It will certainly solve one injury headache for Harry if Rafael van der Vaart comes back into the squad for Sunday’s game against Arsenal and the Dutchman himself has claimed that he is winning his battle to regain full fitness.

VDV has been missing since limping out of the 3-1 win over Wigan at the end of last month but he told the Independent today that he expects to be fit for Sunday.

“I’m recovering well from my injury,” he said.

“I expect to be joining the team training next Wednesday after which I will start to focus on the match against Arsenal. I’ll be happy to play Arsenal. I can’t wait.”

If VDV is ready then it could raise the question as to who makes up our first choice front line. That would obviously depend on Ade’s fitness but does Harry go with Ade and VDV as a default choice or has Saha done enough to warrant a start? Does Defoe come into the picture?



  1. That is just the point – Saha may warrant “a start”, but you don’t want to be over using him – just in case. Defoe never warrants first choice action – unless he is in 18 goals a season mode (once in his Premiership career). So by deduction, VDV is in our first choice line-up.

  2. Doubt VdV will start given that he’s just coming back from (another) calf injury. Probably keep it tight with either Ade or Saha up front on their own for 60 mins then bring on VdV. Expect us to play 2 holding midfielders, Scotty and Sandro. The rest of the team picks itself.
    What’s the gooners team gonna look like? They got some injuries too

  3. I’d like to start with Saha, enjoyed 4-4-2 against Newcastle, great start for an Ade/Saha partnership. Surprised he played in the cup, at the time was not sure what that meant for a possible derby place.

    Like TonyRich said – no chance for Defoe. Off the bench at best.

    VDV is class, does drop back and give us 5 in midfield so if he plays then I have no problem with that.

  4. I think defoe deserves to start, he has been sharp this season, just because saha came in while he was injured and scored 2 does not mean he shouldnt play, he has been on good form this season. Defoe and Ade for me

  5. In a word yes. 4 goals in 3 games against the gooners. i like defoe, and saha could well prove to be a decent free signing, but if fit ade and vdv all day long

  6. Defoe in a front 2 is the last the thing you want to be doing against the scum. It would be like playing with 10 men.

    Adebayor up top, Sandro and Parker in front of the back four, with Bale, Modric and VdV in front of them. Bring Lennon on for when VdV tires.

  7. VDV has to start if fit! Hes scored 4 goals in 3 matches against the scum and he always plays with the passion of a die hard fan! He would be first name on my team sheet every day of the week! COYS!

  8. We are better balanced side without van der v. We finished 5th with him last year, side should be friedl walker kaboul king benni Lennon Parker modric bake ade Saha

    • ….. so while we’re at it, should we be replacing Ade with Crouch, and Scottie with Palacios?

      Yeah we scraped 4th by a point 2 season’s ago, but our style of football has moved on big time since then, and for the most part during his time here VDV has played as big a role in the fluid, flexible way we operate as anyone bar Luka.

      VDV to stuff the Goons again Sunday.


      • Exactly I don’t care want anybody says VdV adds so much quality to our side. We finished 5th last because of lack of depth since our team was banged up in Champions league.
        If we just add one or two more quality players we’ll win the premier league, assuming that we are able to retain modders, ade and ‘Arry.

  9. What is the news on Sandro…? Since the kung-fu kick he hasn’t played….that was two days after his comeback against Wigan. Also Ekotto has had a small op so will he make it? Vdv does have a good record against Arsenal so I expect to see the Dutchman at some point.

  10. I think the more pressing point is what we do if Benny is out?

    Back three with Bale and Walker as wing backs, or do we trust Danny, Danny Rose!?

  11. Most ppl who thinks VDV was the reason we finished 5th is plain ridiculous. Our strikers were terrible last season. They had probably one good 10mins and miserable 80. Ppl get too carried away with the 4-4-2 saha/ade partnership that won us the 5-0. Yes impressive, but merely clinical. Back in WHL when we played arsenal, we were over runned by them in midfield. We MUST play VDV modric and parker in there if we want to retain the ball for at least an equal amount of time.

    Regardless of how the scorelines has been when VDV plays, 1-2 goals margin, BUT he was one of the very reason, playing that midfield roaming role, that helped us to be where we are now. I believe Harry is wiser than most of us here and can see that VDV still starts when he is fit. The luxury player thing is ridiculous, and the part that VDV doesn’t track back, or that he gets tired.

    Check the stats, as long as VDV was on the pitch, he works tirelessly and covers as much ground or more than Scotty does!!! Considering he has to move from up front to btm. Him & Ade are the crucial reasons as to why our football as evolved so much since the hit the high ball up to crouch football days. We play possession football, because both ade and vdv up front, loves to drop deep and pass along. When ade and VDV wasn’t around against Stevenage, or whenever 2 of them are absolutely not even in the team, we suck at holding up play. Especially when ade isn’t playing up front.

    Ade makes everyone around him looks good, i still believe that is the case. Time and time again, whenever defoe plays with Ade, he keeps scoring and is deemed “wonderful”. But when u pair him with someone else or alone, he is utterly ineffective and looked ordinary. Whether it’s Pav/Defoe, saha/defoe or himself, i still feel Ade will be sorely missed in our passing football. his presence up front and ability to contribute in “beautiful football” is just essential for the team.

    So if ade & VDV isn’t playing this weekend up front, I am worried. The last thing we want is to let arsenal take control of possession. give them half, that’s about it. nothing more.

  12. id pick defoe over saha, saha got into good positions but im still only regarding him as a pave replacement on bench. if vdv and ade r both fit however, theyre first choice for me


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