Can we come back from an awful defeat midweek? Can we continue to win with such a depleted team? Can we play Wenger-ball without our star players? All will be revealed in today’s away tie at Wigan.
If we have to go away in these dire circumstances, Wigan would be one of the teams best suited to us, in our last 9 meetings Arsenal have won 8 and drawn one!
Who will play for us today? The team almost picks itself thanks to the length of our injury list. We persist with the same GK, hopefully playing one his last games for Arsenal prior to the purchase of a reliable and confident new GK (please!). With the loss of both our frontline CB pairing, we are reduced to two geriatrics in the middle. Sol has been immense but the efforts of his heroic performance at the Lane will surely have an effect upon him, and Silvestre (not my favourite) will have to be alert to the pace of Wigan’s forwards. Positioning will be paramount for our CB’s. A possibility would be to move Sagna inside and play Eboue on the right, Sagna has shown his aerial ability and appears to have the football intelligence to move to the centre. Clichy has rediscovered his form of late and is showing why he is considered on of the best LB’s in World football.
Midfield is a conundrum. One would have thought that Diaby, Nasri and Rosicky would be a creative dream team (in the absence of Fab4), but they have flattered to deceive, in particular Diaby and Nasri. Samir, apart from an evening of brilliance at home to Porto, has been anonymous, which must be of great concern to Wenger. The “new Zidane” is the same age as Fabregas and really should be taking games by the scruff of the neck. The same could be said of Diaby. We know Diaby has the talent to be a super player, he as it all, power, outrageous dribbling skills, goal scoring, accurate shooting, and a perfect physique for an attacking MF, but he has been disappointingly inconsistent. We need more from the Big Man. Rosicky puts in a decent shift but struggles by being moved all over the midfield. For a player with so much “in the locker”, I expect more. Denilson will most probably continue as Song’s replacement, he may not have the natural shimmering Brazilian skills but statistically he is very good! However, there are concerns over Denilson’s fitness and Eastmond may get a start, if so Eastmond has shown he has huge potential and I look forward to seeing his progress.
Up front there are options. The return of Van Persie is a huge boost. His cameo at WHL was superb and I expect a big game from him. Will Bendtner continue in the centre or will he be on the bench allowing RVP to retake his new central role? 9 goals in 11 games should ensure Nik starts. Wenger usually chooses to play an extra MF away from home, so Eboue could get a call, in which case either Eduardo or Vela will start on the left. If not, Walcott must start on the right.
The teamsheet will be interesting today.
Wigan have a fine player in Rodallega who has impressed so much that Wenger has had to refute rumours of his imminent arrival at THOF! Wigan are a decent team but as previously stated they are one of the teams I would have chosen to play after the Spuds. They are captained by the ex-Chelsea player Lord Mario Melchiot – one of my favourite players, a player who has graced the PL for many years, and a real gentleman (albeit with a dodgy haircut)
Given the results from yesterday nothing is beyond imagination in the run-in. Despite their defeat at WHL, the Chavs are clear favourites but if we had beaten the Spuds …… I hate “what if’s”