A massive greeting to all from Dubai, it’s quite nice over here compared to London weather wise, although when I left London yesterday, I did enjoy a bit of sun and today in Dubai it is quite windy…
There is an interesting fact that I think I’ll share with you first – and that is – if we beat Burnley tomorrow by a score line of 4-0, we will be top of the table. Can you imagine thinking that a few weeks ago when we were 9 points behind the lead and conceding goals left, right and centre…? Let’s not worry about the rest of the fixtures, we have 10 fixtures left. We play Burnley tomorrow and that’s all that matters right now. Let’s take every game, one game at a time.
Team news ahead of tomorrow’s game sees a few injury worries but some good news too. We’ll hopefully see the return of Andrei Arshavin to the squad. With Tuesday’s game in mind and the lack of playing time recently, it’s important he starts the game or comes on for a period of time. He’s a game changer, a game winner, and can definitely contribute to both tomorrow’s and Tuesday’s game. Denilson and Diaby should also be back in the squad, but both will be coming back from an injury. Based on the last week or so, I’d predict Denilson gets a run out in the defensive midfield role as Alex Song is not available due to suspension. Diaby may not start but could start against Porto in midweek.
Arsene highlighted the injury concerns in his press pre-match conference earlier today saying:
“We have the luck that Denilson could be available again. He did not travel to Stoke last week because he had an injury to his calf. Arshavin could be available and there is a little, little chance that Diaby could be available again too. I am convinced that Denilson and Arshavin will be OK but for Diaby it is 50:50. Gallas is still out and we have a little problem with Sol Campbell. We will check that tomorrow. Carlos Vela will not be considered for Saturday because he comes back too late from international duty. If we have good news from the other players coming back we should still have a strong squad out.”
Theo Walcott had roughly an hour for England midweek, and the players – in my eyes – is improving and starting to kick on – I really do think an injury free run in the team will help him be more consistent and more apt within the match. Arsene took time out to talk about Theo and I agree with Arsene entirely…
“I believe Theo will be a great football player, he is very young, he will be 21 this year, he will have a great future. I believe in him because he has a fantastic attitude, he’s an intelligent boy and he is highly motivated. These players always improve.”
And in reaction to Chris Waddle’s comments that “Theo is all pace and no brain”, Arsene said this:
“Don’t worry for him. I believe Theo has not only a football brain, but he has a brain, that means he will continue to develop at a very quick pace.”
Gallas and Campbell are most likely out too – the former not being risked as he’s yet to recover with a calf injury and the latter with a groin injury. At the back, I’d therefore expect a partnership of Silvestre and Vermaelen, which means that Vermaelen is likely to play on the right of the pairing, which will see three left footers at the back.
With Emmanuel Eboue really excelling at the moment, he’s a player that can also change a game and for that reason, I’d like to see more of him. Sagna is first choice at right back, but I think Eboue is more effective up front, or against teams where we don’t need to be too defensive. Okay, let’s take a look at the possible team:
Sagna – Vermaelen – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Nasri
Eboue – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Fabianski, Traore, Bartley, Campbell, Diaby, Rosicky and Walcott
The only thing I can see is that if Diaby is fit and Campbell is fit, then they may start ahead of Silvestre and Nasri – but with a game so soon – on Tuesday – something we have to win (yes, I know I said one game at a time), when players at not 100%, then do you risk them. We will take one game at a time, let’s push on and hit Burnley for six or at least four (well, at least the 3 ponts)… I’ve managed to get through a post this week without mentioned Aaron Ramsey. Oops, I just did – oh well, I have a lot more to talk about regarding Ramsey, but I’ll leave it until after the Burnley and Porto games…
So, with Man United playing at 5.30 the same night – I would expect them to beat Wolves – we could grab top spot or joint top spot for a period of a couple of hours – who said we’re out of the title race?