Arsenal v. Birmingham
St. Andrews Stadium
Over land, and sea, and ... Birmingham?
The 'B' word is on everyone's mind. Yes, I'm talking about Birmingham. Before we can salivate over the glamourous tie with Lionel Messi and co, the team has an equally important task at hand.
December 26th, January 9th. Those two dates prove how difficult this match will be for Arsenal. Neither Chelsea nor Manchester United came away from St. Andrews this season with all three points. A win tomorrow would be a major step towards the title.
Neither Arsene or the McLeish are interested in talking about what happened two years ago, and rightly so.
Wenger: 'Overall we want him to come back there and just win our game. That is the only way you can deal with that situation.'
McLeish: 'We have moved on. I don't want even want to talk about it. Eduardo is back playing which is great. I don't feel I need to comment on it. It is a couple of years ago.'
Birmingham Team News:
Birmingham are close to have a clean bill of health. Garry O'Connor (groin) and Lee Carsley (ankle) are long term absentees. David Murphy is also out with a hamstring injury. Gregory Vignal will be back on the bench.
Possible Starting XI: Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Bowyer, Ferguson, Fahey, Gardner, McFadden, Jerome
Player to watch: Joe Hart
It's not often I can pick a 'keeper as player to watch, but Birmingham don't have a great scoring record at all and Joe Hart is a fantastic up and coming goalie. If Birmingham get points out of this match, I'd put money on Hart making several key saves.
Arsenal Team News:
The big news during the week was that Thomas Vermaelen's appeal had failed, and the Belgian will miss his first league match of the season. Nicklas Bendtner is a doubt, but Arsene reckons he'll be okay.
My Predicted Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Silvestre, Campbell, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Eboue, Arshavin, Bendtner
Player to watch: Andrey Arshavin
Arshavin said he wasn't feeling well during the West Ham game which lead to criticism of his preformance. Also, some misguided comments to the rags about the strengths of the team haven't helped either. He is due a good preformance.
Match Facts & Stats
This is the 130th meeting between these sides. Arsenal lead by 57 wins to 38, with 34 draws.
Birmingham are unbeaten in their last 11 home games in the Premier League. If they avoid defeat on Saturday it will be their longest unbeaten run at home in the top flight since the 1973/74 season.
Nicklas Bendtner spent the 2006/07 season on loan at Birmingham, scoring 11 league goals
Howard ******* Webb is the head match official. Don't be surprised if he tries his damnedest to **** us over.
Birmingham have enjoyed a good a return to the Barclay's Premier League this season, but lately they've sputtered. It might be a good time to play them. I'll go with a 3-1 scoreline.
31/3 (Wed) - FC Barcelona (h) - Champions League
3/4 (Sat) - Wolverhampton (h) - Premier League
3/6 (Tue) - FC Barcelona (a) - Champions League