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Latest Team News ahead of Wigan + Wenger’s thought on divers


Good day wherever you’re reading this from. Tonight we come up against Wigan Athletic with a chance to open an eight point gap on the Spuds and Newcastle United.

Both teams were not involved in league action over the weekend due to the FA Cup semi finals in Wembley. The weekend proved that the FA Cup still has its magic. I mean…Carroll scored a winner, how often does that happen?

It was also fun to see Chelsea thump our noisy neighbours 5-1. This season they have conceded 5 goals to City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Big club mentality, you say?

Quite funny how Harry Redknapp is still the “top candidate” for the England manager’s job.

There were mentions of cheating from Chelsea and the win (despite the margin) was tagged controversial by ESPN. The Sp*ds lost and that’s what matters.

Talking about cheats, Le Boss claims divers should be hit with a 3-match ban. Who can blame him, considering how many cases of simulation we’ve witnessed in the past week. Said Arsene:

“I must say the English players learn quickly. If an obvious dive is punished by a 3-match ban, then players wouldn’t do it anymore. I would support it”

Ashley Young alone won 2 penalties in 2 games, both undeserved and set United on the way to claiming maximum points from both games. Whether they would still have won those games without those penalties is open to debate.

Onto Arsenal news, Wigan visit the Emirates brimming with commendable pride after being ‘overlooked’ to get at least a point at Chelsea before deservedly defeating league leaders Man. United in midweek.

It therefore doesn’t look to be the easy 3-0 win we got over them here last season, a notion Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky stresses:

“Wigan beat Manchester United on Wednesday, so that’s an indication that it will be a tough test for us.”

Even Fergie thinks they can win if they manage to nick a goal against us, and that’s saying a lot.

Coupled with the fact that the Latics are fighting against the drop, the importance of this match is not lost on Rosicky.

“People might not usually regard a match against Wigan as such a big one, but they are still battling relegation, so there is a lot at stake for both of us.”

Rosicky is likely to return for this tie after being rested for the win at Wolves last Wednesday while Gervinho is in contention as he’s recovering from an ankle injury. Gibbs has a 50-50 chance, and following Santos’ horror defensive showing at Wolves, the Englishman should return to LB if fit. Djourou will partner Vermaelen again at the back with Koscielny serving the last of his two-match suspension.

Predicted Line-up:
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Benayoun/Ox, van Persie.

We all would love for Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some starts but Benayoun has played well in the last two games while we all know Walcott (somehow) remains an ‘integral’ part of Le Professeur’s plans *sigh*.

If we go into this in the business like manner we did last time out at Molineux, I fancy us picking a win. And having in mind that while Arsenal have won nine of the last 10 in the league, Wigan have lost just once in its last six.

Final word on this post goes to Piermario Morosini, who suffered a heart attack on the pitch in Italy and died over the weekend. Our condolences extend to his family and friends in this trying period. These events put football in a different perspective.

That’s all from me for now, enjoy the game wherever you watch from. I’m putting my money on a 3-0 win, to the good guys of course!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Cheers!

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Arsenal Fighting For Season vs Sunderland : FA CUP Preview

We’re here again. This same spot, where according to history, our season comes to an end on all fronts. We’re a leg and a half out of the Champions league and the FA Cup along with Champions league qualification for next season is all we have left to fight for. Should be easy right? Never. With Arsenal. Never.

The players must come out and give the fans temporary respite with a convincing performance this saturday. But with our opponents being Sunderland, the task is more daunting than it is on paper. We can do it. We must do it.

Word is, Wenger ripped into the players after the abject performance midweek with a foul mouthed tirade that shocked the players. Imagine if the players had a mindset knowing they’ll get a barracking if they played rubbish. Drop a lot of them and play hungry people with a lot to prove. On to team news.

TEAM NEWS……
Mertesacker is out for the season…ouch, Koscielny took a knock but is going to be available for the North London derby. Santos & Jenkinson(back on monday) are still out, so too Wilshere & Diaby. Le Boss is going to rotate the team and drop some players and afford RVP some much needed rest.

Predicted LineUp: Fabianski-Sagna-Djourou-Vermaelen-Miquel-Coquelin-Arteta-Benayoun-AOC-Gervinho-Chamakh

I put miquel in because I don’t see Gibbs starting seeing as we had Milan on tuesday, Arshavin might come in but I’d expect him to come off the bench if we need ammunition. This is a patchy line up and I expect something completely different but this is how I would line up.

A goal fest would go a long way in helping soothe some really frayed nerves. Testing times at the Emirates within and around the club as a lot of fans are losing(have lost) patience with the club as a whole and with Usmanov silently gathering shares, expect a stormy summer. Till then, one game at a time starting at 17:15 GMT today. COYG.

Escobar

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No new Henry deal, Sunderland Preview + Injury Updates

Good day from wherever good place you’re reading this. After just a point from four league games ended with an emphatic win last weekend, the lads will be looking to build on that performance in their trip to face Sunderland. First to some somewhat bad news.

King Henry will not be extending his loan spell, according to New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe. It’s no secret Arsene wants him to stay for 2 more weeks, but Bulls coach has indicated that Titi will return to the States on 17th February as originally planned. Said he:

“When I spoke to him [Henry], he told me that he was 100 per cent coming back on February 17,” said Backe. “What I know, it’s only rumours. I haven’t heard anything from them about extending the loan.”

The news will definitely come as a sucker punch to Wenger’s plans and will leave most gooners very sad. Tit has been wonderful for us in his short spell, we can only thank NYRB for giving him up in the first place and wish him luck.

Now to the game this weekend. The Black Cats have most usually proved a stubborn opposition for us. We only edged this season’s reverse fixture; Seb Larsson’s free-kick remains stunning, and now, with Martin O’Neil at the helm, Saturday’s match at the Stadium of Light may just be as tough.

O’Neil will however be without a host of injured absentees including Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan and Titus Bramble along with Craig Gordon, Matthew Kilgallon and Wes Brown who are out on the long-term. Oh, our dear on loan top marksman Nicklas Bendtner’s out as well.

Then there’s the bit of getting his team ready for us days after needing extra time to edge local rivals Middesbrough and set up a Fifth Round date with us next weekend in the FA Cup. All that’s the good part for us for on the flip side there’s the presence of Larsson, Stephan Sessegnon and Frazier Campbell to deal with along with the fact that we have not won at Sunderland since October 2007 when Robin van Persie bagged a double in a 3-2 victory.

Speaking of, van Persie has 22 goals already and talks of etching his name on the records have started brewing but as the captain rightly would, we’ll focus on the match instead.

Alongside him, Alex Song and Mikel Arteta are sure to start. I’d like to see Bacary Sagna start this one too as well as Tomas Rosicky in midfield though gut feeling says we may see the return of Ramsey.

Possible XI: Szczesny. Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen. Arteta, Song, Ramsey. AOC, Walcott, van Persie.

The manager says Chamakh’s at “normal fitness” level and could make the bench for this, sorry Park. And on the injury front, Kieran Gibbs is not far from full fitness as well as Carl Jenkinson. Good to have a near fully fit squad to pick from with games in the Cup and Chmpions League coming up.

Wenger has also praised African duo Song and Gervinho, the former for his marked improvement in the passing department and attacking mentality which has seen him provide seven assists in all competitions so far; second behind Walcott with eight assists.

Gervinho gets le Boss’ praise after his great solo effort proved enough for Ivory Coast to reach the Africa Nations Cup final. Wenger was partucularly pleased with Eddy’s composure in finishing and hopes it boosts his confidence playing for club and country.

A win this Saturday will further boost our confidence as well, especially so coming on away grounds against an organised team as Sunderland. I’m thinking 1-0 to the Cannon.

What do you think? See you in the comments…

Wilshere ‘Out For Season’ | Henry & Co Fit |Chamakh Back Early

Before you get tacchycardia at the first 4 words of the heading, notice the ‘ ‘ I put. That’s what we’ve been told to expect, worst case scenario. Wilshere has gone from being a medical miracle that was ready to return as early as February 4 to ‘setback, out for 6 weeks(possibly the entire season?). There goes Wenger’s big plan to announce Wilshere as a ‘new signing’ come February 1 when the window shuts down.

Not going to go on about mismanagement of youth and how no replacement has been(will be) brought in, its a huge blow(not like we’re chasing the title) but his return would have given the team needed lift and Ramsey in particular would be delighted as it means needed rest. Not going to happen now….well soon.

Positive news now and Henry, Arteta, Coquelin are fit and in the squad to face Aston Villa, Sagna too is but a little short on match fitness and might just about make the bench. Gibbs on the other hand should be ready by monday. Diaby? From ready in 10 days to ‘God knows when’. Oh well, good to see we’re following in the trend we’ve been for the last 5 years or so.

If you don’t like Chamakh, look away now. His national team of Morocco have been eliminated from the AFCON which probably had Wenger excited and foaming from the mouth from pure delight knowing the World’s best striker is coming back earlier than planned(he managed 1 appearance 0 goals & assists). Will AW push to have him back before the last group game like Newcastle are doing with Dembas Ba & Cisse?

To the Villa game, asides Wilshere, Santos & Diaby, almost everyone is fit, AW has hinted AOC could play centrally for us and not on the wings, I’d love that personally, anything to give Ramsey a rest. So I expect the team to look something like this.

Szczesny-Yennaris-Mertesacker-Kozzer-Vermaelen-Coquelin-Arteta-Rosicky-AOC-Walcott-RVP

I’m going with 3-1 in favor of the Arsenal. No upsets please. Hope you all enjoy the game & hopefully TH14 bags another goal.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Wilshere ‘Out For Season’ | Henry & Co Fit |Chamakh Back Early

Before you get tacchycardia at the first 4 words of the heading, notice the ‘ ‘ I put. That’s what we’ve been told to expect, worst case scenario. Wilshere has gone from being a medical miracle that was ready to return as early as February 4 to ‘setback, out for 6 weeks(possibly the entire season?). There goes Wenger’s big plan to announce Wilshere as a ‘new signing’ come February 1 when the window shuts down.

Not going to go on about mismanagement of youth and how no replacement has been(will be) brought in, its a huge blow(not like we’re chasing the title) but his return would have given the team needed lift and Ramsey in particular would be delighted as it means needed rest. Not going to happen now….well soon.

Positive news now and Henry, Arteta, Coquelin are fit and in the squad to face Aston Villa, Sagna too is but a little short on match fitness and might just about make the bench. Gibbs on the other hand should be ready by monday. Diaby? From ready in 10 days to ‘God knows when’. Oh well, good to see we’re following in the trend we’ve been for the last 5 years or so.

If you don’t like Chamakh, look away now. His national team of Morocco have been eliminated from the AFCON which probably had Wenger excited and foaming from the mouth from pure delight knowing the World’s best striker is coming back earlier than planned(he managed 1 appearance 0 goals & assists). Will AW push to have him back before the last group game like Newcastle are doing with Dembas Ba & Cisse?

To the Villa game, asides Wilshere, Santos & Diaby, almost everyone is fit, AW has hinted AOC could play centrally for us and not on the wings, I’d love that personally, anything to give Ramsey a rest. So I expect the team to look something like this.

Szczesny-Yennaris-Mertesacker-Kozzer-Vermaelen-Coquelin-Arteta-Rosicky-AOC-Walcott-RVP

I’m going with 3-1 in favor of the Arsenal. No upsets please. Hope you all enjoy the game & hopefully TH14 bags another goal.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs