Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Saturday November 24 2007
Arsenal will go into the match against Wigan with all the injury problems we have come to expect.
While Arsenal are without several key players, Wigan are without their manager. Steve Bruce wasn't appointed in time to take charge of this game, so he'll have to watch from the stands.
Despite their injury problems, Arsenal will still be expeted to demolish Wigan, espically considering their fellow strugglers Tottenham put four past them before the international break.
Although this match will be a walkover on paper, Arsenal will have to be careful not to get complaicent. Wigan are not only fighting for their Premiership survival already, but they have a new manager to impress.
Arsene Wenger believes Wigan are better than their total points tally so far would suggest: "Apart from the Tottenham game, where they were not at their best at all, the quality of Wigan`s game is better than the points they have got.
"After an international break and with all the players away I feel this is a big game for us. I am happy we play at home but I am conscious as well of Wigan because now they need points. That means you want all your players to be highly focused and concentrated.
"A quality of a big team is that you to win and to perform when people expect you to win and perform. It is part of being at the top level.'
Cesc Fabregas is suspended, Alex Hleb is out for upto a month with a hamstring injury, Mathieu Flamini is out for a week with a thigh injury, Abou Diaby is out with a back injury and Gilberto is suffering from jet-lag.
On a plus note, Van Persie returns to the squad after suffering from a knee injury, and Senderos also returns.
Diarra and Denilson are likely to start in the middle of the park, with Walcott and Rosicky patrolling the flanks.
Wenger is unlikely to risk starting Van Persie, so expect to see Eduardo getting a start after his performace against England on Wednesday.
Wenger has once again expressed his confidence in Eduardo. Le Boss believes that he will come good, and so do I. After his confidence-boosting performance against England, I expect the lad to put in a performance against Wigan.
Wigan striker Emile Heskey will return for wigan after a lengthy spell out, but goalkeeper Carlo Nash is still out with a broken leg.
The former Spurs man has proven he can be as bigger thug as anyone in the Premiership. He'll be looking to get in amongst the creative Arsenal players.
I'm counting on Diarra to keep him quiet.
Peter Walton will do the deeds for this one. It'll be the first time he has taken control of either team this season. He's yet to issue a red card this season, however, he's issued an average of nearly 4 yellow cars per game.
I'm caustiously confident about this one. I'm going to punt for a 3-0 Arsenal. It'll be a tight affair, with Wigan looking to defend their 18-yard box for the entire 90 minnutes. Arsenal will grind them down eventually, with a brace from Eduardo and a goal from Theo.
Date:Saturday November 24 2007
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|1. Man City||6||6||0||0||+13||18|
|6. Man Utd||6||4||0||2||+5||12|
|7. Crystal Palace||6||3||1||2||+3||10|
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