Slowly some of those long standing absences are working their way back into the Arsenal squad and not a moment too soon. The latest update has Kieran Gibbs ready and available for next week’s Arsenal Champions League first leg against AC Milan if Wenger so desires. Thomas Vermaelen stuck at left back might finally get some relief and relocate to his more familiar centre back role with Laurent Koscielny.
Bakary Sagna also came back last week and it was good to see his strong, active self introduced against Bolton although against Blackburn last weekend it was Francis Coquelin doing the honours on the right channel. Carl Jenkinson should also be available next week and Abou Diaby (remember him?) is expected back by the end of the month. Andre Dos Santos is slated for a mid March comeback.
Jack Wilshere’s rehab seems to be going smoothly and the midfielder is hoping he can get to see a good part of the remainder of the season. He will be a refreshing addition to the midfield with Aaron Ramsey looking burned out. Which brings us to the always vexatious question of whether like Theo Walcott before, now Wilshere, and possibly Alex Oxlade Chamberlain in the future, of injuries through overexposure stymieing their full potential.
Wenger talked about putting the brakes on the Ox’s appearances capping it at 25 appearances. But with his performance against Blackburn, the teenage phenom appears to be fast tracked to the national team which could potentially overload his participation by an extra 20 games. There is another reason for bringing him on slowly and Arseblog talks a lot about potential nipped in the bud by swollen head syndrome. Think David Bentley.
With a name like Bentley, it was always going to be downhill, from the cusp of regular national appearances, to Blackburn and White Hart wasteland (that was a waste of £15 million good ones), and now on loan to West Ham and cheese with Sam Allardyce. Bentley like Tim Treadwell thought he was indestructible after one Bergkampesque goal inducing Treadwellian like delusions.
There is a reason to bring Ox on slowly, through a mentoring process, and to shut down the media hype that has them comparing him to Rooney, to Bergkamp, and to the man on the silver mountain. It is the David Bentley parable.
On the downside, Emmanuel Frimpong, whose Wolves loan has been an injury disaster is lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL that will keep him out most likely till September. Nicklas Bendtner is out till the end of February with a repetitive facepalm injury (snark) after missing his twelfth goal opportunity for Stoke.