Match Preview: Drogba Doubtful for Arsenal Trip + Other News
Arsenal will look to complete a Premier League double and also get a third successive win over Chelsea when the Blues visit the Emirates in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Roberto di Matteo’s side will be without David Luiz and suspended Branislav Ivanovic while according to a tweet by @BornGooner, Didier Drogba will miss the encounter as well, after picking a knee injury in the lone goal win over Barcelona on Wednesday.
Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta who is out for 6-8 weeks with a sprained ankle that thankfully does not require surgery, while Yossi Benayoun is ineligible as part of the loan deal from Stamford Bridge.
Serial cold table patient Abou Diaby will likely be in the squad as a result of the above absentees while Laurent Koscielny returns from his two-match suspension, relegating Djourou to the bench and Squillaci to gunner-oblivion.
Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos. Ramsey, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Gervinho. Van Persie.
With Diaby playing a half of the lone goal win over Oman’s Olympic team during the week, he won’t be ready to play from the onset. Fellow Frenchman Francis Coquelin is back to full training as well but will miss the match due to match fitness.
A win for us is crucial for, other than local bragging rights, getting closer to sealing third spot in the league and a place at next season’s Champions League group stage.
With Chelsea (boldly) harbouring hopes of making next season’s Champions League through winning this season’s, fourth place in the league would become a ticket to the Europa League in the (un)likely event of that.
It either way keeps alive hopes of finishing third for the Sp*ds and Newcastle United; both on 59 points from 33 matches, in fourth and fifth respectively, consequently serving a good incentive for both to put pressure on Arsenal with 64 points from 34 matches played.
Former Arsenal forward Tony Woodcock has joined the queue of voices imploring on captain Robin van Persie to remain at the club beyond the end of his current contract.
According to Woodcock, “With somebody like Robin, it cannot be a financial thing at this stage in his career. Players want to win things and he is not far from doing so at Arsenal”.
The forward who spent four seasons with the club in the 1980s stated further that Arsenal is close to ending the trophy drought and though finishing third should be considered a success in lieu of our start to the season, the fans do want to see the club winning trophies again.
Elsewhere on a lighter note, captain of the Arsenal Ladies Faye White has called time on her international career while also contemplating her future at the club after revealing she is expecting her first child, due October.
White has spent 15 seasons at the Ladies with 27 honours to show for her long service and according to her, would wait for the feeling (for football) to “switch off” in her head before deciding to retire from the club as well.
We extend our best wishes to her, just as we hope a repeat of last season’s 3-1 win last time Chelsea visited occurs. Share your thoughts ahead of the encounter below and have a great weekend.