A happy Friday to one and all and thankfully we can look forward to some real football tomorrow. We’ve got a very hectic schedule coming up in the next few weeks so a game against Wigan, who are struggling, is probably the perfect way to get going again.
Not that we’re taking anything for granted of course, it just could have been more difficult. It’s going to be tricky enough as it is because we’re without a whole host of midfielders. Cesc is suspended, we’ve lost Alex Hleb for three weeks with a hamstring strain, Mathieu Flamini is out for a week or so with a thigh strain, Diaby has a bad back and Gilberto doesn’t get back from Brazil until some time today so may be ‘fatigued’ according to the boss.
To be honest though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brazilian play. He’ll travel back in relative comfort and knowing his chances have so far been limited this season he’ll be busting to play. And let’s not forget that he played at centre-half against Sp*rs in similar circumstances so it’s not beyond him. The other option would be Denilson and after that Alex Song. Meanwhile the Sun reports that we’ll listen to offers for Gilberto in January in order to keep Diaby and Diarra. Quotes from the Italian press seem to suggest that Gilberto would be open for a move. As for Diaby, I like him but he’s a bit Darren Anderton with all his injuries, isn’t he? We’ll see what happens.
Robin van Persie is not quite fit enough to return yet but Philippe Senderos should come back into the squad after his back problem has cleared up. Hleb will be a big miss though and personnel available means we have to revert to a 4-4-2. I suspect he’ll go with Eboue on the right hand side of midfield so it’s up to the boss to decide between Walcott and Eduardo to partner Adebayor up front. I’d like to see Eduardo get a game, he did well against England in midweek, and although he has struggled a little bit since his arrival I don’t think he’s really been given the time up front to make an impact. We saw what he’s capable of in the Carling Cup game against Sheffield United so hed be better off there than wide left. More from Arsene’s pre-game press conference tomorrow.
In other news William Gallas says he’s enjoying the responsibility of being Arsenal captain and how moving from South London to North London has made him less injury prone. His captaincy has received the backing of Gael Clichy who says Gallas reminds him of Patrick Vieira.
So it’s a slow trickle rather than a flood of news but it’s better than nothing. Now this.
In this week’s Arsecast, sponsored by OleOle.com, I talk to the man from East Lower ahead of the Wigan game, the Man in the Bar has a player history, you can find out why Arsene Wenger is now an asteroid and I announce the winner of the Savile Rogue scarf competition and give you the chance to win another scarf. Action packed, oh yes.
To subscribe to the arsecast in iTunes – click here. To download this week’s arsecast directly – click here (12mb MP3). You can find the arsecast archives here. And you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
There you go then. Have a good one, more tomorrow.