By 1970’s Gooner
Mathieu Flamini has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an ankle injury against Liverpool on Tuesday.
He has been fantastic for us this season putting some awesome performances. Trying to replace him will be very difficult indeed but there are four options available:
To my great surprise I read that Arsene Wenger intends to bring Gilberto in the starting eleven!
"It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience," Wenger told Arsenal.com "Gilberto can come in and help the team recover and focus."
Well, I really hope that Wenger does not do as he says. I really do. Gilberto, although 31, is showing what you would call in football terms, early signs of Alzheimer’s.
I know I am being cruel as he has been absolutely fabulous for Arsenal up until last season.
But sadly he looks past it. He is slow, can’t tackle effectively anymore which more often than not results in giving a foul away. He also tends to slow the game up as he invariably makes passes sideways or backwards.
Can you honestly see Gilberto chasing and keeping up with Rooney, Tevez or even Ronaldo (if he ventures infield, which he will) with any degree of success?
Just how Wenger thinks that we will beat Manchester United at Old Trafford with Gilberto in the team is beyond me. Yes the team needs more experienced hands but not near football geriatrics.
Arsene has three other more attractive and viable options.
2. Toure in midfield
This is an interesting option in that although Toure has not played in this position before he has the strength and tenacity to be effective enough.
He will also be defending really as he would be playing a kind of protective role in front of the defence.
However this would mean that Senderos will have to partner Gallas in the centre of the defence which would be risky.
For a start his confidence level will probably be very low and also his lack of pace would be heavily exposed due to the way Manchester United play.
They don’t employ a front man as such and they have some very pacy forwards who are very mobile and drag defenders all over the place.
3. Give Song a start?
I have confidence in Song.
He has shown during the Africa Cup of Nations, which I watched avidly, that he has the ability and temperament to perform on the day.
I also watched him play a Premiership match two seasons ago when he was on loan to Charlton against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
I can tell you he bossed the midfield then with a very impressive performance.
4. Play Diaby where he belongs
The fourth option that would also appeal is to finally allow Diaby to start in central midfield where he surely belongs.
He has been improving lately and cut out the frivolous and selfish play which characterized his earlier outings this season on the left wing.
He performed quite well against AC Milan at the San Siro in that historic win.
And of course against Liverpool at Anfield where he scored the opening goal. So he can handle the big occasions.
The Diaby option can bring another benefit.
And that is it will free up a spot on the wing for Theo Walcott to start which he surely deserves.
I hope Eboue is brought back to right back and Toure restored in central defence. At least I hope Arsene Wenger has realized the errors in defence from Senderos and drops him for Toure.
My team for Old Trafford will be:
Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
Walcott Fabregas Song Hleb
I have a feeling we may surprise a few people...
Ed: Diaby is suspended for OT