The news is that Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper, may be in doubt for Sunday’s crunch match against West Bromwich Albion, which could make or mar Arsenal’s season and next.
Although fourth place would still be a Champions League position, three factors are contingent.
First, fourth place is a Champions League group stage qualifying spot, and at the end of the day, the team that ends up in fourth place could be knocked out next season and not even qualify for the group stage of Champions League.
Second, fourth place does not even guarantee this knock-out phase; if Chelsea win this year’s Champions League trophy, they’ll replace the team that takes fourth place for next season’s competition.
Third, fourth place for Arsenal to Spurs’ third is an ignominious prospect for Arsenal fans, who want to retain the boasting right as the best and dominant club in North London.
These reasons are why it is very important that Arsenal are able to call upon their best players in this final match. This though isn’t going to happen.
Beside the very important and influential Mikel Arteta, who already is unavailable, Bacary Sagna is also out with a broken leg, sustained in the last home match against Norwich City.
Abou Diaby, who could partner Alex Song in midfield, is also injured and is unlikely to feature. To add salt to injury is the news that Szczesny could be out as well.
Clint Dempsey, seen hitting the turf, is out for Sunday, handing advantage to Spurs over Arsenal.
Metro Sports reports: “The Pole is currently struggling with a back injury and could be replaced by unreliable Gunners no.2 Lukas Fabianski if he can’t prove his fitness in time for Sunday’s clash at the Hawthorns.”
To make matters worse for Arsenal, Fulham, the Spurs’ opponent for Sunday, will be without Clint Dempsey, their influential and goal-scoring forward.
Metro Sports continues:
“The American is struggling with a groin injury while Cottagers manager Martin Jol is also without Bryan Ruiz (foot), Dickson Etuhu (knee) and Steve Sidwell (hernia) on his first return to White Hart Lane.”
To balance things up, though, the Spurs could be without Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, while Ledley King could miss the match as well, due to his nagging knee problem.
The advantage still is with the Spurs, nonetheless, who will play in front of their own fans, while Arsenal will be away from theirs.
What is sure, however, is that if Arsenal don’t concede any goals on Sunday and are able to score at least one themselves, the story will end on a positive note.
As it is, the bad news may not end with the above scenario, the consolation spot, since a loss to Arsenal and victory for both the Spurs and Newcastle United will completely take Arsenal out of the Champions League next season.
In any case, the fact that Arsenal survived last week’s disastrous result is a great reason to be hopeful.