by Rachid Parchment
In just a few hours we take on Wigan. Many would say this should be bread and butter stuff for Arsenal today but Wigan in recent times have proven tricky to break down and I think it might be just the same today. Wigan have never beaten one of the “Big 4” in the Premiership since their promotion a few seasons ago and today they’ll still be looking to change that as they fight for a spot in the Europa Cup (stupid name change if you ask me, but that’s another matter). They’ll find the going tough though as Arsenal are currently on a 17 league game unbeaten run.
Wigan will be without Egyptian striker Amr Zaki as Steve Bruce has left him out of the squad because of his late arrival from international duties. Can you just imagine how red Bruce’s face must’ve been when he saw everyone at training and Zaki wasn’t there, especially since this is the 4th time he’s done it? Although he probably wouldn’t be playing today even if he had obeyed club orders and returned early though as he has a hamstring injury.
Their only other missing player is midfielder Cho Won-hee whose calf muscle injury puts him out for the rest of the season.
Robin van Persie (groin) has been cleared fit to play but there’s been no news yet on Eduardo (groin). With that said I can see van Persie playing today to get him up to speed for the Champions League tie on Wednesday against Villarreal but whether he’ll start remains to be seen.
Andrey Arshavin will no doubt return to the side and it means someone in midfield will be able to have a breather today, with Villarreal in mind.
Abou Diaby is still out with a thigh injury and at the back Arsenal will miss William Gallas (knee ligament) , Gael Clichy (back) and Manuel Almunia (ankle).
Arsene Wenger is brimming with confidence in his squad and has said Kieran Gibbs will start at left back in place of Clichy and Johan Djourou will be at center back with Kolo Toure. Also, Lukasz Fabianski will be the man in goal today. Arsene Wenger’s thoughts on Kieran Gibbs and Fabianski:
“At the moment yes Kieran Gibbs will play. I will see how well he does – he will play on Saturday. He is a player; I am confident that he will do well.
“And I have full confidence in Lukasz Fabianski. He has shown that when he came on the other night that he can deal with a situation very well.
“I am not worried for them; I’m confident they can cope with that.”
Looking ahead to the match Arsene Wenger says:
“What is important that we have a collective performance and I am confident that we can score goals.
“We must rely on the quality of our passing.
“It is super important that we keep the run going as our consistency is the mark of whether we have improved.”
Potential Starting Line Up:
Sagna Toure Djourou Gibbs
Arshavin Denilson Fabregas Nasri
Adebayor/Van Persie Bendtner
Prediction: Arsenal to blank Wigan 3-0 with Arshavin to have a blinder.
That’s all for now as I’m off to get ready to watch the match. Check back later for a match report from me. Don’t think about it….just do it!
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Until later! Come on you mighty Gunners!!!