The “FA cup not in it” lull has come to an end and tomorrow we take on the mighty Porto at the Estadio do Dragao. It is going to be a cagey encounter, where we know a win or a draw will put us in good stead for the home game two weeks today…
Team news ahead of the game tomorrow is that we’ve got quite a few absentees… Gallas is out with a calf injury that will see him miss tomorrow’s game, but apparently he will be back for the weekend. Arsene has talked about him being on the edge of getting injured and that it’s lucky that he hasn’t, so this little niggle should be expected. It’s reassuring to have Sol Campbell able to come in and replace him rather than Mikael Silvestre – even though Campbell is older than the Frenchman and has probably made a lot more “errors of judgement”, I’d still prefer him at the back rather than Silvestre.
Eduardo was thought to be back for this game, but unfortunately, he’s also out – the good news is that Carlos Vela returns, so at least we have a striking option alternative to Niklas Bendtner. Alex Song hasn’t recovered from his knee injury yet, and as we knew before, Andrei Arshavin is out for a couple of weeks. The interesting news outside of that is that Matty Almunia is out with a “finger injury” and Arsene recently admitted that Almunia had recently been playing with a twisted finger – which I find very very strange – how on earth can a keeper play with an injury to a finger… here’s what Arsene said:
“Manuel Almunia has a finger injury, and the hand is quite useful for goalkeepers. He had already a twisted finger and he made it worse and I didn’t want to take a gamble on it. Eduardo has a recurrence of his hamstring injury.”
Maybe the whole Stoke, Villa, Untied, Chelsea, Liverpool was too important or tense for Arsene to switch keepers, and now it’s over, we can “ease” Fabianski back into first team action… interestingly, some papers have reported that Eduardo hasn’t recovered from his injury in time, but will be back for Saturday, but quite clearly here, Arsene has cited a recurrence of the injury, meaning he’ll probably be out for much longer…
So, let’s look at the line up – the first 8 picks itself I think (back 5 and three in the middle) and it’s the wingers that we’re all not sure about….
Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy
Diaby – Denilson
The front four could be:
Walcott – Cesc – Nasri
Eboue – Cesc – Rosicky
Nasri – Cesc – Rosicky
I think Arsene will play either Walcott or Eboue and Rosicky or Nasri – one with guile and one with pace. Goonerman from the comments seems to think it will be the middle one (Eboue and Rosicky), but with Nasri on such good form and with Walcott in need of games, I’d be more inclined to go with the first option. The bench will most likely be (if option 1 is chosen): Mannone, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Ramsey, Rosicky and Vela. Your thoughts on the team selection duly welcome!
A few videos to finish off with, first the Inspired by Zidane post that been making the rounds…
Inspired by “Zidane – A 21st Century Portrait”, A Night At The Emirates is a unique and immersive documentary. Shot with a single camera on the 10th February 2010 during the game against Liverpool, the film is about the Arsenal matchday experience from the perspective of the fans.
And finally, I want to get you into South Africa spirit and World Cup frenzy… check out the new Akon video:
Adios for now…