This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney
Alexander Hleb – remember him? The one time Arsenal man – who moved to Barcelona in the summer – has found time to speak about his former club. In particular, he has had words of praise for new signing Andrei Arshavin.
Shouldn’t he be concentrating on all things Barcelona, I hear you ask! Well, he would do, but to put it politely, he isn’t getting a look in at the Nou Camp. Since moving from Arsenal last year he hasn’t played nearly as much football as he would have liked. Many Gunners may find the following phrase appropriate – ‘I told you so.’
In my opinion, Hleb should never have left Arsenal. He was playing regular football, was part of a team that suited his style of play and most importantly he seemed settled. Despite this, he jumped shipped to Barcelona and if his latest comments are anything to go by – he is regretting it.
Hleb says that he is desperate ‘for more time on the pitch’ and will do all he can do ‘fight for a place in the team’ between now and the end of the season. The problem being that Barcelona are top of the league by a mile and are playing some excellent football at present. Thus decreasing Hleb’s first team chances in the next couple of months.
So, what does the future hold for him? Well, he has admitted that he will ‘see what might happen in the summer’ because he isn’t willing to sit on the sidelines for two seasons on the trot. Maybe you should have stayed at the Emirates then Mr Hleb? I’d be interested to see if he would consider a move back. Would you take him?
Anyway, onto more immediate matters that Hleb has been discussing. He says that Arsenal’s new signing Andrei Arshavin will suit the ‘style of the team’ and that the Russian will prove to be ‘a success’ in the Premier League. Overall, Hleb strongly believes that Arshavin will ‘enjoy his time at Arsenal’.
Speaking of Arshavin, he is all set to make his debut for the club in this weekend’s game with Tottenham. Let’s talk a bit about this eagerly anticipated 144th North London Derby.
First things first – it is a must win for Arsene Wenger’s men. In terms of points to secure a 4th placed finish, in terms of confidence for the rest of the season and in terms of condemning Spurs deeper into the relegation mire – this is a must win game.
Nothing other than three points will do. Some people may consider a draw to be a decent result, but not for me. A similar performance as the wins over Manchester United and Chelsea please Arsenal. Let’s make sure that Arshavin gets off to a winning start so that the team can finish the season strongly.
As far as team news is concerned, Arshavin is included in the squad and could well start the game. Elsewhere, Emmanuel Eboue is fit but Abou Diaby is banned. For Tottenham, Robbie Keane is set to captain the side on his return from Liverpool.
Whatever players are in an Arsenal shirt on Sunday though, they must show the fans how much they care about this game and they must prove that they have what it takes to claw back Aston Villa in the race for 4th place.