Arsenal vs Stoke Preview – Van Persie & Koscielny Miss Out

Yesterday the Arsenal world was rocked with the news that Robin Van Persie has a hamstring injury and will miss today’s game. With Chamakh and Bendtner woeful in recent games and Vela and JET plying their trade elsewhere, yesterday was full of debate on who / how we should overcome his injury. My comments in yesterday’s blog comments were not meant to imply that Bendtner and Chamakh are “suddenly” useless – but instead a comment on both of them in regards to form or lack of it.

Both Chamakh and Bendtner have not really stolen any headlines in their outings – remember, they have played Leeds home & away, Ipswich, Huddersfield and Leyton Orient – games in which Premierhip strikers normally get a few goals… But with Van Persie injured, one of the aforementioned two will play… so the question is who will get the nod?

Maroune Chamakh

Chamakh started his Arsenal career well, and in his first 20 games, was the lone striker – he scored 10 goals during this period and despite Van Persie’s 11 in 9, you’ve got to consider 10 in 20 is not a bad scoring rate – and something that endeared him to the Arsenal fans. In more recent times, his performances have not been up to the standard of earlier in the season and the player has also admitted that he is feeling exhausted and physically tired, despite not having any game time for the last 2 months.

Niklas Bendtner

“Nikki B”, as many call him is our special enigma – sometimes very frustrating, sometimes sublime but most of the time, somewhere in between. His recent selections on left midfield and right midfield don’t do him justice, and if we can our minds back to last season, he performed well when as a long striker. Bendtner has scored some important goals, none other than his strike against Ipswich, which pushed us into the Carling Cup final. The player himself is super duper confident, and the question is, whether he can start showing us why Arsene has so much faith in him!

So, who do I think will play tonight? Well, if Van Persie is only injured for one game and will be back for Sunday’s final then I think Bendtner will play – but if it’s more serious and Arsene thinks he will miss the weekend, then Bendtner will be earmarked for Wembley, and Chamakh could come in tonight.

So, let’s take a look my chosen XI:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Bendtner

With a bench of Almunia, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Arshavin, Rosicky and Chamakh

Despite great performances against Barcelona that he was the only attacking player with any desire against Leyton Orient, I don’t think Arshavin will play against Stoke – I do think he will play on the weekend though. Arsene believes the old Arshavin is back and said:

“I love Arshavin because he’s a player who can always give you hope that he can make the difference. He was troubled by confidence problems for a while but he is now back and that goal against Barcelona helped him. He is a top-level player who lives on success and when it doesn’t go for you for a while you question ‘what am I not doing right and why? Nobody is immune to that. I have seen so many big players – and believe me Andrey is one of them – and they all go through periods like that. It is part of being a human being.”

Let’s hope he is back and puts in some decent performances from now until the end of the season!

A special mention to Aaron Ramsey and Jay Emmanuel Thomas who both played for Cardiff yesterday (and Ramsey scored)… some excellent performances and if they do that week in and week out – then there is definitely a place for them in the Arsenal team!

Til tomorrow, Adios… 3 points tonight?

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Remember i implicitly stated a few weeks back, that Ramsey would be available for selection for the FA Cup games.

    Well here’s further proof:

    http://bit.ly/g0zOr1

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Your line-up has a 95% certainty to start. Djourou and Squillaci will be fine together. They’ve played at least 10 times together. I have full confidence in the latter’s capability in thwarting any offensive play from Stoke.

  • yemi

    @ vj:
    @ vj:
    @ devday:
    I don’t thinl B52 AND Chamack are off color or off form, i think the problem is playing them together. Play either of the two and replace the other with a midfielder who can deliver service, they will be OK. Both guys have similar style of play, sluggish (like berba but less technical), like to drop deep, score a lot with the head. Therefore they need someone to deliver accurate passes/crosses. You will agree that this is not found in the second string team. Maybe if ramsey could come in, it might be better.

  • BergkampBurger

    @ yemi:
    I think we’ll see tonight in regards to whether they are off form or not!!

    Come on you Gunners!!

  • BergkampBurger

    @ Thierry Bergkamp-Wright:
    Let’s Squillaci has a decent game – he’s not been up to scratch in recent ones – at fault for a few goals, and when he came on for Djourou against Newcastle, that’s where it all went pear shaped!

  • Arsefan101

    @ Thierry Bergkamp-Wright:
    Man, I am always worried when Squillaci takes to the pitch – he really worries me. I would put him in the same bracket as Silvestre from last year. I did actually prefer Miguel who I think had a really solid debut – but I understand experience is better for the likes of Stoke.

  • devday

    @ Thierry Bergkamp-Wright:
    Awesome news re RAMSEY!!
    So glad that he is back at the Arsenal for the run in!

  • olutoni

    I’m optimistic about this match but my only worries are Squillaci and also how we are going to deal with the Long throws which is their strenght. Squillaci IMO is not comfortable with the ball on his feet. He looks shaky at times and he doesn’t make the right passes at times .. the Arsenal way. So I will suggest that we avoid backpasses to him as much as possible.
    On Bendtner and Chamakh issue, I will pick Bendtner over Chamakh today. Chamakh performances in recent times has not been good even after so much rest. He seems too lazy while Bendtner, though he misses quite a number of chances looks stronger and more confident in front of goal. Lets hope for a victory today as we need all our midfielders to play to the highest quality and get us the goals we need as I doubt if Bendtner or Chamakh can provide the goals based on their recent form

  • devday

    @ olutoni:
    Let’s hope they can perform well tonight!

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    Squillaci with the header!

  • tyoung

    Fabargas off. What’s the story?

  • Robert

    yeah… please tell me its for precautions…

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    Well, after all the invidious remarks aimed at Squillaci by our ‘so called’ supporters. I hope his early goal will silence you all.

  • Jeffo

    From BBC Sport web site – live

    2043: I am told the reason Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas went off (after 14 minutes) was a knee injury. I don’t know how serious it is yet, though

  • tyoung

    Now Walcott. Following this via the telegraph. Not much news. wht’s up with Theo?

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    arshavin is picking up

  • yemi

    @ BergkampBurger:
    i take back my comments, B52 and chamack are really off color and have lost the plot. Never in the right place at the right time. But chamacks work rate/ B52 confidence is whats keeping them

  • yemi

    @ Jeffo:
    hamstring strain

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    @Yemi

    Lol! I also think the two of ‘em can’t play two together in our current formation. Plus their loss of form doesn’t help. But what will you say if Bendtner & Chamakh miraculously regain blistering form and score a hat-trick on Sunday & Wednesday respectively?

    I have a strong feeling B52 will leave at the end of the season, whether we win a trophy or not. Its hard to see him content with being 2nd/3rd choice, when he can command 1st choice position at a smaller club. Would be great if he stayed one more season, nonetheless.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    The Stoke game was brilliant in the first 10 minutes, got an early goal and Theo hit the post but then Fab walked over to the bench to speak to Colin and then stayed out of the action for a few minutes before coming off for Arshavin. Then the tempo and fire of the team disappeared. The rest of the game was woeful. The ref was shocking in the second half as Stoke upped the physicality and started trying bully us. Djourou got flattened, sagna kicked, and other incidents went unpunished. Still a good result and we have pulled points back on the Man U

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    @Yemi

    Lol! I understand your POV, but what will you say if Bendtner & Chamakh miraculously regain blistering form and score a hat-trick on Sunday & Wednesday respectively?

    I have a strong feeling B52 will leave at the end of the season,whether we win a trophy or not.

  • Thierry Bergkamp-Wright

    oops, i didnt realise that my previous message went through from my phone.