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RVP news is bad, but needn’t be fatal

IN THIS piece I had been intending to take a general look at where Arsenal stand on the pitch right now.

One of the things I’d been planning on looking at last was how we looked up front. But given Robin Van Persie’s injury sustained for Holland last night, it’s where I’ll start.

The simple question is: If he is out for a long time, can we cope?

My answer would have to be: well you’d hope so.

Two reasons. Firstly, Eduardo, though prone to his own fitness worries, is a top class striker. Bendtner, though out for a little, is maturing into one too.

You can argue neither is perfectly suited to the role of lone spearhead, but I can’t see how either were less suited than RVP to it before he’d been given a chance there. Each, I think should be able to adapt with at least some success.

The second reason is that while his contribution of late has obviously been very impressive, RVP was hardly carrying the team. Not only have the goals been flying in from all corners, but we’ve got plenty of other classy players to fill the positions on the wings.

Put bluntly, it’s not like when the midfield had to cope without Cesc for so long last season.

So that’s my view on the attack: we’ve got a wonderful spread of options and going for a spell without two or even three of RVP, Eduardo, Bendtner, Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky, Walcott, Vela and Wilshere need not and has not proven terminal.

Further back in the field, questions remain.

If that sounds unduly negative, it shouldn’t. It’s simply that certain questions have not been asked yet.

The questions that have been asked and answered in the affirmative appear to be: Was Cesc well rested? Was Song’s improvement permanent? Does Vermaelen’s signing nail the lie Arsene can’t spot good defenders? Will Gallas be able to get back on track?

That’s all good news. The one bit of bad news is that the question as to whether Manuel Almunia is established as a decent, if not world beating, option has to be answered in the negative. A combination of factors that need no dredging up has resulted in a scenario where poor goalkeeping has cost us more goals this season than we’d have liked.

It’s one thing when our attacking instincts leave us exposed at the back but it’s another when pure bad keeping is to blame.

So what of those unanswered questions I alluded to? Simply, they are how would we cope were Silvestre or Senderos called upon for a lengthy period of time and how will a team without Alex Song cope? (I can’t believe I just wrote that!)

They are two questions that thankfully we haven’t yet had to answer.

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