By 1970’s Gooner
The latest injury news to come out of Arsenal is that the excellent Gael Clichy did not travel to Spain due to a thigh injury he picked up against Wigan on Saturday.
This injury comes at an inopportune moment in Arsenal’s fixture calendar as we are about to embark on a series of away fixtures with a game on average every four days.
Clichy’s injury is described as short term and let’s hope it is indeed that, otherwise Traore could suddenly come into the reckoning.
There’s Hoyte of course and Diarra that could fill in if Wenger wants a more experienced player there.
This fixture list includes an away game on Saturday at Aston Villa, four days later on Wednesday we play Newcastle away and the Sunday after that Middlesbrough away.
This is followed by Steaua home the Wednesday after and then on Sunday Ashley Cole’s return with Chelsea. And it doesn’t stop there as we have Tottenham at home a week later!
The heavy schedule coming up is likely to set difficult selection problems for tonight’s game at Sevilla.
Wenger has to rest players in order to freshen them up but at the same time he has to try and have enough experienced players to assist the youngsters and have a chance of getting a result.
I would however prefer that as many first team players are rested and this should include Almunia so that Lehmann can get in some games in case he is needed in the coming weeks.
Lehmann should start in goal with Hoyte, Toure, Senderos and Traore the back four. Eboue, Diarra, Gilberto and Denilson the four in midfield and Bendtner and Eduardo the front two.
This will give a rest to Rosicky, Walcott, Almunia, Fabregas and Sagna. Although in the travelling party, Flamini will not be risked by Wenger.
Some newspapers have Rosicky and Fabregas starting and they would certainly add a sparkle to the line up.
But should Wenger be risking them with such a demanding fixture list and so close to the run up of the crucial Xmas period? I hope not.
Prediction: Whatever Wenger decides will be good enough to contest the game.
The defence is solid enough but obviously keeping Kanute quiet will be a big test especially for the returning Senderos.
The pairing of Bendtner and Eduardo however needs to click together if Arsenal are to have any success; 0-0