Writer: Brice Coffer
Date:Saturday April 11 2009
Arsenal enters a crucial and defining week in their season tomorrow. Attitude and preparation will be very important. Last year, Arsenal went to Wigan after demolishing AC Milan and assumed since they showed up, Wigan would roll over. The match proved to be crucial in our downfall that season. The right state of mind tomorrow will be needed to see off an 8th place Wigan.
Arsene is focused on the end of the season. 'I believe that we do not want to focus too much on that [the injuries to his players],' said Wenger.
'We are on a strong run in the League and we want to keep that going. We did that without the injured players and that`s why I believe we have improved as a team and we have shown strong mental strength.
I believe as well we want to focus on the short term and not focus too much on the past. You have seen that in every single game we play at the moment we must be 100 per cent - if you are just a little bit off your best you get punished.'
Wenger also spoke of his well known fondness of great team play. 'I think what is important is that the team has a good collective performance,' said the manager.
'I am confident we can score goals, we did before anyway. What is important to us this time is that we`re a team who are relying on the quality of our passing and collective play.'
For the Latics, they have no injuries of note to report. Though, Cho Won-hee is out for the season with a knee injury. Amir Zaki will not be involved, but that is not due to an injury. Zaki did not returned from Egypt after the international break.
Lee Cattermole, who has been Mr.Consistent for Wigan, is suspended.
Bramble has always been heavily criticized, but he always bounces back. This season has been his best ever. He has become the lynchpin in the Wigan defense. On Saturday he will face an in form Adebayor, which will be a crucial battle and will certainly be entertaining to watch.
Arsenal really came back from Spain battered and bruised. William Gallas has torn his medial ligament and is out for the season. Almunia has aggravated his ankle injury thanks to the disgusting tackle by Diouf. Also Gael Clichy is out for two or three weeks. Those are two or three decsive matches. Djourou, Fabianski, and Gibbs will step in for those players respectively. Abou Diaby is out as well, but van Persie and Eduardo will most likely be on the bench. In other news, despite reports linking Thomas Rosicky with a reserve fixture, Arsene has revealed Thomas is no where near ready to return.
Predicted Starting XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Gibbs, Walcott, Denilson, Fabregas, Arshavin, van Persie, Adebayor
Gibbs has showed so much promise so far this season. He fits in perfectly with the previous two left backs to come through the Arsenal academy. He is lightning fast and loves to get forward. He has one game to get his form back before being baptized by fire against Villarreal and Chelsea.
Wigan have never beaten a big 4 team
Wigan have been shutout 5 out of the last 6 games against Arsenal.
Almunia is the only Arsenal player to have started every EPL match this season. This will come to an end on Saturday.
Alan Wiley will be the head official for this match. He has managed twenty-two fixtures this season, handing out 60 yellows and 2 reds. This gives him a 2.82 card per game average.
I think we will be boosted by the return of van Persie and Arsenal will be up for the challenge. I will say 2-0 to the Arsenal, with Adebayor and van Persie scoring.
15/4 (Wed)- Villarreal (H)- Champions League
18/4 (Sat)- Chelsea (N)- FA Cup
21/4 (Tue)- Liverpool (A)- Premier League
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Date:Saturday April 11 2009
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