Further to yesterday’s interesting discussion about squad strength we have an opportunity tonight to evaluate Mr Wenger’s statement. For tonight the squad players travel to Portugal for a Champions League game which despite not being a win or bust fixture is contextually important, if only to sweeten what has been a difficult week.
Clichy, Van Persie, and Arshavin are not travelling, Fabregas may well be rested to help his ailing hamstring and AW could rest any of the others who have played so many games over the past two weeks. Whichever team is played we are strong. In my opinion Mr Wenger is right in his assertion that this is his strongest squad. In every position we have a quality (and almost always an International) backúp. As Kelsey pointed out, the only position in with a doubtful substitute is in goal and Chesney has all the attributes to become a fine GK.
Tonight we could play the following team and reasonably expect a positive result:
Eboue JD Kos Gibbs
Rosicky Denilson Eastmond Wilshere
This is without the injured and likely starters of Vermaelen, Diaby and Ramsey.
I wrote in the comments about the absence of Diaby who has become a forgotten man, In my opinion he would start ahead of Wilshere and would certainly have played against Spurs. His loss is considerable as he is developing into a fine player with pace, power, skill and developing awareness (clearly his weak point). His recent performances for France are evidence of his growing influence. I realise that he is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like him!
Braga, despite winning their previous CL game, are in a poor run of form and we know how easliy they were brushed aside at the Grove, but this is a very important game in their season (in financial terms) and Braga will be looking for revenge.
Arsenal have not won in Portugal in 5 attempts and a Braga victory would bring them level with us on 9 points. This is not a game we can afford to take lightly
Sagna Squillaci Koscileny Gibbs
Song Denilson Wilshere Rosicky
Could we be creative enough without Nasri or Fabregas in the starting 11? Perhaps not.
Not much to tell you about Braga which is in the very North of Portugal, except Marie Miriam who won the 1977 Eurovision song contest was born there, and Braga has a Quidditch team!
Written by BigRaddy