Well we’re up against another club from the Lancashire area but unlike with Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal will be home to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon in a Premier League encounter.
Ahead of the match, manager Arsène Wenger insisted that the club is doing all it can to improve on the defense, which has conceded fourteen goals already in five league matches. “We work on it every day and practice… there is a lot to improve in our defensive consistencies” said Wenger, making reference to a solid defensive display at Dortmund followed by an abject opposite at Blackburn days later.
And according to stats from Opta, Bolton’s three goals against Arsenal last season were headed goals hence the need for the first team defense, marshalled by Koscielny and Mertesacker, to recover from that horrid display at Ewood Park when the Trotters visit the Emirates along with long time target Gary Cahill – whom Bolton manager Owen Coyle seems resigned to losing come January after stating there’ll be a number of clubs bidding for him then.
Yossi Benayoun will miss the match no thanks to a “strain” but should be in contention for the midweek Champions League match against Greek side Olympiakos. Otherwise we should have the usual faces lining up against the likes of Jussi Jaskkelainen, Tuncay, Kevin Davies, Martin Petrov, Chris Eagles and David Ngog.
Possible line-up: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Santos, Arteta, Song, Ramsey, Gervinho, Walcott, van Persie (c).
If you ask me I’d prefer having Frimpong and Song supporting Arteta in midfield seeing as Ramsey is not assured on the ball while Arshavin remains… one cocky Russian on the ball.
In matters off the pitch, club chairman Peter Hill-Wood has denied the club was at any point close to bringing Joey Barton to the Emirates contrary to the QPR captain’s revelation couple days ago that he came close to signing for Arsenal… whatever guys, let’s just get ourselves sorted in the league already!
And it was rather heart wrenching to learn that midfielder Jack Wilshere’s injury may take longer to heal after the club and the player (in tweets last night) revealed he would have surgery on his ankle on Monday after his bone there failed to respond well to being in a caste in the last month.
This development will see Wilshere sitting out on the sidelines until Christmas at least, a bit as Vermaelen was initially meant to last season. Hopefully in Jack’s case, he’ll be fully fit from January like van Persie was… complete with the sort of form the Dutchman came back with.
So, what do you make of our opposition this weekend and what do you think the outcome will be? Shout out to FolabiPojo for being spot on with his prediction of the League Cup win over Shrewsbury Town. Same result against Bolton perhaps?
On loan Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun will miss Saturday’s visit of Bolton Wanderers after picking up a strain in the 3-1 League Cup 3rd round win over Shrewsbury Town.
Hopefully, it’s just a “strain” that does not go on to become a recurring injury as our Belgian Thomas Vermaelen is prone to falling victim for. Otherwise, it’s a clean bill of health ahead of the Premier League match with Owen Coyle’s men; including summer target Gary Cahill.
And what do you know, menace of English football Joey Barton admitted to being close to joining Arsenal from Newcastle United and reckons the incident with Gervinho may well have dashed any deal of that sort coming to life.
The very outspoken midfielder, now captain across London at Queens Park Rangers, revealed having conversations with manager Arsène Wenger regarding a move to the Emirates after being placed on Newcastle’s transfer list following his rant about how the club was being run.
“I’d like to think I’d deal with it differently” reflected Barton as regards the incident that got Gervinho sent off on his league debut for Arsenal. “Things happen for a reason and there’s a lesson to be learned from it” he continued, hoping his eventual move to QPR that currently is above the Gunners on the table will see his club finish the season so… cheeky one Mr. Barton!
Coming off clinching a landmark 100th win at the Emirates Stadium with victory in midweek over Udinese, Arsenal will be seeking a first win in the still nascent Premier League season when Liverpool come visiting in Saturday’s early kick-off.
The Gunners will be without African duo Gervinho and Alex Song with both handed three-match suspensions each for their part in the fraca with Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton last weekend just as Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere will sit out the encounter injured.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky has also been ruled out injured for the match as is Swiss defender Johan Djourou while Frenchman Samir Nasri will be in the squad despite edging closer to completing a move to Manchester City.
Also back in the squad and with an assured future at the club is Robin van Persie, expected to spearhead the attack in what would be his first outing as captain after being handed the armband following Cesc Fàbregas’ exit to Barcelona.
That also likely puts Marouane Chamakh back on d bench with Theo Walcott set to start alongside van Persie upfront or from the wings in light off Gervinho’s suspension. Young Ghanaian Emmanuel Frimpong could also be handed a starting shirt with Alex Song suspended while Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson could make their league debuts.
Liverpool on their part have a full strength squad with captain Steven Gerard being the only notable absentee through injury. And Gooners should be wary of the Reds attack with Luis Suarez’s enterprise coupled with Andy Carroll’s presence a real threat notwithstanding their disappointing draw against Sunderland.
Carroll it was who scored the only goal in Newcastle’s shock win at the Emirates last season and manager Kenny Dalglish will be hopeful of a similar outcome from his number 9 with support from Suarez, Dirk Kuyt, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam.
Arsenal will bank mainly on van Persie upfront as well as the back trio of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny – who have helped the club keep clean sheets in the last two games – to maintain that form against a fluctuative Liverpool side that had a disappointing second half last week following an impressive first.
The players would have their mental attribute tested and needing to down the poor aura of sharing points with the Reds last time they visited, in which Kuyt converted a 112th minute penalty to dent the Gunners’ title challenge then. And while it is too early for a defeat to either side dealing a major blow to any title ambitions, getting one over your rivals early on is never a bad idea and a win for Arsenal would greatly help boost belief in a team that so far has been largely devoid of creative spark and fluid play.
We’ll leave you with a bit of transfer news, we seem to have lost out in the race for Mata to Chelski which is rather irritating seeing as we found him, stalled stupidly till his fee went up and now we’re balking at the quoted fee.
But if reports are to be believed, we’ve agreed a deal to sign Lille winger Eden Hazard who in my opinion would be a great signing. Joel Campbell too has officially signed and has been training with the squad, he’ll probably have to wait a little longer before being involved.
Let’s pray we win at Udinese on Wed so we can sign A CB, a CM & and an attacker and all would be well again. From wherever you’re reading, enjoy the game.
P.S Let’s try not to boo Samir Nasri if he plays tomorrow, he just might score an own goal in retaliation.
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