Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal, Sagna Setback and Transfer Rumours

It's been 5 games since we last won a Premiership game, and we're simply not used to that!

Let's take a look at the news this week.

Sagna out for three weeks

Sagna is injured and he’s out for at least three weeks. He was the hero for us on Sunday when he scored to give us the 1-0 advantage, but his arguably his substitution disrupted the game and the defence. I’ve got cause for concern about his absence and we have to look at the options. Arsene spoke on this.

“He has an ankle injury and the first news that we have is that he could be out for quite a while. I don’t know how long he will be out, but I feel it will be three weeks at least. Five is the worst-case scenario. I have seen the injury again on tape. He wanted to kick the ball out and he twisted”

So what do we do now? Bacary has been instrumental to our campaign this season and he looks set to miss this weekend’s clash as well as the games against Liverpool (times three) and Man United. Let’s look at the options.

Emmanuel Eboue
Some say that Eboue’s better position is right back where he can overlay. Many say his attacking potential is limited and his final ball is often bad. Well, with Sagna out for the next three weeks, Eboue could see himself pushed back. Although this is a natural change, his is a liability in defence and could cause more damage than good.

Philippe Senderos
The return of Philippe could be an option, not at right back, but at centre back. That would see Toure or Gallas go out wide. With Toure the younger of the two, he may have more stamina and Gallas is renowned for not liking to play on either side of defence unless in emergency! This would be my option. As I think young Philippe is having a good season and I simply don’t trust Eboue. Toure has a bit of will to win about him, so getting forward could add a dimension to our team.

Justin Hoyte
From a defensive point of view, I’d prefer Hoyte over Eboue. He has experience at this level, but hasn’t had much playing time this season.

Kerrea Gilbert
A younger option, but probably the least probable considering the other three options. Gilbert has just recovered from an injury that saw him return from his loan spell earlier this season.


Who would you like to see play?

Arsene wants to find our form

Arsene has spoken quite a lot recently and one of the major articles you may have read or not read is about how we need to refind our early season form. It’s very much the truth. There is a psychological impact that our players had when Eduardo was injured and a major part of our form was removed. The players have taken their time to recover from this. It’s not like we played badly in the last 5 games, but it’s more like we’ve played 90% of our game.

If you’ve haven’t read this, then take a look, it’s a quick piece on why it’s not all doom and gloom.

Arsene has been talking on the fact that we must focus on our next game, and interestingly he talks about the title as a long term project? Here’s what he said:

“I believe that what we want is to win our next game and then try to get a grip on it again before we dream of winning the title. We have to be realistic. Our form in recent games is not good enough to dream of the title. Let’s first get into form where we can pretend again to win the title. I believe we will do it, but it is more than a long-term project. Let’s give everything in our next one and win it.” 

I know what he means by a long term project, yes, we’ve invested in a big stadium and no really splashed the cash on many players, but we were very close to challenging for the title this season. Actually, I believe if we still had Eduardo and Rosicky playing this season we wouldn’t have drop those points… another discussion, but we need some silverware soon…

Talking about Eduardo, he has been speaking about Taylor and how he hasn’t spoken to him yet. Take a read on Sky Sports. This is contrary to the report today from Taylor himself who insists he has spoken to Eduardo. Strange stuff, all of this.

Transfers Rumours

Something that always arises around the time of a loss or eventful week is the transfer rumours come out… in the last few days we’ve been linked with Gai Assulin  and Hatem Ben Arfa, and more recently, Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

Let’s have a look at these rumourss… The agent of Assulin has dismissed a move, and said that Chelsea are the only team that have expressed an interested. The Hatem Ben Arfa link is more credible as it’s got some Arsene backing. And most of you may be asking, who the hell is Kuzmanovic? He’s a 20 year old Serb who’s been linked as Flamini’s replacement. But I think he’s literally just signed a contract in the last hour or so, so that story was surely just a contract negotiation one.

One more speculative on is on Pjanic, who we’ve been talking about recently. Apparently the Metz coach has said they will sell Pjanic in Summer as they will need to raise cash as they will be relegated… don’t get too excited, he’s only 17, but he’s a very good 17 year old at that! The Arsenal Way has the full quote from the Metz manager, Joel Muller.

Just enough time for a match preview…

Match Preview: Bolton vs Arsenal

Okay, so we’re off to the Reebok on Saturday, a 3pm kick off off and if we don’t win, it will be Arsene’s worst ever run as manager – just shows the “crisis” we are in… but surely the boys are just as upset as the fans. Surely they want to put things right starting with Bolton. But then again, surely they wanted to win the last five games…

Positive thoughts…

It’s third from bottom versus third from top… and Bolton haven’t won in the last 8 games… so our form is marginally better!

With Sagna out of the game and Rosicky and Eduardo long term injuries, we’ve got a few choices to make now. Many people are calling for Eboue to be dropped but there seems to be two slots available for him. Ideally, I’d like to see Eboue out of the starting XI so that he has to push himself to get back into it. I’d also like to see a rest for Ade and Hleb as they seems like they need it…! Playing Bolton too, Diaby would be the better option.

Here’s the starting XI line up that I’d like to see play…

Almunia
Goalkeeper
Toure
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Senderos
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
Walcott
Right Wing
Flamini
Defensive Midfielder
Fabregas
Defensive Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
Bendtner
Stiker
Van Persie
Support Stiker

But here’s the starting line up that Arsene will probably opt for…

Almunia
Goalkeeper
Eboue
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Toure
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
Hleb
Right Wing
Flamini
Defensive Midfielder
Fabregas
Defensive Midfielder
Diaby
Left Wing
Adebayor
Stiker
Van Persie
Support Stiker

I’d like to see young Theo play – his cameo’s have been very positive and Senderos could help with those Bolton long balls, but we’ll see tomorrow what Arsene has in mind. With three games against Liverpool and then United, we have to rest some players here and there and inject some freshness into the team…

News Round Up 

Just to top it off, the British Prime Minister and French President has a meeting with Arsene at the Emirates. A nice little thing, and a very proud moment for us and for Arsene. Sepp Blatter made an appearance too, but surprisingly didn’t speak to Arsene… more on the Arsenal.com site.

Young Guns talks about Henri Lansbury’s party attitude. Carlos Vela looks like he will return on the weekend.

More tomorrow!]]>

  • John Abbot

    < ![CDATA[I think we should play Senderos, he is good at winning aerial challenges. Toure would love to run and up and down the right and Walcott needs a run out. But I think you're right and Wenger will play Eboue most probably at RB.

    Another good read today!]]>

  • Ninja

    I agree John, Senderos should be played!

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