Joel Campbell has always seeme harshly treated by Arsene Wenger despite showing promise on a regular basis. He wasn’t utilised by Le Boss this season until the weight of injuries forced Wenger to give him a chance. He actually played 11 League games this season, but despite some excellent play and 3 goals he was quickly dropped by Wenger in favour of more obviously out of form players. This is another reason why Arsenal fans have been disgruntled with Wenger this season.
Arsenal may be happy to have the international break coming up for a number of reasons but Arsene Wenger also has a problem coming up when the Arsenal players return from representing their various nations and so the Frenchman may have to ask a big favour of the England national coach Roy Hodgson over his use of Danny Welbeck.
While this international break sees fewer arsenal stars than usual heading off, due to the injury problems of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla and the non-selection of players like Francis Coquelin and Nacho Monreal, we still have plenty of internationally involved players to worry about.
With the Arsenal team that Arsene Wenger selected to face Hull City in the FA cup 5th round match just a few days ago, it was fairly obvious that the Frenchman had one big eye in the Champions League encounter with Barcelona tonight, as he made none changes and rested most of what you would consider to be our best players.
After seeing Arsenal held to a disappointing draw by the Championship side Hull City yesterday, I left the TV in and waited to see what Arsene Wenger would say about the team, the result and the problem of another game to fit in as we head to an FA cup replay.
But the programme finished before the Frenchman emerged from the home dressing room, although his past match comments have now been reported on the Arsenal website, and from what the manager said I assume the extra time in the dressing room was because Wenger was giving his misfiring forward players a piece of his mind.
Even though Arsenal’s opponents this evening have not been the force that most of us thought they would be this season, currently languishing down in 8th place in the Premier League, and they are also having to cope with a massive injury list right now, I do not think Arsene Wenger will be taking any chances.
A game at Anfield can always be a nightmare and even though Arsenal have only lost once on the last seven visits I expect the manager to pick his strongest starting line up even if some of those players have had a tough fixture schedul and started the FA cup win over Sunderland just four days ago.
Towards the end of the FA cup clash between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates stadium, the poor old Black Cats of Sam Allardyce looked like they did not know what day it was. The Gunners were in full flow and could have scored a hatful of goals as the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Joel Campbell, Bellerin, Giroud and all ran rings around the tiring visitors.
But it was not always so comfortable and the Arsenal players had to dig deep into the resources of energy and application after a slow start and a mistake gave Sunderland the lead about halfway through the first half. They had other chances as well, including a header that came crashing off the bar early in the second half.
With Arsenal about to play the second of three Premier League games in the space of a week, and with our reasonably lengthy injury list meaning that the squad options available to Arsene Wenger are a bit limited, it might not be an easy job for the boss.
The last thing the prof needs is to lose any more players and so he will be concerned about overplaying certain key players. That is perhaps why we saw that Mesut Ozil had jetted off somewhere warm for a break both before and after the Man City match.
Arsene Wenger spoke about the Arsenal and Chile star last week and suggested that he and the Arsenal medical team would take the cautious approach with Alexis Sanchez and would not just take the word of the striker that he was fit and ready to play after the hamstring strain that saw him limping off a few weeks ago against Norwich City.
But having said that, Sanchez has shown a number of times that he has an amazing power of recovery and so the news that he was back in training at the start of last week tells me that he will pass any medical tests and be ready to retake his place in the Arsenal starting line up tonight.
Well Arsenal fans we did it! Did you really believe? The players certainly did and I have to give Arsene Wenger full credit for getting the Gunners in the right frame of mind. This result and they way it was done could well give the team a huge boost that sees go from strength to strength in the Premier League as well as the Champions League.
Even after a tough start when Olympiacos put us under real pressure, the players stood firm and never let the hostile atmosphere get under their skin. So once Arsenal had started to take the game under control about halfway through the first half, we never let it go.
After scoring an own goal on the stroke of half time which looked like giving Arsenal the blues against a lower placed team we were expected to blow way for the third Premier League game in a row, the big Frenchman was clearly delighted and relieved to be able to restore our lead with a great piece of movement in the box and a well taken header.