Writer: Brice Coffer
Date:Thursday April 2 2009
The international break has once again wrecked havoc on the Arsenal squad. I don't know what is more frustrating, losing four key players this week, or me actually letting myself believe that we would have everyone available for the City game.
Let me take an inventory check of our squad for the upcoming game. The entire defense came through unscathed. This is great news considering on Wednesday Sagna survived a vicious plot concocted by Coward Webb and a Lithuania player whose goal was to amputate Bacray's ankle from his leg. Moving on to the midfield, Andrey Arshavin is also back from Russia fit, even though Azerbaijan's tactics were to break open the stitches he received during halftime of the Blackburn game. Cowardly bastards. Injuries to those two players as well would have been death to us. As far as I know Denilson did not travel anywhere, so he should be rested and ready to play. Yesterday the Boss declared that Cesc was fit to play, though he will need a few games to get his sharpness back. Cesc will be forced into the starting eleven on Saturday because of the injury to Diaby. As for the last midfield spot, I suspect Nasri will recover from his illness to complete a dream midfield. Since Arshavin joined the squad in February, all Arsenal fans have been waiting for the combination of Arshavin, Denilson, Fabregas, and Nasri to get their chance to shine on the pitch. It seems like Saturday will be that day.
Who will start up front though is really up for grabs. van Persie and Eduardo are definitely out, while Carlos Vela will return too late from Mexico's abysmal losing effort in Honduras to get his opportunity at striker. Bendtner has supposedly sent a text message, of all things, to the club declaring his fitness. Now Nik wasn't fit to start on Wednesday but due to an injury to another Denmark striker early on he was forced to play the last hour. I have my doubts to whether he will be fit come Saturday. Now this leaves Walcott and Adebayor. They have only played up top together once before, Villa at home last season. Starting with an untried partnership, in which both players have only just returned from injury, is extremely dangerous in such an important game, but the break has seemingly left Arsene with no other choice if he wants to stick with a 4-4-2.
Here is my projected starting lineup. Almunia in goal. Sagna, Gallas, Toure, and Clichy at the back. Arshavin, Denilson, Fabregas, and Nasri making up a mouth watering midfield, and Walcott to partner Adebayor up top.
Even with all the injuries, that lineup leaves a bit of drool on my lower lip and it will definitely strike fear in our opponents. Considering City's own crisis (Bellamy and Robinho might not make the trip down south to London), I feel Arsenal will still have plenty of firepower to take down Citeh. Come 5 o'clock on Saturday, Arsenal will have declared their intentions of finishing this season with a bang to the entire continent!
Date:Thursday April 2 2009
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