With Sagna out it's got to be Toure at right back + Arsecast 70

Good morning to you all.

We’ll start with the bad news first, get it out of the way, like a blind person at a pedestrian crossing. I mean, they can’t say who barged in front of them and the dog’s not going to say a word, is he? Not if he knows what’s good for him. Anyway, the point is that Bacary Sagna is out for ‘at least’ three weeks after picking up an ankle injury against Chelsea. This is bad. Arguably our most consistent player this season he’s made a mockery of all of us who went ‘Bacary who? Why do we need a right back when we have Eboue and Hoyte?’

With the greatest of respect to the two of them Sagna is obviously miles better than either of them and his absence is going to be sorely felt. The question is what will the manager do? Will he bring in Hoyte and continue to play Eboue wide right? Will Diaby’s return mean Hleb goes right and Eboue goes to right back? Could Theo come in on the right hand side? There are options but for me there’s only one real choice. Bring back Senderos into the centre of defence and push Kolo to right back.

That brings the balance back to the centre and ensures we play our strongest possible back four. Given the quality of the upcoming opposition I think we need to play our best players as much as possible. Eboue and Hoyte are competent players but if Gallas and Senderos can strike up that same partnership and Kolo can bring his energy and power to the right hand side then we’re lessening the impact of Sagna’s loss. It’ll be interesting to see what the boss does.

After some criticism and stories about William Gallas this week AW has defended his captain, saying:

William has my full support and my full backing and I am completely behind him, and behind the team as well. You have the same William Gallas – and the same people said it was a good choice to make him captain when we were five points ahead, and you have not to go too much overboard.

Which is all very sensible and hard to argue against. I think there are some questions to be asked of Gallas but I don’t think it’s as bad as it’s being made out to be. Further thoughts on Gallas and that teamtalk in today’s Arsecast. What was interesting was the boss being so candid about the captain’s performance on Sunday. He’s usually much more circumspect about individual performances so perhaps he’s trying to spark a reaction from a player who has been, by his own standards this season, below par in recent games.

More from the boss and more team news ahead of the Bolton game on tomorrow’s blog.REDaction have launched a new website – go take a look.

It’s coming up on 7 years since David Rocastle died. A new website has been launched and it’s aiming to pay tribute to Rocky and raise some money for charity – Rocky7.co.uk

Now, Arsecast.

Arsecasts

In this week’s Arsecast, brought to you by OleOle.com, I chat with the Mugsmasher about the upcoming games against the Mugsmashers, there’s a player history, Talkshite radio, Eboue, thoughts on Chelsea, Gallas and more.

To subscribe to the arsecast in iTunes – click here. To download this week’s arsecast directly – click here (17mb MP3). You can find the arsecast archives here. And you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.

[audio:http://arseblog.com/podcasts/arsecast_episode70.mp3]

Right, early start, busy day, more tomorrow. Have a good one.