Arsenal: Injury Woes, FA Cup Draw and Trio Immortalized with Statues

Toni Okike@@enigma106Senior Analyst IIDecember 8, 2011

Arsenal’s last Champions League group stage fixture was a contest that was filled up with many moments that will dwell in the minds of football fans for a short while at least. It unveiled a part of the good ol’ Lukasz Flappyhandski we all knew, more putrid football from Andrey Arshavin, a classic comedy moment from Vito Mannone, a brilliant technical volley from Yossi Benayoun and most importantly, more injury worries for Arsene Wenger.

The Greeks needed the game more than their illustrious counterparts from England, so they fought really hard to win every ball and be on the end of every tackle. Fabianski received a nasty gash to his knee following a clash with Thomas Vermaelenas as early as the 25th minute, and he was replaced soon after by Vito Mannone.

However, he calmed everyone one’s nerves by saying that he’ll be fine (via Goalkeeper Magazine):

I think I am fine, it’s just a really deep cut. It was really unlucky but hopefully all the ligaments in my knee should be OK. Hopefully nothing will come out tomorrow or in the next couple of days.

Arsenal’s Andre Santos wasn’t as fortunate as Fabianski, because he has suffered an ankle injury, and he’ll be sidelined for a while, according to BBC. With Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson still out of action, Wenger will have to go back to the drawing board, and it seems as if Arsenal might play Everton this weekend with four recognized center backs.

Thomas Vermaelen will probably be deployed to the left flank while Laurent Koscielny will partner Per Mertesacker in the middle. Johan Djourou will continue in the right back position. Another player in contention for a possible start is the youngster Ignasi Miquel, and he recently spoke of his pride in making his Champions League debut for Arsenal.

Still sticking with tidbits from the Olympiakos game, Fabianski has credited Olympiakos’ desire to win the game while Arsene Wenger has labeled the defeat as a good lesson, according to The Guardian:

It was cruel the way we have been left out of the next phase because in the last five minutes we thought Dortmund were winning the game. We can’t talk about justice in football, just success at the right time. The good thing is we fought until the very last moment.

I actually had some sympathy for Olympiakos when I learned about the score line in Germany, but I couldn’t hide my elation on Twitter following the way both clubs from Manchester United stormed their way into the Europa League. The climax of it all was a tweet from a Mikel Arteta fan page directed at Samir Nasri: @MikelArteta08: “Have fun playing in the Europa League @samnasri19, great way to get that Ballon D’Or you’re after.”

The draws for the FA Cup are out and the pick of the bunch will certainly be the Manchester Derby in the Etihad Stadium. Arsenal got drawn against a side that almost embarrassed them when they locked horns last season, Leeds United.

In a day where Wojciech Szczesny talked about his hatred for the pink goalkeeping kit, Leeds’ Robert Snodgrass scored a goal that would have been enough to put the Peacocks in the headlines as giant killers, but a Cesc Fabregas penalty late on paved the way for a replay at Elland Road.

In the replay at Elland Road, the captain of the night, Samir Nasri, opened the scoring when he used his left leg to bring the ball forward, shoved off a challenge and placed the ball past Kasper the friendly ghost. Bacary Sagna launched a surface-to-goal rocket to make it 2-0. Lee scored a screamer to reduce the deficit, but Robin van Persie headed in the match clincher.

The FA Cup was the last trophy Arsenal won eons ago, and the memories of that faithful triumphant evening are fading with passing trophy-less campaigns.

Arsenal was formed in 1886, and the club has decided to mark its 125th anniversary in grand style by unveiling statues of one of its greatest football managers, one of its most dedicated and loyal servants and its greatest goal scorer, according to The Telegraph.

Sir Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry are candidates that are worth honoring with monuments. Sir Chapman managed Arsenal from 1925 to 1934, achieving legendary status at the club with the way he handled the team off the pitch as well as the trophies he won on it.

Tony Adams served Arsenal from 1983 to 2002, winning four league titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, three Community Shields and one Cup Winners Cup. He made 672 appearances for Arsenal in total and scored 48 goals.

Thierry Henry is one of the greatest forwards to ever grace the Premier League and world football, and he still holds the goal-scoring records for both club and country. He scored 226 goals and made 92 assists in 369 games for the Gunners. He also scored 51 goals in 123 caps for the French National Team. A statue has already been erected in his honor.

Sir Chapman won’t be around to see his monument, but Henry and Adams will probably grace the Emirates this weekend in the ceremony before the kickoff against Everton.

With Robin van Persie’s amazing goal-to-game ratio that currently stands at 113 goals in 251 games, a Statue of Liberty replica will probably be constructed when he hangs his boots after giving Arsenal the best years of his career.

That’s if he agrees to sign a new deal this summer, though.



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