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.
Morning fellas! An Arsenal game finally…after what seems like an eternity without good football.
The picture above is what we think Arsenal will be wearing next season. I don’t think we have seen this colour combination before and it looks pretty cool if you ask me.
The past few days have given us fans time to reflect and to recharge our batteries for the run in. I hope it did the same for the players.
We travel to Everton tonight, with one objective, maximum points. Everton are usually a tricky opponent but with the right attitude, we should be smiling to bed tonight.
Le Boss revealed some team news ahead of tonight’s encounter.
There are really no changes from the team that played Newcastle. TV5 will be alright despite picking up a knock.
Diaby played for the reserves against L’pool yesterday and got a goal for himself. Let’s hope he can return and do a Rosicky.
Andre Santos is fit so he should start. This means we are waiting on just Coquelin and Wilshere to return before the season runs out.
The team practically picks itself. Santos for Gibbs is the only change I envisage.
Everton are expected to be without Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (thigh) and Darron Gibson (knee).
They beat the Spuds, albeit against the run of play, but they bombed at Liverpool. We are on a 9-game unbeaten run against Everton in the EPL, we should make that 10 tonight.
If we get our acts right from the 1st minute, a win is just within reach.
As exciting as it was, I don’t think I want to experience what happened against Newcastle again. Let’s put this tie to bed early.
It should be an interesting one. Chelsea play Man City tonight also and as annoying as it is, I’ll be rooting for Citeh tonight.
On a happier note, it’s good to hear that Fabrice Muamba is laughing and talking to his team mates again. Huge scare he gave us all on Saturday. Thank goodness his health has improved.
Apparently, the first thing he said after regaining consciousness was “Did we lose?”, with reference to the tie against Spurs. Wonderful professional!
The road to full recovery is still long but he’ll get there hopefully.
A win for City and Arsenal tonight puts us 6 points ahead of Chelsea. Massive considering that they still have to visit the Emirates.
I’m excited, you should be. Tonight, let’s get excited together, in a large room…with our clothes on.
Lovely weekend it was unless of course you’re Andre Vilas-Boas, the Chelsea manager got the sack yesterday…wait what am I saying? Just thought of how much he stands to make from his sevarance package and all of a sudden, he’s the winner. Boo hoo. He’s always been a small fish in a big pond and the cabal of Terry-Lampard-Drogba was just too much for him in the end.
This past month has just been great for us gooners(if you exclude the Milan & Wearside games), four consecutive wins, Van Persie’s hot streak knowing no end so far and now the good news that Wilshere is set to boost our run for champions league qualification. Lovely. Oh yeah good morning from wherever. Straight to the post then.
Jack Wilshere has returned to training according to Arsenal manager but he assured everyone he’s not closer to making a return, meaning he’s not match fit but is training with the ball I guess…..he had this to say.
- “We have good news but Jack isn’t close to a comeback. The last scan was good and he can start to jog again so he is on his way back. But we have to be cautious with him. I hope to have him back before the end of the season, but we go step by step”
His return would boost us and I’d like to see him play at least one-two games with Van Persie so as not to miss out on what is the dutchman’s best season ever.
Speaking of the dutchman, oh how I love RVP, he deserves all the credit for our season so far and the lovely connection between him & Alex Song is just marvelous. The goals at Anfield are still playing in my head. Top man.
Gunning For 3rd & Milan…..
Our very poor & history-less & pretty much noisy neighbors have been the toast of our half of north london so far. I doubt they’re enjoying being our source of joy and entertainment. From having been behind them by 13points(when it was 2-0 down against them last week) now we’re just 4 points behind and yet we’re having our worst post-Wenger season.
Credit must go to a lot of people & media for helping Sp*rs capitulate but it all centers around Redknapp, from tax evasion to England coach speculation and his naïve substitutions against Arsenal where it ended 5-2 in our favor.
Special mention goes to AW who has gone through a lot(he put us there in the first place) but has steered the ship around and now not only are we on course to make champions league next season, we might end up above Sp*rs. Great achievement considering all we’ve been through & playing the season without Wilshere.
Wenger confirmed my worst fears when yesterday he said he won’t be resting Van Persie or anyone for that matter against Milan. Oh dear. Here’s how the Milan game can play out for us.
1) We win the match but lose the tie and important players pick up knocks.
2) We lose the match, lose the tie and important players pick up knocks.
3) We win the match, win the tie & no one picks up any knock.
4) We rest key players, win the match, lose the tie and the players are fit and fresh for the Newcastle game next week which is more important.
I want the 3rd option but that’s going to require a miracle after witnessing a 14 minute Zlatan Hattrick on saturday. The 4th option would be nice but knowing Wenger, he’ll never do that. Let’s pray for a miracle then.
I’ll be here tomorrow to give the preview on the Milan game. Have a great day and let’s know what you think in the comments.
P.S. Diaby is injured again, pulled a hamstring…..and grass is still green…. Gibbs & Benayoun also picked up knocks ruling them out of the Milan tie but Arteta has recovered and is fit. Great.
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Top of the morning to you gooners worldwide, its scorching hot on this side of the planet whereas I’m sure its freezing cold in other planets. Well, straight to business then.
Word coming out of Mexico since yesterday night is that we have signed 23 year old Chivas striker Marco Fabian who’s going to join us in February and the story was confirmed by his parents, but Arsene Wenger has come out this morning to rubbish the reports and had this to say.
- Just an agent who wants to sell a player
Good to know we’re not going after ‘potential’ when there’s a bucket load of ready made forwards and players, the likes of which if signed would make RVP want to stay.
Perma crock Abou Diaby is out again for 10 days, that’s his 30th injury since breaking his ankle at the stadium of light a few years back, why are we patient with him? He’ll never be fit for a full season or half a season, let’s get rid of him in the summer already.
Tomas Rosicky too is ruled out, I say we accept the first bid we get in January for him, yes he’s good to have as a squad player but he’s past it and on the wrong side of 30. Get in a young player to replace him or promote Oxo(who has remained fantastic in his appearances so far)
Transfer Round Up
The latest name doing the rounds in the papers is brazilian striker Damiao. With 41 goals in 50 games one would be tempted to believe it, I’ve seen him play and he’s pretty decent, plays off the top striker or alone on his own. But I don’t see AW shelling out 25M in January for an unproven forward. Podolski is who I’d love to see join us.
The match preview would be here first thing tomorrow morning. Do check in to read it. Have a swell day.
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Last time out against Fulham, the pre-match stats tilted much against the Cottagers just as that building in Piza and against Manchester City tonight, same can be said. Most glaring of all being that we have never lost a home tie at the Emirates in domestic Cup competitions.
I’d rather not dwell on such stats, or on what could have been against Fulham, and focus on the match itself. Had the date read August 29, the above record would stand little chance of being after 90 minutes against such formidable opposition. Now however, certain factors have evened the balance and given Arsenal a realistic chance of making the League Cup semi finals… yet again.
Starting with the visitors. Having played virtually or all of the encounter on Sunday at Liverpool, we’re likely to not see ex-Gunner Gäel Clichy, James Milner and Yaya Toure feature after the trim saw out that pulsating match while David Silva (substituted at 90) and Sergio Aguero (at 82) will likely be rested.
Gareth Barry is out suspended along with the bi-polar Mario Balotteli while any one of Vincent Kompany or Joleon Lescott may be rested for Kolo Toure as both played all 90 minutes as well. All that said, this is City we’re talking about…
Edin Dzeko will definitely start and I reckon Pablo Zabaleta, Andy Johnson, Nigel de Jong and fan favourite $amir Nasri will start as well, which makes for a strong opposition against us tonight; not to mention a most capable Joe Hart in goal for them.
Hence, having brushed aside any notion of facing a weak (by fitness or quality) opposition, onto Arsène Wenger’s headache of what team to select appropriate enough to face City tonight and keep to his League Cup tradition.
Oxlade Chamberlain & Park Chu Yung are going to start the game, so too Emmanuel Frimpong, but le Professeur says 90% of the squad he knows already and the remaining 10% yet to be sorted. Arshavin after talking about him not playing enough games as his ‘abilities’ deserve before the Fulham draw, he’s done same for Yossi Benayoun ahead of tonight game so I believe the Israeli captain will start.
Possible line-up: Fabianski-Yenaris-Koscielny-Vermaelen-Santos-Frimpong-AOC, Benayoun-Coquelin-Gervinho-Park
In the end, I expect City to play defensive as it’s the approach manager Roberto Mancini has come to the Emirates with the past two seasons. Hopefully, the lads will come good tonight in the quest for a place in the last four. See you at the end of the game. COYG!!!!!
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MUST WIN, no excuses, no complacency a la last season. Knowing quite well that a win guarantees us qualification and facing teams of lesser quality, I mean no disrespect. Its a match of two inform teams as both sides have gradually climbed their way into the top half of the table of their respective leagues. More so, its a duel of two inform players in Red (Hot) Robin & Young Super Mario(Gotze) who continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates.
Not much is happening here, Rosicky is ruled out with a thigh strain but perennial absentee Diaby is back to take his place in the squad. Djourou might come in for Mertesacker at RB and Kozzer moving back to CB. The rest of the team is going to remain unchanged and RVP is to lead the team out.
Possible Formation: Szczesny-Djourou-Kozzer-Vermaelen-Santos-Song-Arteta-Ramsey-Gervinho-RVP-Walcott
Prediction: Arsenal 3:1 Dortmund
Transfer News + Player News
When quizzed on Gotze and the rumors, here’s what Arsene had to say:
- “We have a big squad and we are after nobody. Gotze is a very good player and I can understand there is a lot of interest in him around Europe”
Typical Arsene, dodged the question. Knowing how Arsenal does its business, I’d say we’re definitely going for him. Let’s wait and see.
Szczesny says despite what is perceived as over confidence, he’s his own biggest critic and still has a long way to go before being considered great and first aim is to help Arsenal become big again.
Jack Wilshere has been chatty of late. He got infuriated by Spu*s fans saying they’re going for the title and made a wager saying if they finish ahead of Arsenal he’ll donate £3K to charity, if not, every spu*s fan following him donates a pound to his charity. What a legend.
From wherever you are, have a swell day. Qualification awaits. Cheers
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