So, after a good back to back set of wins against Bolton, and a rise to the summit, we have a momentary break from the league in the form of the FA cup and we find a few players injured and maybe a few more rested. Diaby is out of the game on the weekend and out of the midweek game too against Villa, as he has a calf strain and Bacary Sagna will be rested. I don’t think he will be the only one rested and I’d expect to see a little rotation – although we don’t have too many options due to the very vast injury list!
As expected, Cameroon have advanced to the next round of the African Cup of Nations, although they did give us hope as they twice went behind to Tunisia, although the end result of a draw means they come second in the group by virtue of winning their opening game… Zambia, Cameroon and Gabon all ended up on 4 points with Tunisia on 3 – that is probably the tightest and silliest end result – but it means we will be without Alex Song for a while longer. Egypt take on Cameroon on Monday and I hate to say it, but I will be supporting Egypt.
Anyway, back to the FA cup and Stoke it is on Sunday – it’s a tough one – it will be a physical one too – and without Diaby, we’ll have an average height of 5′ 8″… I’m away in Paris from Friday to Sunday, so you may be graced with JAT’s pre-match preview. I’ll try not to speak too much about the game, as I’ll leave that for JAT.
Evaluating the game on Wednesday, Denilson returned to the starting line up. He did look a little rusty, but that could be due to the injury. He will most likely feature again on Sunday at Stoke and again at Villa and we can judge his fitness and progression. Earlier this season he was pretty awesome, and scored some good goals. He was delighted at the come back saying:
“It was very difficult for us in the first half. [At half time] the boss said we had to show how much we care to win. In the second