Wigan vs Arsenal Preview… Happy Good Friday…

It's very sunny this side of the pond, and tomorrow we take on Wigan at the JJB. Wigan, post January, are without their two best players in Heskey and Palacios respectively, who have moved on to Villa and Sp*rs respectively. However, Wigan are the type of team that can turn it on at home and it's going to be a tough game, similar to that of the trips to Stoke (loss) and Middlesborough (draw) earlier this season.

We've been hit with a few injuries after the game against Villareal and it's not ideal at this time of the season, with 3 of the recently quite solid back 5 out for a while. Gallas has been confirmed as out for the season, whilst Clichy and Almunia will both be out for the next two weeks.

Cesc spoke of the team performance showed against Villareal:

“I feel really proud of this team. When you see team-mates playing like that it is really good to be next to them. They are proud as well. We showed great character at Villarreal and we showed how determined we are to win something this season. I think we could have done a bit better but we can’t complain after losing Manuel (Almunia) and William (Gallas). To do that and still come back and get a 1-1 is not a bad result.

We have the return leg at home this week, and we may just have a few players back in the form of Van Persie and Eduardo. Team news coming later, no doubt. Cesc has been getting better with every game and the team captain thinks he will only get better:

“I don’t feel 100 per cent yet. This was only my second game. I played 90 minutes on Saturday I played 80 minutes on Tuesday. That is not easy after over three months out. I feel I need three more games to be at my best. But definitely when you are like that you can finish the season better than the players who have played the whole time.”

I’m sure it was the other way round, playing 80 minutes against Man City and the whole game against Villareal… anywho… it will be very important to have a fit and creative

Let’s take a look at the Wigan game. With Gallas out, we’ve got Djourou who will come in for him. Fabianski will come in for Almunia and although Gibbs has been very good deputising for Clichy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene opted for the more experience Silvestre at left back.

Having played 4-3-3 for the last two games and with VP and Eduardo not back for tomorrow’s game, we could see a similar formation in tomorrow’s game… okay, here’s my prediction:

Fabianski

Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Silvestre

Denilson – Cesc – Song

Eboue – Bendtner – Arshavin

I think with the midweek game, and the fact that Ade was playing the lone striker role on Tuesday, he may rest the Togan International as well as Walcott, both who will be very important in the return leg in the Champions League – I’d expect Mannone, Gibbs, Ramsey, Nasri, Walcott, Vela and Adebayor on the bench.

With the games coming thick and fast, I would expect some sort of rotation as mentioned above. I’m sure we’ll hear more on this at Arsene’s Friday press conference, and probably completely invalidate this early guess at the team lineup… let’s hope VP and Eddie are back…!

Finally today, Arsene has spoken about William Gallas and quashed rumours that he is looking to offload the former captain in Summer, saying:

“That’s a big question. He has one year of his contract to go and I envisage him to be here next year. He had a challenging season and he has certainly had to cope with a major disappointment. But we have to give him a lot of credit, because he came back with great performances, so he dealt well with the situation. He’s played very well. And he’s turned up in the big games with goals when it matters so that is very important.”

And I have to say, in January, I wouldn’t have minded if the Frenchman left us – but since he’s lost the captaincy, he’s had time to focus on his game and has really come back to some decent and team inspiring form. Gallas does have a knack of scoring goals when it matters, and I’d be very happy to see him in the Arsenal colours next season too.

Okay, I’m sure there will be more official news soon on the game, but until then… have a Good Friday!]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Hopefully we should win 2moro although it'll be a much changed squad from the last PL game, what with injuries and the need to rest players for wednesday. At least we know Arshavin will be a constant.

    And here's an interesting article about Diarra and what he thinks of his time at Arsenal:

    uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/10042009/58/premier-league-diarra-blast-wenger.html]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Steups...Diarra needs to go get a life with his crappy Madrid side. I don't care what he thinks of his time at Arsenal. I was just listening to RvP talking about how family oriented the club and dressing room is so he can shut the hell up. Glad i've got that out of my system!

    The game 2morro shall b a tough 1...but I reckon we'll win tho. The belief and confidence is there. Rotation is a definite...and dev's line-up mite not be a bad shout. Arshavin should b raring to go... And i'd also like to see Gallas here nxt season...he's dealt with losing the captaincy well and calmed down. He's an experienced head who would be an asset to a growing team.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, I love Van Persie, he's a top man. Good to hear he's fit and may be in the squad 2mo. More of ppl like him, less of ppl like Diarra at the club!
    Gallas minus the captaincy has been pretty solid so far, and we really can't afford to lose more experience in the side. I see him staying too.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[That's basically Wenger's way of saying he wants Gallas to stay. Which doesn't necessarily mean he'll be an automatic name on the starting eleven team-sheet. Djourou's been playing well. And he'll only get better with a consistent number of games in the side. Plus he gives us better aerial defence. He can have bad days but so can Gallas. Gallas has scored some important goals though. But I'd probably go for Djourou. I'd want him to take over from Gallas next season.

    Ideally, I'd probably sign a solid defender.

    We haven't heard from Toure. Well, we have. He said he'll decide at the end of the season. Maybe he meant, he'll decide on a new contract or something at the end, since we've heard that contract talks are stalled at Arsenal until the season ends.]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[On a different note...i just read something interesting on Arshavin's official website. Someone asked him about Bendtner and he said, "Bendtner a good footballer and my buddy. We have no problems". Just thought that was kind of nice bcuz the press speculated that Arshavin said he doesn't get along with every1 and the whole thing with Bendtner being misquoted too. Much better than what Diarra had 2 say :D

    http://209.85.229.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://arshavin.eu/forum.php%3Fmid%3D54661%26PHPSESSID%3D45a6abe4faef388d5ad8cad7a24117e0&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://arshavin.eu/index.php%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1B3GGGL_enGB310GB310%26sa%3DG&usg=ALkJrhjzpxHXaMIwcwNbxDSMj0596kZ7lw]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[On a different note…i just read something interesting on Arshavin’s official website. Someone asked him about Bendtner and he said, “Bendtner a good footballer and my buddy. We have no problems”. Just thought that was kind of nice bcuz the press speculated that Arshavin said he doesn’t get along with every1 and the whole thing with Bendtner being misquoted too. Much better than what Diarra had 2 say :D

    209.85.229.132/translate_c?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://arshavin.eu/forum.php%3Fmid%3D54661%26PHPSESSID%3D45a6abe4faef388d5ad8cad7a24117e0&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://arshavin.eu/index.php%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1B3GGGL_enGB310GB310%26sa%3DG&usg=ALkJrhjzpxHXaMIwcwNbxDSMj0596kZ7lw]]>

  • Fabrez

    That is 1 long link…lol

  • Debs

    Yeah, I read that earlier and it was good to hear!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Gibbs is going to play today! Yay!

    According to Wenger:

    “At the moment yes Kieran Gibbs will play. I will see how well he does – he will play on Saturday. He is a player; I am confident that he will do well. ]]>

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…when i heard that I was pretty happy myself! Let’s see what he can do. I guess if he shows he is good enuff we’ll see Traore? Cuz we’ll have Clichy, Gibbs, Traore and Silvestre for LB. We need 2 have an extra RB actually…the balance there is a bit off…

  • debs

    We’ve only got Sagna as RB at the moment, right? Except if Wenger sees Eboue as an alternative? But yeah, it seems like we’ve got too many LBs and not enough RBs…

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Yeah...we've got the Eboue alternative but just we're quite fortunate to have a injury-free Sagna this term. Guess AW will trust in Gavin Hoyte when he comes back from Watford end of this season. And I'm sure u read it already Debs...but I just saw the bit on Arshavin not wanting to leave the Gunners on SSN... He said...

    "At Arsenal I feel at home. I like everything here, the friendly team, a wise and experienced manager, and fantastic fans. I won't leave the club for any money," he told the Russian press.

    "That we are fourth in the Premier League is an achievement of the whole of the team, not my own. I hope my real successes with Arsenal are still to come."

    I love 2 hear the guys talk about Arsenal like they do. Yesterday RvP now Arshavin! If Cesc leaves (hope not!), I'll have to change my name to "Arshavez"! lol :D]]>

  • Fabrez

    And Theo is talking about being happy at Arsenal…and becoming a great player under Wenger…reasons why i’ll b a Gooner 4 life. We need 2 start winning things now!

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[It's really encouraging seeing the players speak and feel so positively of the club. Long may it continue!

    Nice to hear Gibbs is getting a chance today too, its a good call from Wenger. This way he doesn't get thrown into the deep end against the likes of Villareal and Chelsea. Hope he, fabianski and Djourou get off to a good start!

    Good luck to the lads today! :)]]>

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…agreed Pete! Hope the boys put in a good 1 today!

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[lol Arshavez! :P
    I also read another article on sky sports where Arshavin said he'll probably see out his career at Arsenal, that his contract is long enough. Splendid news!
    I haven't seen much of Gavin Hoyte- I'll keep an eye on how he does at Watford...]]>

  • Debs

    Not a lot of players getting rests today. Interesting…

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[And no Eduardo! :(
    I bet he'll be ready in time for the FA cup, seeing as he's our FA cup hero!]]>