Liverpool vs Arsenal: Eduardo set to start…

Some people have mentioned that we'd prefer to throw the game away so that Liverpool win - that way it puts more pressure on Man United and ultimately will help us beat them in the Champions League. Realistically, we shouldn’t even think about this whatsoever. For us, we need to finish 3rd or 2nd to automatically qualify for the Champions League as the new rules come into effect as of next season.

If we can beat Liverpool, yes it will hurt our CL chances, but we must go into every game believing and wanted to win. Once you start losing, it can often be hard to stop.

So, today marks the return of Eduardo – he’s in line for his first competitive start as Arsene shuffles the pack. New International amongst other news agencies have said:

Arsenal striker Eduardo is set to make his first start in a Premier League match in fourteen months when the Gunners travel to Liverpool this evening.

The Croatia forward has made just three first-team appearances – two in the FA Cup and another as a substitute in the Champions League – since his leg was broken by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor last February. But with Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor both ruled out of tonight’s game at Anfield, Eduardo is poised for a starting spot alongside Nicklas Bendtner.

With Walcott due to be rested, it may see Arshavin and Nasri deployed on the wings.

The possible line up for tonight could well be:

Fabianski

Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

Arshavin – Cesc – Song – Nasri

Bendtner – Eduardo

or, if the papers aren’t to be believed and Arsene’s preference for always playing Diaby and trying desperately to play 4-5-1 away from home, which often sees Diaby run around going forward and lose the ball, then we may just see…

Fabianski

Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

Walcott – Cesc – Song – Diaby – Arshavin

Bendtner

With all these injuries and lack of consistent formations, I think Arsene will keep us guessing right up to 7pm tonight!

Before I go, here’s what Arsene said about tonight’s game:

“You never know how teams will respond,” he said. “But I believe you can never say to your team – even if that was the case – take your foot off the pedal because you do not know what kind of consequence a defeat has on the team and the belief.

“I feel it is always better to win your big games because it makes you stronger for the next one. So we will have nothing to do with ‘favourising’ Liverpool or Manchester United because we want to win. It’s a big game and we just want to win it. We have not secured fourth place and we can still be third,” said Wenger. Wednesday night is Chelsea v Everton and you never know, if Chelsea drop points and we play Chelsea at home we can come back on third.

“We just have to accept what happened on Saturday, to deal with it and not repeat it. We have many big games coming up and we feel we can win them.“Winning is what we live for. We cannot be happy with only trying to remain fourth. We want to get closer to the top and have a good opportunity to come back to six points on Liverpool this evening.

“Third place is important, second place is important and why not first? You never know. You do not want to have regrets. We want to win every single game, no matter what competition we play in. Of course we are disappointed having lost in the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup, but we want to bounce back quickly. We have so many important targets in front of us and want to focus on that.”

On a side note, Matty Flamini is trying to tempt Adebayor away from Arsenal to Milan and has been in the press saying:

‘He (Adebayor) is a great player and if he was to move to Milan he would boost us,’ Flamini told Datasport. ‘He was already very strong when he arrived at Arsenal, but he has improved a lot up there, and became one of the best strikers in the world.’

Interesting public tapping up by Matthieu “No Morals” Flamini…

Anyway, bring on the ‘pool, it’s time for another big game…]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Sammy Lee has been in the press:

    "Do they have a weakened team? We've seen lots of different rotations this season and they've all produced the goods," said Lee, standing in for manager Rafael Benitez.

    "They'll be well organised and prior to Saturday's defeat against Chelsea they hadn't lost in 18. They won't be weak in any shape or form.

    "Whichever team they put out tonight we know it will be a very difficult task.

    Whereas Arbeloa says it's a cup final today!

    "This match against Arsenal is like a cup final for us," Arbeloa told Sky Sports.

    "Now that we are only left in one competition we need to make sure we do not make any mistakes. Winning the title will not be easy, but it is not impossible.]]>

  • JAT

    who said anything about throwing the game away? just taking the positives from a likely defeat!

  • devday

    Are you joining me for the game?

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Alan Hansen speaks...........

    "Arsenal will be a tough test; after all, they're unbeaten in their last 18 league games.

    "However, after being knocked out of the cup at the weekend and with one eye on their Champions League semi this may be a good time to play them.

    "You just don't know what will happen in this game. It's a tricky one for Arsene Wenger as he'll want to maintain his team's momentum but will also try to strike a balance between resting those that need it but not at the expense of his young side's confidence.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Kieran this one's for you mate. Notice the part where Wenger talks about his preferred position for Song.

    "I read articles that stated Song was the worst signing I ever made since I am at Arsenal," Wenger said.
    Patience

    "I was one of the few people who kept faith in him. But we just needed to be patient.

    "He helps the team to be well balanced because he is more defensive than the other midfielders. However I rather consider him as a centre defender."

    Song meanwhile is just focused on repaying Wenger's faith in him: "I am not the same player I was two years ago," he said.

    "I have more trust in me as have my team-mates. I play where the coach asks me, and it went off smoothly so far.

    "The boss has trust in me, it is up to me to show he has been right."]]>

  • devday

    I love Song.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/ kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[I love Song - I also didn't say he shouldn't play there. What I said is he has no top flight experience in the position Zohaib. There is a big difference!

    Personally I don't have Song down as a central defender and I wonder if this is Wenger trying to adapt a player he already has to fill a hole rather than buying to fill the hole? Certainly against Villereal Song showed some brilliantly creative play in the midfield, enough to make me think that's his best position.

    However, I'm certain he can play at centre back and I'm sure he'd play well.

    But alongside Gibbs and Eboue? Really? Does that fill you with confidence? Alongside Sagna and Clichey I could sit a bit more comfortable....

    Do you see what I mean?]]>

  • Fabrez

    No Edu start but a relatively silent Arshavin pops up at the right time 2 slam one of the crossbar and in… Liverpool have easily dominated the 1st half. We need another goal if we want to win this game because Liverpool looks very very threatening! Good 2 know we have Edu and Theo on the bench! C’mon Gunners!!!!!!!!!

  • debs

    Classic match this, but I’ll be gutted if we lose though. Great hat-trick from Arshavin by the way. Can’t take my eyes away from this match..

  • Fabrez

    OH MY WOOOOOOOOOOORDDDDDDDDDD!!!! CRACKER! CLASSIC! ARSHAVINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!! BTW… Did any1 notice we cud have nicked it at the end when i think Cesc was given a poor-ish pass then robbed of the ball in the 94/95th minute? The pass lacked momentum and there was just Reina really to protect Liverpool’s goal? We could have got a 5th!!! SO so so so proud of the guys! The adrenalin is still pumping! I got these flashes of extreme joy when Arshavin scored each goal! I literally flew of the coach each time!!!

  • Fabrez

    Where r the Gooners o!!! Debs!

  • Fabrez

    I think i need a cold shower…bcuz that game was too much! Wat a game…an away game mind u…so we go away with a bit more credibility in terms of the result even tho we didn’t play that well….it was more capitalising on Liverpool’s errors and they did the same. Arshavin is one of the best finishers in the world…that is for certain!!!

  • debs

    I’m trying to type a message on my laptop but it keeps misbehaving. I think it’s still trying to recover from that match! lol.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Just have four points to make:

    Arshavin; one of Arsene's most serious buy in recent years.

    Denilson shouldn't start any game ahead of Song In DMF. If he does , should be pushed upfront.

    To win the league next season please buy a serious defender,as you did when you bought Arshavin (to Arsene)

    Fabregas disappoints sometimes; seemed frustrated playing with Denilson and a bit unprofessional in my opinion, was he thinking like Zohaib, wanting Liverpool to win the league rather than man u?]]>

  • Fabrez

    Hmm…fix that laptop debs!! lol And agree with all your points mate…all 4 a spot on!

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[Although we drew after leading 3 times, I'm actually not upset or nothing, seeing as like Fabrez said, it was an away game and everyone expected us to lose. But Arshavin scoring 4 goals! And it's only his first appearance against anyone else in the Big 4. I only watched the 2nd half and that's easily the best and worst 2nd half ever! lol. Was sorting out dinner for myself but absolutely forgot about it! lol
    But credit to the guys for attacking at every opportunity, and it's a shame we don't have our first choice back 4, or even back 5! But I think Fabianski did a whole lot better than the last game, even though we conceded four goals.
    We're still unbeaten in I can't remember how many games, so that's a good thing! And I guess this game just goes to show how much of a loss Gallas is to us at the moment.]]>

  • debs

    Yeah pissed off. I think Fabregas usually gets really carried away in matches. Maybe he’s wayyy to passionate sometimes, but I think we need such a character around the team, but he does need to tone it down sometime. I’ve given up on the laptop Fabrez! i think I need to restart it but I can’t be bothered at the moment cos I’m listening to ATVO! My phone will have to do for now! lol

  • debs

    Oh, has anyone noticed that all the matches we’ve played against the others in the big 4 this season, it’s been just one person scoring all the goals in each match? Interesting! (Not 100% sure my stat is right though!)

  • Pissed off

    Arshavin said after the match “I liked the game but of course it’s not good for the team…almost basketball.” – was he actually referring to our defence?

  • Fabrez

    Haha…don’t blame ya debs! And yesssss…we were so so solid b4 our defensive injuries! First we aren’t scoring now we r leaking goals!!! Ahhh!!! Clichy…Manuel…Gallas/Djourou… where are u!!! lol And Fabianski was a bit nervous…could have been a bit better…had communication problems with his defence again…:( A bit worrying… And Sagna wasn’t his best but that was surely understandable…hope he can feel 100% soon…he’s been immense most of the season!

  • debs

    lol! I guess he meant the game with it going end to end all the time. But our defence wasn’t up to scratch, but that was to be expected. Thanks to Liverpool’s defence for making ours not to look too bad in comparison!

  • Fabrez

    Nah…i think he was talking about the entire game…the ball was just in the net all game long…at both ends…like in basketball… Well that’s my take on it anyway!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…somewhere along those lines debs! And yeah…thanks Liverpool for that! It was a cracker but the defensive errors were mainly 2 blame for most of the goals….

  • wherewasgunnersaurus

    < ![CDATA[re-basketball i think he meant it's not good for the team game when 1 person does all the scoring...aka Colby Bryant of Lebron James...

    On the whole Liverpool looked like they wanted it more, and we did good to tie thanks to flawless finishing...that's what 15mil get's you!]]>

  • Fan

    Our defense was just bad. We leave big gaps between our back 4, poor clearance, poor back passes, failing to closeout Torres when he is in the box. So frustrating.

  • Debs

    Remember Fan that it’s not our first choice defence, including the goalie. I think that’s the only positive from it all.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Fan this is what we are used to as Arsenal fans. Defending will always be a problem. I know most people must really commend Song - Yes he played really well, though most times unsure of his passes, he did close down to the best of his abilities, frustrating players, that Denilson and Diaby can never do. That been said, I really belief in precision, Arshavin gave us that and shows that we can be world beaters if we can be a bit precise about everything, both from our buys down to our play. Arshavin just proved that, kids are good but excellent and precise players are needed to finish the Job.

    DMF and defender (top quality) still important for the team. And Wenger should forget about sentiments and play players in deserved position; I guess he realized his mistake in the Chelsea match; prompting Denilson's removal today or was it fluke.]]>

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…true…but there were still some horrid decisions being made…passing it out of defense under pressure was one of them…just swing ur foot thru it plz!! Arshavin defended better than our back 4…real talk! But what can ya say? Just want our injured players back…pretty sure we all do!

  • Fabrez

    Denilson aint a DM…that’s 1 thing i’ve noticed! He and Diaby are definitely attacking players that I don’t think shud b molded into DMs…my honset opinion. We’ve definitely got enuff attack minded CMs…and surely Arsene will strengthen our central defense come the summer.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I know we only drew, but MAN!!!!!! WHAT A GAME!!!!

    Arshavin is my new Arsenal hero. Absolute legend!!!!

    First half I thought Fabianski didn't do too badly, especially as Liverpool started off the game at full pelt. He made quite a few good saves, and getting to half-time with a clean sheet was impressive considering the amount of chances they had. Plus the goals that were conceded were also due to defencive errors, not just goalkeeping errors. I don't like singling out individuals as it's a team game, but I don't think I've seen Sagna play so badly in a match in all his time as a Gunner. His poor clearence that led to Liverpools build up of their first goal had me fuming, and I didn't see him get much else right either. Not a good day at the office for him sadly.

    Nasri, Song, and Cesc did some pretty nifty stuff for us, and when Theo came on he eventually got a chance to run and set up a cracking goal. Felt a little sorry for Bendtner having his goal ruled out. He was always going to have a tough game playing as a lone striker.

    Credit to Liverpool, in particular Yossi Benayoon, and also to the ref Howard Webb. Very good indeed.

    Just a question though. Where did the 5 mins of added time come from? Crazy!!!

    Gutted we didn't get the 3 points that were there for the taking though, but what a spectacular game.]]>

  • Debs

    I guess Sagna’s performance can be sort of ‘excused’ cos he’s just had a virus, and I think if we had adequate cover, he definitely wouldn’t have played, cos he definitely didn’t seem to be 100% fit. I think a draw was a fair result, cos no team deserved to lose. And to be honest, if anyone deserved to win, it was Liverpool cos they dominated practically the whole match. Apparently Reina didn’t even have to make any saves, and the 4 goals we scored were from the only 4 shots we had on target. Amazing stat! Especially seeing as all those 4 chances were as a result of mistakes from Liverpool. I’m happy with a point really.

  • Fabrez

    lol…on Sky, after 3 goals went in they said Reina is probably saying, “They’ve scrored 3 goals and I’ve had nothing to save!” Or something like that! Was quite funny really. Reina really saved nothing…including our 2 disallowed goals! lol

  • Fabrez

    I think i wa so astonished by Arhavin’s beaver trick, Liverpool’s last goal didn’t particularly hurt! 1 point is good gor us given our defensive horror story and Liverpool continuously throwing the bathroom sink at us…

  • Fabrez

    *I was so

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[*Arshavin's

    Damn typos lol]]>

  • Debs

    lol! I also just realised that we didn’t even have any corners. None at all, compared to liverpool’s 12! Wow! Amazing! Fabrez I think it might not be long before you change your name to Arshavez!!!

  • Fabrez

    LOL! Debs…it crossed my mind tonight! It really did! Temptation!! But Cesc is still may fav…and i was pleased he recently calmed the rumours…for a few weeks anyway… saying he wanted to stay here and win things with Arsenal! Arshavin saying he wants to stay here for possibly the rest of his career makes me even happier tho! lol I wonder how Arshavin will take to Arsene’s policy of only giving short contracts with players 30+ yrs old? Just a thought…we hardly seem to keep players once they get to 30… At least Arshavin is on a “long-term contract”… I reckon he’ll b gold for a few yrs to come…even at 33, 34…that’s just the feeling i get!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[He's probably going to end his career here. He's only ever had one other club so I don't really think he'd be bothered to leave! lol. But our own policy like you say, could be the issue, but I think if he was only offered a one-yr contract when he's that age, he'd take it and I'm sure he'd be spectacular yet again in the season and the boss will want to renew it- I think!
    There's got to be a way you can incorporate both players into your name Fabrez! Home-work for you! lol.
    I actually can't wait for Arshavin to play in the CL next season! We'd be something else! (defensive issues sorted by then hopefully!) Still a long way away though! But I think he'd be gutted if we won the CL this yr without him. Not saying he'd want us to lose obviously, lol, but I'm sure deep down, he'd prefer we won it with him next year!]]>

  • Pete

    He cracks me up with some of the faces he pulls when he scores too lol. Always sticking his tongue out :P

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Fabshavin maybe? :D I don't feel it as much as Fabrez/Arshavez tho! Dilemma!! Got to work on that! lol Movin 2 London has sounded like a mission for him and his family...understadably so...so they mite as well stay init! I hope he stays for the rest of his career...it's a gr8 feeling as a fan when players want to stay to the end!
    As fot the CL...heck...let's win it this yr and nxt! Problem solved! :D]]>

  • Fabrez

    lol..yeah Pete…that just adds to his character…so vibrant and positive! Great lad!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I particular love his reaction when he scored the 4th. He's got like 4 fingers up and his facial expression is like 'What?!!! Where did that come from?!' lol
    I think even though we drew when we coulda won with like one minute, the dressing room will be buzzing, thanks to Arshavin's magic!]]>

  • Debs

    It’s sort of overshadowed the fact that Eduardo didn’t play :( He’s definitely got to play against Boro on sunday!!! He does need match practice. Maybe he’ll play 2moro, but I doubt that though. I bet he’s itching to get on the pitch once more.

  • Fabrez

    His reactions put a smile on our faces! Besides him being cup-tied, he’s been perfect for us! Being cup-tied also made it easier for us to get him! But i’m ever so happy we did. Edu…i did want him 2 play myself…surely he’s raring to go! 2morro is the youth cup so he can’t play. Can’t wait to see him back!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[For what he's done so far, I think he's definitely worth far much more than we paid for him. Massive bargain! Well done Arsene! :)
    Can't wait for Eduardo to be back too. No more FA cup, so I guess it's got to be in the PL or the CL. I predict a hat-trick in his next game! no pressure! lol
    As for the youth cup should be a fascinating match! Watched the 1st leg on ATVO and I'm really looking forward to the 2nd leg. Come on you (younger) gunners!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Sorry folks. My net was down for 2 whole days. It was pretty frustrating. I wasn't even able to comment on one of the best football matches I have ever seen.

    Kieran - I see what you're saying mate. Absolutely. And what I meant was, I feel more confident (not very confident) with Song at CB rather than Silvestre, regardless of who all is playing around them. If what Silvestre gives you is experience, it wasn't much good when Torres scored the 1st and the 3rd goal for Liverpool against us.

    Eboue can't defend. Toure was present. Gibbs has proved he can be a dependable LB in Clichy's absence. I don't see how having Eboue and Gibbs at the back makes a case for not having Song over Silvestre. It's probably experience, what you meant. But as we've seen, experience alone isn't enough.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Wenger played Cesc as a 5th, attacking midfielder/support striker, so I can't really comment on why he didn't have a smashing game. He was playing out of position.

    Maybe we're all missing the point. Although this might sound a bit far-fetched, I think (and hope) that the reason why Wenger's playing Cesc as a SS is so that maybe he can improve upon his individual forward play. He currently lacks a bit of pace and penetration at CM. Sometimes when he needs to keep the ball and take a shot, he'll pass it to somebody else instead. Maybe that's a confidence issue. So maybe, and hopefully, playing him at SS will teach him some of what he lacks, and needs to improve upon.

    Maybe it was because Cesc isn't world-class at defending from CM. So instead of having just the one DM we're having to play with two. Which is unusual. And I'd rather have Cesc as one of the 2 central midfielders if I want to play a 4 - 2 - 3 - 1. Not 2 DMs.]]>

  • zohaib

    But for that we need a proper DM (not 2 DMs doing the job of one DM). And Song is developing into one. So I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see Wenger not buying a proper DM in the market. But I feel we need to. Since injuries always seem to screw our season up.