Arsenal: More Injury Woes, 2012/13 Fixtures out and Euro 2012 Roundup

Toni OkikeSenior Analyst IIJune 18, 2012

KHARKOV, UKRAINE - JUNE 17:  Dejected Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay of Netherlandsafter defeat in the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Portugal and Netherlands at Metalist Stadium on June 17, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

I had a scary dream where I saw Arjen Robben supplying a through ball for Robin van Persie in the 93rd minute, but Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman shot the ball right at Huntelaar’s face instead of the goal. At that point in time, Holland was 2-1 up and they needed that goal to qualify, but van Persie opted for Huntelaar’s nose instead of a gaping goal.

In the post-match interview, van Persie stated Huntelaar unveiled that Arsenal was linked with him and he was odds on to replace him at the Emirates, a bit of info van Persie didn’t take very well I guess.

Switching back to reality, it’s really awkward to know that two years ago, the Netherlands was 90 minutes away from winning the World Cup. Yesterday, a team that had a large chunk of that 2010 World Cup squad became the most under performing Dutch side since the days Attila ruled the Huns.

Bert van Marwijk had to go for broke against Portugal with a simple incentive: score two goals against Portugal, hope for the worst against Denmark and Bob’s your uncle.

The egotistical chums in the form of Rafael van der Vaart and Klass-Jan Huntelaar were handed chances to prove why they didn’t deserve to be benched. The former proved his mettle with a sweetly curled effort that put his side on the driving seat, while the latter was as peripheral as a ghost in white surroundings.

Holland’s defense was very shambolic and Cristiano Ronaldo killed his demons to produce a stellar performance for his nation. The Portuguese star bagged himself a brace and clipped the post twice.

Shortly after the debacle, Robben has stated that unrest undermined his team’s campaign.

In my opinion, Van Marwijk got his tactics right in his first game against Denmark, but Lady Luck wasn’t on his side as his team kept spurning chances as they came. His team came up against a tactical astute and efficient German side that were clinical with their chances.

He buckled under some pressure to tweak his starting line-up to include what seemed like his best attacking side but people like Robben continued his selfish play, much to the detriment of his team. Nigel de Jong was overrun in midfield, Wesley Sneijder was out of position and it’s fair to say that the van Persie-Huntelaar combo was very atrocious.

Elsewhere, Your Royal Cockiness, Nicklas Bendtner, crashed out with his Danish teammates after their loss to Lukas Podolski’s Germany. However, Bendtner found himself in more hot soup as he was fined a whooping £80,000 by UEFA for showing off his Paddy Power pants after scoring against Portugal. 

To add to Bendtner’s misery, he was also banned for one international fixture by Europe’s football governing body.

Like Robin van Persie, Bendtner has a long summer to sort his future out with the club and we can only fold our arms and see what route the Great Dane is going to take. He’ll probably be below Lukas Podolski in the pecking order and the potential arrival of Olivier Giroud certainly won't help his cause.

He had a great European Championships by his standards and I’m pretty sure that a few European predators out there will want a cocky beanpole forward that wears pink boots and shows off his undies when he scores. 

If he could show off his pants for scoring a brace against Portugal, only the good Lord knows what he’ll do if he scores the match winner in a Champions League final.

Still sticking with news from Euro 2012, two Gunners are scheduled to have spells on the sidelines with their teams still active in the competition. Czech Republic’s captain and star player, Tomas Rosicky, has gone back to Prague to treat his Achilles tendon injury that has been a problem for him throughout the tournament.

Czech Republic’s manager, Michal Bilek, has declared that Rosicky is “irreplaceable” but the Czechs will have to make do without their captain, as they gear themselves up to take on Portugal in the quarterfinals.

Theo Walcott is also doubtful to start England’s game against Ukraine. He quit a training session when he picked up a hamstring injury. A concerned Woy Hodgson had this to say:

“Unfortunately Theo had a slight setback in training, and that’s the major concern with him. He felt the hamstring that, of course, kept him out for so long at the end of last season and we were slightly concerned about that when he came to us. But we’ve been lucky that nothing occurred with that [since then].

We had to take the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt a slight tightness there.”

Walcott made a real difference when he came off the bench against Sweden to make a cameo appearance that paid dividends. He scored a lovely goal and provided the assist for a splendid Danny Welbeck finish.

England will take on co-hosts Ukraine while France will lock horns with Sweden. Both sides will want to take top spot to avoid a duel with defending champions, Spain, in the quarterfinals.

To wrap it all up, the Barclay’s Premier League fixtures for the 2012/13 season are out. Arsenal raises its Premier League curtains with a home tie against Sunderland, a match that brings fond memories about Robin van Persie. Many will hope that he’ll be the one to lead the Gunners on August 18, but if he doesn’t, the world as we know it won’t come to an end.

After reviewing the fixtures, I’m a bit concerned about Arsenal’s run of matches in January 2014, as Arsene Wenger’s men take on Manchester City (H), Chelsea (A), Liverpool (H) and Stoke (H). There’ll also be a potential Capitol One semifinal as well as a FA Cup Fourth Round fixture as well.

Notwithstanding, it’s good to know that we’ll be bracing ourselves for another exciting Premier League campaign.