Yesterday saw the manager’s weekly press conference take place and not a whole lot of new team news emerged. As stated on Thursday, Walcott, Gibbs and Bendtner are all back in contention for a place in the squad. I would imagine that all three will be on the bench today and Walcott and Bendtner will probably come on somewhere around the 67th minute, depending on how the game is going.
The team to start today is likely to be: Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Squillaci, Clichy, Song, Nasri, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin and Chamakh.
Options in defence are extremely limited as Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny and Vermaelen are all absent through injury. Fingers crossed that we can get all back as soon as possible as another injury in that department today would leave us stretched to the limit.
In midfield, Cesc is still not ready for a return. That leaves Song as the holding player with Diaby and Nasri as the two players in the middle that will have a bit more freedom to get forward. With Walcott just returning to fitness and Eboue playing at right back (his best position), that means that we are pretty much limited to playing Arshavin and Rosicky in the wider positions.
I think that Wilshere will be on the bench as after already playing more games than expected this season, he may need a bit of a breather. He could come on , if needed, but I think that we should protect him a little bit as we don’t want to burn him out. Of course, that could be a bit of a risky move with Cesc still absent, but if we can’t beat Birmingham at home without Wilshere, then we have no chance of winning anything this season.
If Wilshere is rested, then Diaby and Nasri will have to step up to the plate and deliver two top class performances, especially Diaby who really does have a point to prove to the Arsenal faithful.
If the game against West Brom at the Emirates taught us anything, it is that if the team isn’t up for the game the result is far from guaranteed. Hopefully the team have learned this lesson and will treat this game with the seriousness and application that it deserves. However, how many more times must the team be required to learn the same lesson? We have found ourselves in the same position for the past few seasons and it is time that the team actually learns this lesson instead of just saying after the fact that they must learn it.
If Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin and Diaby play well today, we should be more than a match for Birmingham.
It was good to see the manager deftly sidestep the whole tackling issue again as it would have inevitably just have given that buffoon Allardyce and his whorish sidekick Pulis something to whinge about in the Sunday papers.
Today will be the manager’s 800th game in charge and I hope that the team will go out and do him, and the fans, proud. I wonder who the player(s?) is that the manager has admitted lying for to protect? It’s all a bit pointless to speculate, I suppose, and doesn’t really make a big difference in the grand scheme of things as we all know that Wenger always defends his players and keeps everything in-house. It could be Almunia. It could be Fabregas. It could be Bendtner. Who knows?
Here’s to a good performance and three points today.
Take it easy.