By Eros and 1970's Gooner
It seems that Wenger’s decision to let Djourou go out on loan to Birmingham may come back to haunt him.
His thinking was of course admirable. The lad needed games and Premiership experience and at the time it did not look like he was going to get it at Arsenal.
Now a red card picked up by Senderos during the Portsmouth game added to Gallas’s injury two weeks ago has suddenly left the club without a recognised central defender to partner Toure.
And to add insult to injury, as it were, Gilberto has been called up by Brazil for international duty. "Surprisingly" his call up is omitted from the list of players on international duty mentioned on Arsenal’s web site.
Gilberto has proved an adequate deputy in central defence in the past and he did fill in very well when he slotted in next to Kolo Toure due to Senderos’s send off last Sunday.
But Dunga, the ex Brazil star and current Brazil coach has included Gilberto in the list of players for two international friendlies.
The first is to be played this coming Sunday 9th September in Chigaco against the USA and the Wednesday after that on the 12th September in Boston against Mexico.
Gilberto will be accompanied to the States by another two Premiership players, Alex of Chelsea and Elano of Manchester City. Julio Baptista of Real Madrid, the ex Arsenal loan player, is also in the squad.
The full call up is:
Doni, Julio Cesar, Maicon, Daniel Alves, Alex Silva, Lúcio, Juan, Alex , Kleber, Gilberto, Gilberto Silva, Mineiro, Josué Fernando, Elano, Kaká, Julio Baptista, Diego, Ronaldinho Robinho, Vagner Love, Afonso
Gilberto will probably be travelling back to the UK after the Wednesday game but of course distances being what they are he will not be back to base until Friday afternoon with the Spurs kick off the next day at 1.30 pm.
This is because Wednesday in Boston is really early hours of Thursday morning in London. Add to this the time taken to drive to the airport, flying time to London and driving time to get home at St Albans and Gilberto will probably not snuggle into his bed until Friday afternoon.
Wenger has in the past followed a policy of resting players after such long journeys due to the effects of jet lag and fatigue. Will he do it this time?
If he does select him to play will Gilberto be up to the task of performing at his best when he comes up against a Spurs forward line of Berbatov and Keene?
Another way out will be for Arsenal to request that Dunga selects Gilberto only for the first game, against the USA on the Sunday. This arrangement will give him enough time to travel back and get a proper rest before the derby game at White Hart Lane.
We are assuming of course that in the meantime no injuries are suffered either by Gilberto or indeed Toure. The latter is due to play for the Ivory Coast against Gabon in a qualifying match for the African Cup of Nations on Saturday 8th September.
If for whatever reason Wenger needs another central defender to start the Spurs game he does not really have too much choice.
It includes Hoyte who played there once before against Norwich at Carrow Road a few years back when an injury during the warm up deprived Arsenal one of its central defenders. He played well but it was newly promoted Norwich after all.
The other choice would be Sagna who although injured at the moment could be fit for the game. His height and lack of recent exposure in this position would be a concern though.
Diaby, Diarra or Denilson will be fighting for a place alongside Fabregas in the middle of the park.
England will probably never be a world football power