04 February 2006

Birmingham 0-2 Arsenal

Good news: we won the game -- an away win, no less. Our last-ditch back line kept a clean sheet. Adebayor got his first for Arsenal. Henry got his 200th for Arsenal. And Sol Campbell will be back on Monday. And since Wigan drew with Bolton, Arsenal have crept back up into fifth place.

Bad news: Ivory Coast won, in a penalty shootout. So Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue will remain in Egypt at least until 9 February for the third-place match, if they lose to Nigeria on Tuesday. If they win, they'll stay until 10 February. Either way, I assume they won't play against Bolton on 11 Feb; hopefully they will at least be available for Liverpool on Valentine's Day. Ordinarily I would expect Wenger to rest them until the CL match against Real Madrid on 21 Feb, but I don't know if we can afford to let two defenders remain idle that long.

Also bad: Man United won over Fulham, so they remain 10 points ahead of Arsenal. (Arsenal do have a game in hand.) Tottenham host Charlton tomorrow, and I can't assume they'll drop points from that. Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge tomorrow, and as much as it pains me to admit it, we need Chelsea to win that match. We won't catch the Blues, but catching the Reds is a very realistic goal.

So that's where we're at. Arsenal host Bolton next Saturday, and it will obviously be crucial to take three points from the match. We'll see how long the Sol Campbell saga continues; hopefully he's now right as rain and ready to get stuck in.

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