Yesterday saw the manager’s press conference take place and he revealed that both Fabregas and Gibbs are definitely out of Sunday’s game against Chavski. Gibbs will be out for two or three weeks with a calf problem, an injury the club specialises in. The manager also revealed that Walcott is still two or three weeks away from a return and that Vermaelen’s achilles is healing at glacial pace.
I think that the emergence of Wilshere makes it easier for the manager to protect Fabregas. He knows that with Wilshere and Nasri in the team, there is still some creativity there, thereby making the absence of Cesc less severe. Hopefully this enforced break from football will mean that Fabregas has the chance to fully recover from both his injury and his exertions at the World Cup and that he will be 100% fit and raring to go from the Birmingham game onwards.
Although Diaby will be included in the squad, it remains to be seen whether or not he will be fit enough to start. If he does play, I hope we see the Diaby that is prepared to roll his sleeves up and work, rather than the one that just ambles around making no kind of telling contribution at all.
The starting line-up for tomorrow will probably be; Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh. After his performance last week, we can’t afford to have Eboue start if he plays as poorly as he did against West Brom. Likewise, we need Song (or Denilson should he start instead) to sit in midfield and be a shield to take some pressure off the defence. Forget about marauding forward in search of a goal. Just sit deep and protect the defence. The team needs to be solid tomorrow.
The manager might even decide to go with a more defensive starting line-up of: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Denilson, Wilshere, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh. This would let Song and Denilson offer solid protection to the defence, while letting Wilshere play a bit further forward with Arshavin and Nasri out wider. It would also allow for good positional interchange between Arshavin, Wilshere and Nasri.
I think the presence of Chamakh will make a big difference as he works for the team and will help us to be more solid and also more of a threat at the same time.
We will also need a fully concentrated Clichy, as we can’t afford any silly mistakes from him. The same goes for Fabianski, he will have to withstand plenty of pressure from the Chavski players at set pieces and he will have to make sure that he has the concentration and confidence in his own ability to stand up to that pressure. The whole defence will have to be much more solid than they were last weekend. Furthermore, we will have to work as a team, defend as a team. We must try to protect our keeper tomorrow.
It will be interesting to see how Squillaci and Koscielny deal with the strength and power of Drogba. Hopefully they will deal with him better than Senderos used to. Malouda is another player that we will need to keep an eye on as he has been in good form this season.
I actually think that we have a good chance to get something out of this game. Chavski have had some poor results recently and their good start to the season has been somewhat deceiving as the teams that they have played have been from the lower reaches of the league. The first real challenge that they had was against Man Shitty, which they lost. They’ve also been dumped out of the Carling Cup by Newcastle. So, they have been knocked off their perch a little bit and, with Lampard unavailable, I think that if our team turns up with the right attitude and work ethic we have a good chance to get a result.
There will be the inevitable cries of outrage should we lose the game and it would be far from ideal to lose and fall seven points behind so early in the season. However, we managed to bridge a similar gap on two occasions last season and with thirty-one games remaining after the game against Chavski, it is a gap that could be clawed back should we lose. However, the minimum result the team should be looking for is a draw and they should definitely approach the game in a positive manner and go for the win.
That’s it for today. Not sure if I will have time to make a post tomorrow. Here’s to a good performance tomorrow and a good result.
Have a good weekend.