So tomorrow we take on West Ham in the FA Cup and it’s a chance to rest some of our most important players… As discussed yesterday, we’ll be without some very key players anyway in Clichy, Gibbs, Denilson, Cesc, Van Persie, Walcott and Bendtner but I’d expect Arsene to rest the likes of Arshavin, Nasri and Diaby. With Rosicky coming back to fitness again and Carlos Vela needing a run out and of course Eduardo needing more and more games to get back to match fitness.
Arsene does maintain the want and will to win, but of course. He does maintain the need to continue the league form and
“I will have to rest some players because there were some knocks against Portsmouth [on Wednesday]. Bolton is a very important game for us, so we want to keep our momentum going. I will change some players that is for sure. But while the Carling Cup is, for us, exclusively for young players, the FA Cup is one to win. A Cup is a Cup and we want to do well. A season is judged on the overall achievement. People look to who has won the trophies but I look as well at how we have done and how consistently we have played. This team is enjoyable to watch but also to manage because they just want to win every game.”
The games against Bolton and Everton are home games in the Premiership that we simply must win in order to have a chance of winning the league. And that is the focus. I think maybe if Chelsea and United hasn’t had such a bad December, we may have been a little more distant from the top and not found this game as “small” or less important as we do now. It’s a gamble from Arsene, but if we do get 6 points from the next 2 league games, it will be a gamble worth taking. If you imagine that we do field a full team against West Ham tomorrow, players got tired and injured and we ended up dropping points to Bolton and / or Everton, we’d be kicking ourselves.
“Yes I will rotate,” said Wenger. “We had a few players who played on the edge the other night and I will try not to take too big a risk for some players who are medically vulnerable at the moment, and protect one or two more. But we will have just as strong a side as we had at Portsmouth. We have a big test today with Senderos, he could be back. He has had an inflammation under his foot and every time he started to play the pain came back. That’s why I am a bit cautious today but he will have a definite test and we will see how he responds to that. He is physically very sharp because he has worked a lot with our fitness coach [Tony Colbert]. I just want to see now how he responds in training. I don’t know yet, it is too early. I still have 48 hours to decide. Rosicky was in the squad at Portsmouth and he could play on Sunday. But apart from that no one is back.”
Okay, time to look at the team news and rack brains to try and figure out who will be playing tomorrow. News is that Silvestre and Senderos were going to get the nod but more recent updates are that Senderos will require a fitness test in the morning. With Eboue on International duty, we may see Gilbert get a run out – I doubt we’d see the likes of Tom Cruise as we are looking to win the game more than blood the youngsters… so here’s a guess at the lineup…
Gilbert – Senderos – Song - Silvestre
Merida – Eastmond
Wilshere - Rosicky – Vela
What do you think? Too attacking…? Maybe Traore will play and Song moved to midfield…? It’s going to be interesting to see who Arsene chooses – with so many injuries, it is tempting to rest a lot of players, but we’ll see…
Remember, the game is on ITV tomorrow, coverage starting at 4pm, with kick off at 4.15pm.
Predictions, comments, feedback, bring it on… on facebook, twitter or comment below…!