The Preview: Birmingham, Shaktar, Man City

Morning Folks…

It’s been a crazy week in the wonderful world of Arsenal – or to be exact – probably the most boring week known to any Gooner. The only real news is the progression of Aaron Ramsey – his return from injury has been exciting us all this week, especially these awesome pictures…

Yes, the main man is back – well back very soon… and we’re all dreaming of a Cesc / Wilshere / Ramsey midfield keeping us entertained for years to come!

Talking of Jack Wilshere – why on earth he was pulled out of the Under 21’s – just to sit on the bench for the seniors, despite them needing some invention in their dire 0-0 draw? It makes no sense, but by him not playing since last weekend, he will be a little bit fresher for the home game against Birmingham tomorrow!

Yes, I said tomorrow – the Premiership is back!

And it’s back with some good news and some bad news – as you probably already know, Bacary Sagna is out and will remain out for a few weeks – which will see Emmanuel Eboue come in at right back to deputise, which in my view, somehow boosts our attack too! Arsene talked about the injury situation and who is available at the weekend ahead of tomorrow game:

“We have some good news because for a while we’ve had only bad news. Nicklas Bendtner is back in the squad and Kieran Gibbs is back too. Let’s not forget that since last November Nicklas has produced here and there but never had a consistent presence because of his injuries. Apart from the fact he went to the World Cup we have not seen the real Nicklas Bendtner for a long, long time. He is the closest he has been to his best for a while. He was really, really handicapped by groin problems but they have gone now. Theo might be involved on Saturday as well. He has normal training tomorrow. I might put him in the squad. I will see how he is but he looks very, very sharp. The only uncertainty is his ankle but he might be involved. Cesc is very, very short and unlikely to be involved [on Saturday]. He has a little chance for Tuesday. Sagna is ten days, Vermaelen is ten days, Almunia is a question of days but Van Persie looks to be a bit longer.”

So there is the update – and Nikki B is finally fit. After initial fears that the Danish International would be out until the new year, the news that he is back in the squad is excellent news – the worry, however, is the lack of match practice and the decision not to play him in any reserves prior to putting him back into the squad. When you look at other clubs, you always see players returning from injuries play in reserve games. With us, you don’t see it enough, and is that related to the strength of our squad or the impatience of the manager. I’ve seen it with players like Denilson and Djourou, but not with Diaby, Cesc or Bendtner. It’s like his favourites don’t have to play reserve games. Personally, I think that’s to our detriment and surely it’s related to why the likes of the three aforementioned players seem to more injured than the others.

It looks like Sagna and Vermaelen will be missing for the next three games, but could be back for the Newcastle away game. Gibbs back for Saturday and so is Walcott, although I expect Theo to be on the bench. So, my team looks like this:


Eboue – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy

Song – Wilshere

Nasri – Diaby – Arshavin


With a strong bench of Szcznesy, Gibbs, Djourou, Denilson, Rosicky, Vela and Bendtner – hold on, where does that leave Walcott? Okay, so it’s a tough one… With enough in reserve at the moment and Cesc and Almunia back in time for Tuesday, we can afford to rotate a little better now…

For those of you who are worried over Cesc’s most recent comments, I wouldn’t worry about it – nothing has changed and there is no reason to get worked up over it… even better… why not celebrate the 9-0 victory in the Womens Champions League… well done!

Okay, that’s a wrap… more tomorrow!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I must say I was screaming at the TV during the England game. We were 0-0 and Barry was playing really, really badly and poor Jack was sitting on the bench watching him. I mean seriously Capello, if a player is having a shocker and you have the most promising midfielder in the prem sitting right behind you. Against Montenegro at home!!! GIVE THE LAD A CHANCE!!!

    I am doubting Capello as a tactician and a man-manager!! Snubs Beckham and the youngsters and always plays 4-4-2…did I mention we were playing Montenegro at HOME!!.

    Back to Arsenal:

    Finally we have some of our squad back, although it will still take time to get them up to speed on match days but hopefully they will hit the ground running…we might even win a game.

  • dp

    Looks like I spoke too soon, Theo, B52 and Gibbs back, but Koscielny now out!
    How on earth has he got injured during a rest week?

  • vj

    just putting it out there, a return to 4-4-2


    Eboue Squillaci Koscileny CLichy

    Walcott Nasri Song Arshavin

    Chamakh Bendtner

  • Berth

    Good game. My favorite part of the game was the foul by Wilshere on Zigic – How the headline will change and focus on Arsenal being rough is left to be imagined. Least I forget Fabianski had a good game.

  • goonerman

    I would never normally do this and dont get me wrong their not my favourite people but you have to geive big credit to alex mcliesh and phil thompson.

    Wenger admitted straight after the game it was a fair red and he also told the media that jack acknowledged the red card was deserved but to be fair to Mcleish he come out after the game and said it was a red but straight away he saiid there was no malice or anything and that it was purely an accident and finally phil thompson also said the red was far but went on to really praise wilshire for the game he had.

    That red card is what is talked about but jack wilshere played a quality game of fottball and other than one silly challenge he is not just a promising youngster anymore hes turning into an amazing midfielder and a player who can control a game, it just shows what an idot fabio capello is when he relies on gareth barry when he has that kind of talent sitting on the bench

  • Goonerman

    Just thought I’d share a couple of quotes from the biggest prick in the premier league!

    Pulis said: “Wenger is perceived to be a genius but he hasn’t delivered a trophy in six years.

    “I have exciting and skilful players like Etherington, Fuller and Tuncay and I am sure they wouldn’t have joined us if we were as bad as Wenger makes out.

    Then goes on to say

    “I’ve got nothing against foreign managers, they are very nice people. Apart from Arsene Wenger.”

  • Goonerman

    Tuncay and etherington! How can the idiot compare them to the players wenger has produced and spotted like viera, Henry, pires, overmars, bergkamp, cesc, Ashley cole, van persie. The list goes on wenger turned most of these from unknown and sometimes unwanted into world class players and even legends.

    He’s done as much for the premier league in his time as fergie and let’s not forget the unbeaten season which even fergie has never done, oh I forgot about how he moved us into the second biggest club ground in England while still challenging without even spending much money. That is why he is classed as a genius yony pulps you complete and utter moron!

  • jeffvip

    Is the Chakmakh win the most penalty this season? LOL

  • Shawn

    that was a stupid challenge from whilsher but brilliant game . . . expected more goals though, arshavin has been disappointing so far, hope he sits up. welcome back B52 now we only have a 100 players injured . . .