Is it already that time of the season?
—EMD is saying that Guardiola has been asked to choose between Ribery and Silva for our soon-to-be-vacant left wing. Apparently he likes both, but Silva fits the Barca profile better in terms of ball and player movement on the pitch, and being Spanish. Stay tuned for lots more in that shell game. Personally, I’m not sure that my preference sits with either. What say ye?
–Is Keirrison on the move again? The January transfer window is dwindling, and Benfica have made it clear to our recent acquisition that he isn’t in their plans for the coming second half of the season. This means that he can either stay and fight for a place, a losing battle that will undoubtedly end in him having a prime seat to watch Benfica matches, or accept reality and do something else. But he isn’t in our plans, either, making him something of a Flying Brazilian, doomed to roam the earth in search of a nonexistent home. If we still had some Copa matches to play (sighhhh), I’d say bring him home and let’s see what he can do. But the odds of him getting any time with us in our current state, means that even no potential time at Benfica gives him a better shot at pitch time.
–Henry says “Hang on now, the old man ain’t done yet.” The long-standing buzz has been that our Frenchman will flit off to the New York Red Bulls of the MLS at the end of this season. But Henry says “There is nothing concrete being discussed,” and that all he is thinking about is being with us until June, 2011, a reality that is about as likely as me sprouting wings and flying to Barcelona for our next match. He’s gone this summer, the only question is to where?
–This is one of my favorite stories of the day, because it’s just so comprehensively unprovable that it boggles the mind. We have the money to sign Fabregas, and a deal has been reached with the player and the club, even down to when it’s going to happen, the timing, etc. All that remains is to convince Arsenal, and we’re going to throw the bank at them to make that happen. But part of the agreement between Fabregas and us is that everything must be denied, until it is time.
In other words, if he doesn’t come, it’s “Well, he said he wasn’t coming,” but just in case, there’s this pre-existing voodoo agreement in place. Or not. All I know is 50m for a guy who ain’t gonna start for us is festering bullshit. He’s talented, and young, and all that jazz, but 50m? I haven’t seen enough, even in this inflated transfer market, to make him worth my 50m. 30m or so would be a no-brainer.
Stay tuned for the howls from Wenger ….
–Some Barca on Mondays? The LFP have signed off on matches being played on Mondays and Fridays, beginning in February. This doesn’t affect the big four, who have Champions League duty, because a Monday match then a Wednesday CL match would just be absurd.
–Finally, because of the suspension of Keita and the just-coming-backness of Busquets, The Yaya might be named to the squad that will face Gijon this weekend. This is about all from the injury report, except for the strained calf of Dani Alves. Keita, suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards, will not be in the side. But we are getting healthy, with everyone fit, present and accounted for, ready to take on the second half of the season.
Which brings me to luck, and a word about player management. For the second season in a row, we’ve been “lucky” in our injuries, or relative lack thereof compared to other clubs. Look at EE, for example, who have a fairly lengthy list of players who are either knocked, or just coming back from being knocked. Injuries at crucial times can derail a championship hunt, sure as anything. And what I have to wonder, in this second season of “luck,” is are the Fates smiling on us, or is it time to start crediting the training and player treatment structure that has been instituted by Guardiola?
As we all know, he has certain players on special diets, and the club pays special attention to rest, recovery and pre-emptive exercises, all aimed at reducing injuries or the potential for injuries. Usually, when we do have someone injured, they return ahead of schedule. But usually it’s “He’s hurt. No, wait. He’s in the side for the weekend.” 😀 It’s a trend that I like very much, and have to give some credit to our Coach for.
Yes, the Gijon preview is coming, if Isaiah can stop shoving beers down his probably tanned, sun-warmed gullet so that he can write it.