By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger has a decision to make for the Champions League Group H encounter against Sevilla. Does he continue with Gilberto in central defence or does he opt for the returning Senderos.
This is a much more difficult decision than it first appears because either selection will have repercussions elsewhere in the formation of the team but also in Wenger’s future planning.
Let’s be more specific.
On the footballing side if he sticks with Gilberto then he has another dilemma. Who plays in the central midfield position next to fabulous Fabregas?
I know what he will decide because when faced with the same selection question before it was Flamini rather than the unlucky Diaby.
I say unlucky because Diaby to my mind is a far more forceful and powerful player best suited for this position than Flamini.
Especially when you consider that Sevilla’s midfield includes Keita who is a strong battler and powerful player who provides the engine in this attractive Sevilla side.
However if Wenger sticks with Gilberto in defence this leaves Senderos out of the starting eleven. Not a problem you might say; and I would agree.
His positioning has been suspect which is, however, important for a defender whose pace is not his best attribute.
Having watched Sevilla demolish Recreativo Huelva 4-1 the other night I am worried about their forward line which includes the very wily and pacy pairing of Kanoute and the Russian Kerzakov.
Gilberto and Senderos are not blessed with a lot of pace but Gilberto may just get the nod due to his experience and better positional sense.
Leaving Senderos out will be a big psychological blow for the young player.
He will inevitably interpret this decision to mean that the manager has lost faith in him and start questioning his future at the club.
The other selection decision for Wenger is whether to stick with Robin Van Persie in attack. You might be raising your eyebrows at this moment, but I like to call them as I see them.
Van Persie has gone off the boil in recent games. He was largely absent at the Lane and also during the game against Portsmouth.
We should not let the exciting win at Tottenham distract us from judging a player’s performance.
As I said in my analysis of the game we are going to face tougher opponents than Spurs in the future who are not going to miss chances and who are not going to hand us goals on a plate.
Eduardo was not even on the bench against Spurs so he has been rested and is ready to go having scored three goals in his last two international games for Croatia. He has also scored for Arsenal in the Champion’s League qualifier at the Emirates against Sparta Prague.
If the selection decision is simply based on form then Van Persie should be on the bench.
I would hope and expect that Wenger will reinstall Rosicky on the left flank. He was probably rested for the game against Spurs for this purpose.
My starting 11 would include Gilberto in defence, Diaby in central midfield, Rosicky on the left of midfield and Eduardo in attack. The rest pick themselves.
But Wenger knows best right?
We managed to come out on top with our predictions so far this season but after all when the team is doing well and winning it’s more difficult to get it wrong than right!
However the predictions for a 1-1 draw at Blackburn and that of a 1-3 away win at Tottenham are the ones that we are proud of.
For tonight’s game both teams play open attractive football in a 4 4 2 formation. This means that there will be goals and I expect Arsenal to come out on top; 3-1
Tottenham’s weaknesses more serious than Arsenal’s
Fabregas is a more effective player than Scholes. The statistical analysis backs it up