Time to focus on Roma…

Tomorrow, it's all about us and all about Roma.

Arsene has confirmed that Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Denilson, Theo Walcott and Eduardo are all included in the squad and on the plane (which should have landed a long time ago, actually, we should be training by now)...

“From Sunday, we have no new injuries. Kolo Toure should come back into the squad and should be fit to start. Samir Nasri and Denilson are in too. Mikael Silvestre is available again too but he is not in the squad because he just came back yesterday.”

So, at the back, we’ll have a choice between our three centre back and as Arsene has said he’s fit to start, I’d expect to see both Toure and Gallas paired at the back. In midfield, we have a good choice of players. I’d expect us to play 4 – 5 – 1 and we can choose from Song, Denilson, Diaby, Walcott, Eboue, Nasri and Vela – as well as one of Van Persie or Eduardo if we did play both.

I’d expect the following line up:


Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy

Eboue – Denilson – Song – Diaby – Nasri

Van Persie

With Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Walcott, Vela, Eduardo and Bendtner on the bench

Having four attacking options on the bench may be too much and Ramsey may sneak his way on too. Suddenly it feels like we have a lot more strength in depth.

Talking about Roma, Walcott was asked if he was worried about a potential clattering in future games, and he said this:

“That’ll definitely be good for me really. Even though I know how weird that sounds.

“In training with Arsenal, you obviously don’t want to injure your own players so you tend to be a little softer but matchdays are totally different.

“Overall it feels fine. I still haven’t experienced getting clattered yet so that’s the next test. But if that that happens the new doctor has come from a rugby background. He has dealt with two dislocated shoulders a year and he said, touch wood, I’ll be OK.

“The fans gave me a big boost with a good reception on Sunday. It was a brilliant game to come in to. Hopefully I will try and get into that starting line up again. I am just looking forward to another experience in Italy now.”

“Look at Eduardo. He has been out for a very long time and he’s mentally very strong. I have learned from watching him while he has been injured, how well he took everything in and how he smiles when he comes in every day. So I am happy for him.

“As for his finishing, that is ridiculous. It is unbelievable to watch in training. He hasn’t lost his touch and he never will. He is going to score many more like that one on Sunday I hope.

“He’s a brilliant finisher and we’ve missed that. I think that goal was the best finish I have seen this year so I am very happy for him.”

And do you want to know something uber uber funny? Adebayor thinks he is one of the greatest players in the world. Personally I think we should loan him to Grimsby and teach the Togan a lessen or two. But wait, with Van Persie, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott and Bendtner all fit, will Adebayor actually get back into the side?

Have a listen to what Ade said:

“I knew that Milan and Barcelona were interested in me, but in the end I chose Arsenal. Arsenal are a club that I want to repay with important victories for having allowed me to become one of the great players in world football. I find myself well here, even if, as I say in life, you can never know what will happen in the future.”

Boy this guy should have been a stand up comedian. Ade will have to go back to the Ade we all started to like, a player who gives a cr*p about the game, a player who hussled every ball and has the desire to win… Anyway…

Let’s forward to the game tomorrow, I’ll have a proper Roma preview…]]>

  • Fo

    Come on Arsenal… so exciting to have so many players back and raring to go…!

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Looks like a strong line-up. I wouldn't fancy having to break down a midfield with Eboue, Denilson and Song in it.

    Just worry that Van Persie isn't gonna like being a lone striker. Hopefully Diaby, Nasri and Eboue will get the support to him, especially with the first two being rested this week.

    Still feeling pretty confident tho. Anyone else remember the impact Walcott had off the bench last time we played in Italy?]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I have the exact same team as my prediction for tomorrow's game, Dev.

    It could be called a 4 - 5 - 1 or a 4 - 2 - 3 - 1.


    I, however, would really like to see Eduardo start. He's on fire and VanPersie seems to have fallen out of form. Maybe it's time we put 2 up front. So I'd probably go for Eduardo in place of Song in a 4 - 4 - 2. Don't think Wenger will do that though. Let's see.]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I hope we dont play too defensive because that will just invite pressure. I am hoping he will just stick with the same team that did so well against them before.

    Bendtner was a key part as he pulled the full back all over the place. Is AW daring enough to play the same line up away from home...i don't think so.

    He will definately play the standard 4-5-1 (or zohaib's 4-2-3-1). If Roma get the first goal he will revert to 4-4-2 for sure.]]>

  • jeffvip

    < ![CDATA[Really eager to see how AW place his player on the field. The question now is whether AW will place Eduardo for Song or Diaby to play a much attacking formation? He prefer Song or Diaby If that is the case? Will Bendtner start the match because he is completely rested for the FA Cup match?

    So so many question now....]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[It's so good to be in a position where the team doesn't pick itself. More opportunity to debate who Wenger'd go for and not to give the opposition a clue as to tactics.
    Like I said before, I think it'd be good to go for the 4-5-1, but with technically 2 strikers, playing VP just behind the main striker. but I'm slightly confused as to what combination to play in midfield, and whether to go for Eduardo or Bendtner up front to start with. Good problem for the boss to have, I guess! And it'd get worse when Fabregas and Rosicky are back! Happy times! :)]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Hmmm, its tricky picking a team with so many players fit :)


    Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

    Walcott Denilson Song Nasri


    I guess most of these guy will be fresh and put in a convincing win after watching Sundays game. With Roma being forced to attack and needing to score, we could do well on the counter attack (if we play defencive) as well as opening them up (if we're more attack orientated).

    Bendtner is a pretty good target man up front, and with RvP (good shooter), Nasri (skilled) and Walcott (pace) in support, they should manage to create goals between them.

    Come on you Gunners!!! :D]]>

  • Pete

    I meant to say WANTING to put in a convincing win after watching Sundays game lol

  • Debs

    i doubt if Wenger’ll start with Walcott though, Pete, seeing he’s only played 20mins so far, but he’s definitely going to get some ‘play time’, that’s for sure. He’s good as a super-sub, so he’s probably going to have that role 2moro…

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Yea, Walcott's recent comments have been along the lines of "need a couple more appearances off the bench and a couple more training sessions before I'm ready to play 90mins".

    But, I expect Walcott will become very important in the last 20mins. I expect Roma will be streaming forward looking for a goal, and Walcott will be providing the pace to launch counter attacks off the back of long balls over the top.]]>

  • AJ

    I have a couple of things I want to say, but I’m feeling a bit lazy, so I’ll keep it short, I expect a pretty good game, Roma are going to have to attack and it should open the game up. As much as I want to see Eduardo and Walcott in the starting line up, I doubt either will start, but I am feeling confident that our boys will get the job done tomorrow, whoever starts, as long as we keep our cool and don’t try to force the issue, we have the talent and the skill without a doubt.

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Almunia
    Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
    Eboue Denilson Song Diaby Nasri

    Just noticed its the same as Dev's. We'll see Eduardo & Theo come on at some point...possible Bendtner or even Ramsey...but to me that's what we'll start with 4 sure...we will see. How did we start formation wise vs Milan last year? Mite have most likely been 4-4-2 as we needed to get goals. I expect victory but until then, interesting to see whether Chelsea & Liverpool will get the job done 2nite.]]>

  • fan

    I don’t think the lineup will be as you say since Arsene said he wants to attack. so Instead of Denilson, Song, Diaby, I would expect to see Eduardo or Bendtner. Preferably, Edardo.

  • fan

    And also, I have been most impress with Eboue. So much so that if he do not have a spot in midfield with everyone coming back, i would like to see him play RB over Sanga.

  • Fabrez

    Eboue RB over Sagna? Never in this lifetime. Eboue would only do something like that if Sagna were to be rested or we need a goal in the last minutes of a game. Sagna is an amazing RB! So Eboue would be on the bench with everyone fit.

  • Debs

    my thoughts exactly Fabrez!

  • Pete

    Good point Debs! Eboue it will be :)

  • jeffvip

    Sagna is the best RB in the Premier League dude! His stamina and defence ability is just superb. Eboue is now just a depth in our squad eventhough he has improved. See who is ahead of him; Nasri, Walcott and Arshavin…

  • Nix

    < ![CDATA[Ok...Im going to try not to miss out on any letters now...Eboe's gonna be on the bench for sure..bendtner will probably start with the 4-2-3-1 formation which stumped them last time. with clichy gallas toure sagna then denilson and song then nasri diaby and bentdner and VP on top...it gives a good sort of balance and keeps us safe.. think our CBs have gotta be sharp. Coz im guessin totti's gonna try n make his runs and we gotta catch him offside everytime he does. Walcott will be supersub, as will eduardo.

    Sagna is an amazing RB, but his crosses have been quite woeful this season..less attacking. Nonetheless, great athlete and consistent at the back. Hope he gets back his amazing attacking dimension which brought him into the EPLs team of the year.

    Looking for a win..try 2 better liverpools..go gunners!!!!]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Gosh I'm beginning to feel nervous already and the match's still more than 12hours away! Wonder how the players must be feeling!
    But I think Eduardo and Walcott in the squad might well be the difference. But still, I can't wait for the match to be over, with us qualifying, ofcourse!]]>

  • Justin Farmer

    < ![CDATA[in the modern era Arsenal were most successful with Pires and Ljungberg in the side. To describe them as wingers though isn’t quite right. Both players although often with starting positions out wide spent most of the time coming inside. What actually made them brilliant players for Arsenal and why their absence is now noticed at the Arse is the fact that they made fantastic runs beyond the back four. Thus the Vieiras, Petits and Bergkamps of this world could do what they did best - cut in incisive passing.

    Denilson, Eboue, Song - even Nasri and Cesc seem to get nose bleeds running beyond defenders into the box. Therefore Arsenal spend half their time playing lovely balls backwards and forwards between them thinking aren’t we great but it is all done in front of the opponents’ defence. Arshavin, from midfield, nearly scored from a header from inside the box against both Burnley and West Bromwich Albion. The Arsenal fans around me thought we were dreaming! What the hell was an Arsenal midfielder doing in the box? Eboue scoring against Burnley illustrates my point even more. He actually made the run beyond Song, took the backheel on, got an opportunity and scored. Tenner says he can’t do it again but…maybe there is hope ahead??]]>

  • rilub

    suspect Wenger will start with the same eleven as in the first leg – if that is the case, I hope Van Persie and Bendtner swap positions as the latter is not a left winger and would be much better playing in the centre to disrupt their defenders. We can win this tie and very much hope we do as if we fail I feel this will impact badly on the rest of the season, we might not have the stomach to come back and fight again on the League and Cup fronts. Having watched an average Chelsea team progress against an equally average Juve ( where are the great European teams these days?), we do have an opportunity to go very far in this competition if our collective heads are in the right place. What worries me is how we approach this game. Three years ago we took a 1-0 lead to Villareal and Wenger again was full of the “we must not sit back” quotes. We did exactly that, played awfully and were very lucky to go through. What the other three English sides have, that we don’t, is resilience, which we don’t display consistently and that comes from a good attitude, team spirit and experience. On our day we can beat all the others for skill, flair and passing, but when the chips are down, the others seem to have more flexibility to change things and an ability to get a result. I just pray we don’t go a goal down as then it will be like the Alamo and we might suffer- Come on Gunners and let’s hope our supporters over there get home safe and don’t encounter Roma’s loony fans, some of whom I had the misfortune to see after the home leg!

  • Fabrez

    I’m more excited than nervous. Last night proved to me that English sides are awfully strong compared to sides from other leagues! I expect us & Man U 2 go thru…granted i’d really like it if Man U didn’t & we did! I’d say we are better placed than Man U are… but we shall see!

  • Fabrez

    And i see Theo doing something special as a sub 2nite…i really do!

  • rilub

    With Arsenal on the verge of not qualifying to the Champions league one wonders with the current regulations of the Champions league how long will it be before they give the English league another place in the champions league !! If you look at yesterdays results all spanish and italian teams failed to win .. English teams has 3 wins and a draw out of four games and that must say something about the quality of our teams , For the last couple of seasons its been obvious that the weight is shifting as more and more English teams are making it to the semis, I can hardly remember in the last couple of years when the semi finals had less than two or three English sides … Sure Real and Barca and Milan and Inter and Juve for example are always gonna retain their quality but its just that the smaller teams in Italy and spain are no match for our teams, you can take Aston Villa and Everton and they will still beat Fiorentina or Roma or Villareal or Atletico to the second round any day …. I think its about time they took a place away from soneone like Spain or Italy, because they are just not worth it !!! What better time to do so than now, when we might need it :)

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I wouldn't feel as nervous today if we were going to Rome with the 3-0 cushion we should have but I am quietly confident we will go through tonight.

    Lets just hope if we do get through we have a decent draw for the quarter finals....come on your gooners!!!]]>

  • famon