So it’s the weekend again and that means more football, this time in the form of a tricky FA Cup tie away at Stoke.
It almost makes a nice change after two consecutive games against Bolton, although I’d expect to see a very similar opposition. We all know that Stoke don’t play the greatest football, and rather like Bolton, they like to hoof the ball up-field and play a physical game. Whatever team Wenger puts out will have to be up for this and get stuck in as much as possible.
With the upcoming run of games, I’ve no doubt that there will be changes. Diaby is the latest player to be added to our ever growing injury list after the match on Wednesday. He picked up a calf injury and will miss both the Stoke and Villa games at a minimum. Bacary Sagna is another player who will definitely not be playing on Sunday. With Eboue away on international duty in Angola Wenger has chosen to rest the full back who has looked fairly jaded recently.
As a result, I’d expect to see a host of changes, and a lot of youngsters given a chance. Here’s what Wenger has had to say on the squad:
“We have called up Kyle Bartley, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Francis Coquelin, Gilles Sunu, and Craig Eastmond.
“Sol will be OK to play [after regaining fitness] but, right now, I don’t know if I play him. However it is a big opportunity for him if he does.”
Based on this, here is my predicted line up:
Eastmond – Silvestre – Campbell – Traore
Coquelin – Denilson
Walcott – Wilshere – Vela
We could see Emmanuel-Thomas play in the midfield 3 with Vela up top to give the midfield a bit more bite. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Wenger decides to do. I think Rosicky may also get a place in the squad, he’s been doing well recently and would be a great option to bring on if things aren’t going our way.
Whatever team is put out, it will be a very tough, physical challenge for them, but one that I believe we can win. Campbell at the back (should he play) adds a great deal of height and strength to the team, and as long as the rest of the team play the passing, flowing football we all know and love, we should be in the pot for the 5th Round Draw.
With United and Liverpool already out of the competition, it’s a great chance to win something. I’m sure all the players will know that and Wenger will too. So let’s hope we put in a good performance and kick off and extremely important couple of weeks with a win!