Time to turn our attention to the FA Cup…

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 half we put in a brilliant performance.  Now we have to continue to focus in training and in the games and the results will come.”

The return of Denilson got me and Bob thinking about who our best first team was. Who are our best XI and it was a tough one, but it made us realise the strength in depth we have. We did this on the premise of no players being injured. Let me take you through the teams first and then after this, I will explain my decisions.

Team One

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Diaby – Song

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

Team Two

Eboue – Djourou – Campbell – Gibbs

Denilson – Ramsey

Walcott – Nasri – Eduardo

Bendtner

Team Three

Gilbert – Senderos – Silvestre – Traore

Eastmond – Merida

Watt – Wilshere – Vela

Simpson

Now, that’s three teams of players who have all played in the first team and when you look at the squad like that, you can kind of see why Arsene doesn’t want to buy – I really don’t think any other team in the league can do what we can do – think about it? Can Liverpool, Chelsea or Man United do what we have done above. The first two teams look very good, don’t they? The only area is potentially the defence in the second and third teams, but look at the strength in depth we have. Poor Tom Cruise who has featured in the first team hasn’t made it in the three teams above, neither have players like Coquelin and JET – both on the bench against Bolton on Sunday.

Another controversial decision is that Carlos Vela doesn’t make the first or second team! Am I wrong? Who would you replace to have him in either team?

I think we’d all agree on current form that the first team chosen is the best, the right side midfield position probably the only debatable one, we have three players in Nasri, Walcott and Rosicky who could all play there. I’ve chosen Rosicky because he has probably had the best rating of those three throughout their rare cameos.

Food for thought hey!?!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with that and they’ll be a Stoke preview coming to you tomorrow somehow!

  • Mehedi
  • Sam

    I’ve been watching the African games, and can confirm that Song will be on the first available flight on Tuesday. I’d hate to admit it but Egypt is a well oiled machine and Cameroon are really terrible.
    Would this mean Song will be available for ManU on 31st? Certainly hope so.

  • Arsefan101

    If Song got back on Tuesday then yes, he would definitely be back for the United game! Come on Egypt!

  • devday

    It’s really bad that we want Song to lose isn’t it!!?? But we want our [very good] player back ASAP!

  • JDD

    nasri should be in team one and so should fabianksi.

  • tom G

    nasri in for who JDD?

  • JDD

    id probly say diaby

  • tom G

    wd agree JDD except for Diaby’s height and the fact that he’s been playing so well recently.. we need some bulk in there.. but it’s a good sign that even Nasri can’t walk into the ‘first’ team. really feels like a good squad though doesn’t it?

  • JDD

    yh theres competition all over the pitch.apart from centr-half.but i still think we need another striker.

  • JDD

    devday now that were top do you regret this comment ‘but it looks like it’s down to the 3 cups if we’re going to win a trophy this season.’ lol

  • kodjo

    Yes i think it is insensitive and that some folks want cameroun to lose (even though i see the funny side of it and the serious side as well).

    arsenal want their “rock” back given the games around the corner. what do you do….just hope that arsenal wins and cameroun wins as well…right?

  • Sam

    I know it seems insensitive to want Song back, but it’s a fact that Cameroon have no chance in hell to beat Egypt. There’s another Song in Cameroon team, in defence, and he leaks goals.
    So no bad intentions on my part, just being realistic!