen to his normal centre back pairing with Laurent Koscielny. Just in time to stop the dangerous Darren Bent.
Aston Villa also went the Thierry Henry route to get Robbie Keane on a two month loan from the MLS. The former Premiership journeyman provided an instant impact scoring a brace in their win against Wolves. The Villans also have Gabby Agbanlahor with the
winger scoring goals at a steady clip testing both channels. In general, consistent goalscoring has been a problem for them but they meet Arsenal at a very low point going through a protracted goal scoring drought themselves. Thierry Henry has also been declared fit and could come off the bench should Arsenal need a Leeds type of boost. And of course, Wenger also has the Ox who could build on his growing reputation.
By the way, what does it say when Jermaine Pennant looks better than Theo Walcott? Here is an insight into how underwhelming Arsenal are nowadays. Consider the team that won the 2005 FA Cup.
Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Senderos, Cole, Gilberto, Vieira, Fabregas, Pires, Bergkamp, Reyes.
Not bad. Today's squad should in likelihood be Szcz- Sagna- Vermaelen- Kosicielny- Coquelin - Song- Arteta- Ramsey- Walcott- Ox- RVP.