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Birmingham City vs. Arsenal

St Andrews



On Sky

Birmingham V Arsenal

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:

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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 22 2008

Time: 9:25PM

Your Comments

wow kewl prediction from you :-) ... me think 3-0 Alexandre the great, Mattuso and Ade/Cesc
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
Best of luck to whoever you lot are playing. :)
Blue is the colour
1 - 0 to arsenal and the goal to come in the last 10 min.
BITC, i was tempted to say the same to u, but i guess i dislike them more than i dislike u lot
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.
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?
Ade scored there on his debut, he'll score more tomorrow
niko your the scum u dickhead , i hope milan stuff your cheating set of arrogant babies.
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
I'm hoping for a 1-0 win.
simmo u've got all ur facts wrong ....we did not lose at st. andrews the last time we visited we won 2-0....with ade scoring on his debut and henry h=grabbing his 200th goal ...i think.........and the game against birmingham was 1-1....i think keegan has to get somethin rite sometime it us mite be today me thinks...
Ill go for a 2-0 win. Ade and Edu for the goals and complete domination.
Noone gives a rats sack what you think here Hicksvilleyiddo, don't take things out on me cos one of your ferrets went AWOL. Whatever happens re Milan WE get to play em and run rings around em, you get to draw 1-1 against the big boys rejects we slaughter 7-0. Don't worry Hicksville we'll keep chucking you scum the scraps and leftovers when you come scumming round begging, cowering from the bright gleam of our brilliance. FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW. Come back when you're (thats how you spell it Hick) at least in the top half of the table. 31 points hahahahahahahaha
I wonder how Jens is going to react to Almunia coming back
Jesus, sounds like Eduardo has got a really bad injury. Radio 5 saying Arsenal players looking sick and can't look at his leg
Fab, yeah, it does look very bad... They've spent like 7 mins to get him stretchered off. Cesc and Hleb's faces are telling me it's no small thing. Haven't seen them look so worried for a long time (probably since the terrible CC final last year). Bendtner's come on and against 10 men we should win, no doubt.
Lou the Gunneress
hes gotta brace on the leg, looks very serious. the players are very very shaken looking especially cesc.. dont look good. :-(
yeah its a really bad break,they wont even show the replay on sky,its that shocking....
fran merida
has anybody got a link 4 sopcast or any other online player
Oh **** the ATVO text says it could be a broken bone for Dudu...
Lou the Gunneress
Here you go -
Lou the Gunneress
thanx lou!
People have ruled him out for the rest of the season and the Euro's. It looks really awful, though I don't think it was a malicious challenge. Poor guy....can't help but be reminded of Busst. Fingers crossed it's not as bad as that.
Oh damn, I can't watch (internet slow), listening to ATVO and now we're one goal down. ARgh!
Lou the Gunneress
i'm a medical student.. if the injury is so graphic to the extent that it cant be shown on tv, i'm guessin its a type of fracture that pierces the skin.. this definitely means eduardo is out for the season and even maybe half of next
Now I'm *****ED and furious!!! We lost one of our strikers AND we're one goal down!!! Anything ELSE???
McG they did show it on the highlights but the players had their backs to us and it's shot from a distance so I couldn't see how it happened. But no close-up might mean what you're saying...
Lou the Gunneress
ATVO says it's 'clearly a leg break.' :(
Lou the Gunneress
Lou the Gunneress
I did think about putting money on a win when we went 1 goal down... but didn't want to jinx anything, that's how nervous I was... Now it's more like it!
Lou the Gunneress
WOH!!! Theo Theo Theo Theo!!!
Lou the Gunneress
Big big PHEW! Now we do look like scoring, I hope 1-2 more...
Lou the Gunneress
So happy to see the boy break his league duck, and with 2 goals that is. Will do his confidence a lot of good. :)
Lou the Gunneress
They said about Dudu: "Broken the lower part of his left leg." (Argh, LEFT!) Btw did they say at the start why they're wearing black armbands? I missed the first 2 mins.
Lou the Gunneress
Theo's 1st MotM performance anyone?
Lou the Gunneress
oh dear
please Manu
what a dreadful day
Lou the Gunneress
Did you see Gallas? I feel sorry for him... Clichy HAS to take the fault for the penalty!!!
We deserved that for playing like idiots for the last 30 minutes absolutely idiotic.....i think this might come back to haunt us in the end. ***** i am *****ed.
Clichy of all people! And AB's right, why oh why?!?!?
Lou the Gunneress
Who cares about the penalty what about the 30 minutes of crap we produced before, seriously the penalty was justice for the crap we were doing in the game when we had a team down to 10 men.
Adebayor had an off game, so did fab at some times. Hope ManUre at least draw at Newcastle tonight.
Only the first 10 mins of 2H looked like Arsenal. ARGH I'm so GUTTED!!!
Lou the Gunneress
we throw it away..again
ref is a blind man.can't see clichy got the ball though
i'm feelin numb and speechless and i must thank clichy who really has attempted his best to hand man utd the title
Just what was Gallas doing at the end? Realising that with trips to OT and SB you've blown it perhaps!
Newcastle Vs MU man of the match... Gael Clichy!!! Thankyou very much...
We've had this coming to us for a long time I'm afraid. We just don't put teams away, we're 2-1 up against 10 men, there's a need to be ruthless and put the game away cos at 3-1 they're not even going to try, and it costs us in the end. Same against Man City, we only got the third in the last 2 minutes or something. Absolutely disastrous this could be for us, just the manner of it, being seconds away from being 8 points clear. I'm so so so so so so gutted.
Tons of Spurs and Chelsea fans must be flooding into this site to laugh at what happened now.
Lou the Gunneress
Haa haa haa haa le scum have dropped the ball again, one geal clichy, theres only one geal clichy ...................... Roll on tomorow
what happened before that birmingham player got the ball before clichy brought him down?seemed like arsenal player argued about something
Vin you're right. Very disappointed with the Clichy mistake but he did get the ball. The ref also had a terrible game. And looking back, I think Ade's miss facing a open goal was equally disappointing. So yeah it comes down to our inability to kill games off. I wouldn't put it entirely on Clichy.
Lou the Gunneress
Why can't he just clear that bloody ball? it was just a minute away...
Why blame Clichy, the team was terrible, the were just standing there waiting for the time to run out. Then illegally wasting time, which i was thinking was quite stupid because if the other team scores then we have less time to steal the game. Its like they learnt nothing from the previous game, when you take the lead against Birmingham don't ***** around act like headless chickens because they will come back at us if we do.
when will we take the chances..and stop thinking that the other team dont care!! AARRGGHHH :@
Just seen the replay and Adebayor sees Bendnter and doesn't pass so that makes it 3-1
if we don win the title this year, this was the point we lost the plot.. wat a digraceful way to give away 2 points.. i wouldnt be this gutted if it was a wonderstrike or somthing.. but to give away a penalty with 10 sec to go.. this has been the lowest i hv felt, i hv never felt this before and i can truly understand gallas..i just wanna lock myself into a room and shout till my lungs burst
Well played Birmingham ,i hope that point keeps you up
Ade was so selfish today & he just refused to pass to Bendtner. Clichy was not under pressure at all. What was he trying to do?
2 -1 and u ***ed it up
Lou - just seen the replay and it wasn't even a penalty, just the referee having to give it cos it's the home side. I guess this kind of day was just inevitable after what happened to Edu. And just what Gallas was doing being theatrical and washing our dirty linen in public.
'Giving up' on the domestic cups would count for nothing if we don't win the league. Being 3 points clear at the top with 11 games left isn't bad. But the way we threw it away, ARGH... I won't be able to sleep tonight...
Lou the Gunneress
Vin we can't blame Gallas, anyone in his boots would have been absolutely gutted. I didn't see that argument part though. What was he doing? I just saw him shaking his head gutted at the end when McF got ready to take the penalty.
Lou the Gunneress
To round our day off, I fully expect United to tonk Newcastle 5-0.
Basically, the season now depends on how much character and mental strength our players have got. I really believe it will go one of two ways now for us now. We'll either re-group and come out stronger, or we'll just capitulate.
Oh well bloody football. And Boro leading at Anfield now is looking kind of 'normal' to me. You also imagine how RvP's feeling right now...
Lou the Gunneress
5-1? 4-0? This is our worst day of the season. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, If we win the title from here it will be some effort.
Vin I don't think we'll just die now. We've said many times but I'll say it again: the guys will learn from it. Not just Clichy (mistake or harsh punishment, he still has to be smarter than that in the box), but Ade, Bendtner, Hleb and Cesc to kill games off as well. That said, I'm not sure how Eduardo's terrible injury affected some of them. I'm more worried about injuries than the character thing.
Lou the Gunneress
That said, the character thing will also depend on whether we get past Milan in 2 weeks' time. So everything's hanging up in the air now.
Lou the Gunneress
i seriously think their morale deelply dropped after the as a medail personnel also see it as a horrific injury..
we did enough to win the game.. there has been many times when clichy has cleared the ball of the line this season and for that reason alone i can find some space in myself to forgive him for an awful mistake.. he wont sleep tonite and i think we as fans should show him our support to come back stronger next time around.. the problem in our team is our reluctance to kill the game off.. hleb had 2 terrific chances when he passed the ball to someone else.. therein lies the problem, adebayor is too sellfish whereas hleb is never sellfish.. i really feel sorry for gallas, sagna and walcott as they pt in a lot of effort and heart in the game.. i dont want newcastle to do us a favour if we cant do one for ourselves.. the challenge awaiting wenger is huge and let us watch if le prof has it in himself to take us to the title
i seriously think their morale deelply dropped after the as a medical personnel also see it as a horrific injury..
Lou - I want to share your positive stance. All winning seasons have their ups and downs but if we don't end up winning anything this season, which I now think is a real possibility, it will be absolutely awful. You're right about Edu's injury though, I don't think we can discount that at all. Be interesting to read LD's match report, just to get a fan's perspective who was there.
We can't blame Clichy, I've been to most of our home games and he's been one of our most consistent players. I definitely feel it's a collective thing. I dunno, maybe the Edu injury is making me feel even worse than I would otherwise. I think as fans we need to put our feelings aside about the result and realise that Edu's wellbeing is actually more important. I hope we can go on and win something this season just for Edu.
Vin you're right, only now do I see the other thread about Edu's injury on this site. Sounds absolutely horrible. My thoughts really go out to him. What a player and a respectable person he is. Hope he really gets well soon.
Lou the Gunneress
i agree lay off clichy guys...he has probably ben MOM in a good percentage of our games this season....i jus hope dudu is alrite...i think it really got to the players seeinghim.......wat is the prognosis for a broken bone....dint diaby also break his leg....
don't blame clichy coz as a team..they did not find the 3rd goal and the players around him did not tell/warn about the on coming brum player..
This is one situation where I don't care about the result, I feel truely sick in my stomach. If I could I would snap Taylor's legs, maybe it would give him some insight what it feels like and why you should put more care in challenges, the scum bucket.
Gunners, when you do that, please also try it on those heartless non-human beings on this site and some other sites.
Lou the Gunneress
i just saw the highlights on motd.. the way chicly was running AWAY from a ball that was played onto his path is COMICAL.. he needs to explain it to all us gooners
McG, I know, so was Ade's inexplicable shot ignoring Bendtner. I'm also amazed how some of the papers condemn Gallas' behaviour at the end. So petty of them. But whatever now. The guys have to pick themselves up. We have to get behind the team.
Lou the Gunneress
its good that the next team we r playin is aston villa.. this is the test ppl hv been talkin all season long.. it is this test that wenger should guide our players through.. eduardo is a loss yes.. eduardo played for arsenal this seson to help us win a title.. the only way the players can give him something is to win the league and let him lift the trophy.. i'm sure come may, eduardo will well be on his way to recovery.. lets do it for eduardo

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