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Birmingham V Arsenal

Birmingham City

St Andrews



On Sky

Arsenal will come back down to earth on Saturday when they face a Birmingham side fighting for their Premiership survival.

Perhaps it's not as glamorous as facing AC Milan, but it's a far more important game for Arsene Wenger and his team as they look to extend their lead over United to 8 points, even if it is likely to be for just a few hours.

Equally, if Birmingham were to grab victory over Arsenal, as they did last time the teams met at St Andrews, then they would be three points clear of the dreaded relegation zone.

Birmingham wont set up to attack Arsenal, but they will press them as much as they can, just like they did when they came to The Grove. They'll hope they get a goal from a corner, or a lucky deflection.

McLeish is no fool. He's tacticly astute, a good manager and knows how to win big games.

As highly as I rate him though, he's no match for Le Professor, a man who has no equal when it comes to managment, tactics or, well, anything.

Birmingham's form is poor to say the least. They've not won a league game since 26th December when they beat 'Boro 3-0. Last six (league): P6 W0 D3 L3. Although in fairness to them, two of those defeats were to United and Chelsea.

in contrast, Arsenal haven't lost a league game since the start of December, when they went down 2-1 to Boro at the Riverside. Last six (league): P6 W5 D1 L0. The only team to stop Arsenal having a perfect six in recent games is tomorrow's opponents Birmingham, who held The Gunners to A 0-0 draw last month.

Arsenal will certainly have to be on their game physically, something that weont be easy after giving so much against Milan on Wednesday. There's less than 72 hours between Arsenal finishing the game against Milan, and kicking off against Birmingham.

Vital Quotes:

Most of what Alex McLeish says here could have applied to Arsenal last season: 'We do need to demonstrate more toughness at the back.

'We've got good young legs but just a wee bit of nous, a little bit of know-how and a wee bit of steel will make us a much better team.

'The good thing is they will get much better and we're still in with a great shout of staying in this League.'

Arsene Wenger spoke of the importance of Arsenal's next six games: “From 12 to six games, it is the decisive period,” he said. “First of all because it coincides most of the time with a period where most of the teams are still going for something.

“In the last six games, sometimes the points are easier to take. But, until the end of March, you play a team that doesn’t want to go down or a team that plays still for Europe, or a team that wants to save their season. In April, it eases off a bit.'

Birmingham City Team News:

Birmingham will have a full squad to choose from as Oliver Kapo returns from suspension.

Player to watch: Fabrice Muamba

He's the only kind of player I think can keep players like Hleb and Fabregas quiet. He's strong, quick, tough tackling and wont stop running for the entire game.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal don't have the same luxury as Birmingham I'm afraid. Kolo Toure joined the queue for Gary Lewin's treatment room. A calf problem picked up at the start of the Milan games could see him out for upto four weeks.

Van Persie joins the first team for training next week, so he's still out. Alex Song, Johan Djourou, About Diaby and Tommy Gun are all still missing too.

Almunia returns to the squad, but Wenger wouldn't say if he was going to get his place back in the team after Lehmann put in a great performance against Milan. I say a great performance, I can only think of two saves he had to make!

Player to watch: Adebayor

If anyone will want to make up for not beating Milan, this is he! He knows he should have had a couple of goals and he'll be more than up for this one.

You better watch out, Ade's about!

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean. Anyone like him? No? Didn't think so.

Match Prediction:

I was thinking about defeat, then I was thinking we would draw. Now I think we'll win. 2-1 Arsenal. Fabregas and Adebayor to get the goals.

Next Fixtures:

Writer:Nick Simmonett
Date:Friday February 22 2008
Time: 9:25PM

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wow kewl prediction from you :-) ... me think 3-0 Alexandre the great, Mattuso and Ade/Cesc
22/02/2008 21:57:00
i think it'll be 2-0 for us.. gallas and senderos are beginning to look solid at the back.. my only worry is how much can the players give to this game after giving so much for the entire 90 mins against milan. lehmann, senderos, gallas, clichy, sagna, hleb, fabregas, flamini, walcott, adebayor and eduardo to start in a 4-4-1-1
22/02/2008 21:58:00
Best of luck to whoever you lot are playing. :)
Blue is the colour
22/02/2008 22:16:00
1 - 0 to arsenal and the goal to come in the last 10 min.
22/02/2008 22:30:00
BITC, i was tempted to say the same to u, but i guess i dislike them more than i dislike u lot
22/02/2008 22:36:00
yeah Blue despite my disdain for your bunch of rouble***** cloggers, (and indeed everything about the way your dour, cynical, business machine weasels its way to another spectacular 74 million squid deficit despite steamrollering your way robotically to the grimmest back to back purchases in history) I still hope you thrash the scum.
22/02/2008 23:34:00
If Walcott plays tomorrow, more than 15 minutes, I think he'll get his first Prem goal. I've got us down for a 4-0 win. A guy can hope can't he?
22/02/2008 23:36:00
Ade scored there on his debut, he'll score more tomorrow
23/02/2008 00:51:00
niko your the scum u dickhead , i hope milan stuff your cheating set of arrogant babies.
23/02/2008 03:05:00
The home game vs Birmingham was 1-1, not 0-0... I fancy a win and a clean sheet to us, 2-0 to keep the goal difference going as ManU are bound to do the same.
Lou the Gunneress
23/02/2008 04:30:00
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