Friday, 11 February 2011
Wolves (h) preview
It seems strange to reserve some praise for a team that contains the odious Karl Henry, but Wolverhampton Wanderers ensured last week that Arsenal's Invincibles/Arsenal's 49ers (call them what you will) are still unique in English football. Of course the annual celebration of Invincibles Day was tempered rather a lot by our own failings last Saturday but Man Utd being beaten really was a reason for great joy among Gooners. The irony of the situation is that Wolves visit us tomorrow afternoon as we get back to business following the internationals.
On the basis that no news is good news it seems that Arsenal have been rarely blessed in this weeks stealing of players for international friendlies (make no mistake, taking something that doesn't belong to you and using it for your own means is stealing - the fact that the commodity is often returned to its owner in a state of disrepair is all the more annoying). The only team news coming out of www.arsenal.com so far this morning is that Song and Djourou may have recovered from their injuries, which is the best news we could possibly have hoped for. There is a school of thought that one, or both, of them might be held back for Barcelona on Wednesday. My view is that I would rather enhance our chances of winning a game in a competition where we actually have a hope is more favourable than holding back our most important players on the off chance that we might get some kind of result against the best team in the World. There is no news on Fabregas and Van Persie and their respective "illnesses" which perhaps is a sign of just how "sick" they've been. If the pair have been genuinely ill then they should be in no position to play tomorrow, such will be the lack of energy in their body's. I think the only front-line player missing tomorrow is likely to be Samir Nasri, though Arsenal say he should be back within a week which, if true, would be great news indeed.
We know how Wolves will approach the match tomorrow. They are a side that rouses itself for the big games they play and tomorrow will be no exception. I feel we really need Johan Djourou in the side, if possible, as the strength and power of Kevin Doyle will likely be too much for Squillaci/Koscielny. At the back we know Wolves can be a bit suspect, that's why they sit in the bottom three. If Van Persie has been sick, and doesn't make it, I would like to see Chamakh back in the side - remember he was too good for Wolves at Molineux earlier in the season. I suspect, however, that Nicklas Bendtner would be preferred up front as he seems to have moved in front of Chamakh in Wenger's mind recently.
Whatever the team, if Arsenal play the way they did against Everton last midweek then we will be far too strong for the opposition. Obviously the defending must be better than it was on Saturday - God knows it couldn't be much worse. I dreamed last night that we were 8-0 up and Bendtner had just got on the scoresheet. I don't think I'll have a bet on that. My five-year-old is coming to the game tomorrow and is very excited about the whole thing, as usual. I think I might get him to predict the score and have a quid on that instead. I'll write a match review when we get home tomorrow night.