Today we have 3pm kick off up “norf” against Newcastle United. It means that the game is not on TV and it means that it will be a huge streaming session. Maybe a trip to the gym for a steaming session is required first – but I could just do that at home – I have a kettle.
So Newcastle are without their super-money-transfer-out player in Andy Carroll – despite the transfer fee, which none of us will ever understand – Carroll was the their star performer and now they are without him (he wouldn’t have played anyway due to an injury) – but with Ameobi also out injured, that leaves their strikeforce consisting of Neil Ranger, I think? In fact, they have Alan Smith, Steven Ireland and Steven Taylor all out too – so if anything our first team should beat their reserves.
Our injuries consist of Denilson, Song, Nasri, Vermaelen and Fabianski, so it looks like “just about fit in time”, Abou Diaby will be the only choice in midfield:
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Diaby
Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Almunia, Eboue. Gibbs, Eastmond, Rosicky, Bendtner and Chamakh
The front four could just deliver something special if they are all on form. For me, Arshavin has played himself back into contention with some smart play in recent weeks and deserves to play now – we will need him to be firing on all cylinders come Barcelona!
Arsene spoke ahead of the game and had this to say:
“They had a fantastic game against us at the Emirates, where they did very well collectively. We lost the game that we will never forget to a header from Carroll. But we were a bit unlucky as well on the day because they had only one shot on target and that was their goal. Carroll has been injured for a long time, so it is difficult to predict whether it will be easier [without him]. Sometimes a team finds a different balance when a player goes out, so it is very hard to know. But certainly it is difficult to sell a striker of that calibre at 10.15pm and bring somebody in at 10.45pm. They have taken an opportunity to sell the player at a high price with the gamble of course that they might not replace him. But they have Ameobi, Best, Ranger – they have strikers still, don’t worry, and they will certainly want to invest that money later on. But they are still a good side, Newcastle. When they played at Fulham this week, the pitch was not the best and I think it handicapped the two teams. We expect Newcastle to be up for it against us and so we prepare ourselves to meet a good team.”
That’s one thing that will always be the case – Newcastle will be up for it – they will be raring to go and their home support love it when the big teams come to town. This game will be a tough one, any team with Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan means that players like Theo Waclott and Van Persie’s ankles are at serious risk. On Tuesday against Everton, the referee was terrible, and to the extreme level of terrible – today we need a good ref who understands the rules.
I should be back for match day live later today, and you can follow us on twitter @worldofarsenal…
Til later… have fun!