Arsenal vs West Ham: Fabregas on the bench please
Arsenal must forget the epic champions league ties against Barcelona that lay ahead and concentrate on matters in hand, West Ham in the premier league at the Emirates this evening.
Maybe the Arsenal players have to forget about the Barcelona draw, but just a quick word from me about it. All i can say is WOW! What a couple of games they will be. Hopefully there is no sending off to ruin the game this time and we get to witness a true footballing spectacle….twice. Aside from the beautiful football on display, there are a couple of sub-plots to the tie with the return of Sir Thierry Henry back to his spiritual ‘home’ and Cesc quite literally going home to Catalunia in the return leg.
I’m sure Thierry will get a great reception at the Emirates, as long as there aren’t too many Irish in the crowd! It will be really interesting to hear his comments on the tie and to see how well he plays against us but he’s set for an emotional return that’s for sure.
Anyway, back to the premier league and Arsenal have the chance to put some pressure on the top two with a win against West Ham today that would see the Gunner’s move back to the top of the league for a day at least. Both Manchester United and Chelsea are playing on Sunday, with United playing Liverpool at home and Chelsea facing a tough away trip at Blackburn, neither side is guaranteed three points so this has the potential to be a very good weekend for Arsenal.
The Gunners are in great form, having won their last 5 premier league games and have been boosted with the return of captain Cesc Fabregas. Manager Arsene Wenger has said that both Fabregas and Rosicky passed fitness tests on Friday and are in the squad along with Alex Song who is available after completing a 2-match suspension.
“Cesc is back in the squad,” said Wenger. “He had a test on Friday and it was positive.
“Rosicky is back in the squad and [Alex] Song is available after suspension. On that front it looks quite good.”
But for me, if Cesc needed a Friday fitness test he shouldn’t be risked from the start today. Stick him on the bench and bring him on if needed. Why take the risk, we have a good enough squad to deal with West Ham at home so give him more time to heal. How gutted would we be if his hamstring went again and he missed the Barca game? Walcott on the right with Arshavin and Bendtner, with Diaby, Nasri and Song in the middle. More than enough to beat the Hammers.
More of a worry is the constant absence of William Gallas to the mysterious calf strain that has lasted for about 2 years now. Injuries like Gallas’s do make me wonder about the Arsenal medical team, how can they not have sorted it by now? Wenger has also said Gallas is unlikely to make the Barcelona home game either.
“I hope he will play again soon, but at the moment it does not look too good,” said the manager.
“He will play some part before the end of the season, but will he be ready to play against Barcelona? That is another question mark. I would say he is already at 80 per cent out for the first leg.
“But he should play again before the end of the season.”
The fact there is even a question mark about him playing again before the end of the season is worrying. Although Campbell and Silvestre have done a job against the likes of Stoke and Hull, the thought of Messi and co running at either of our elderly pair makes me shudder a little. Let’s hope this mysterious injury heals soon and he makes it back for what is going to be a very exciting and very important run-in.
Preferred starting line-up:
Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
That’s the team i would like to see start but i suspect Fabregas will play with Nasri moving out to the right and Walcott on the bench. But at least our squad is getting back to fitness again and our bench should be as strong as it’s been all season tonight with the likes of Rosicky, Eduardo, Eboue, Walcott/Nasri, Denilson, and possibly Vela all settling for a subs role.
Whatever team Arsene puts out i fully expect an Arsenal victory and a Hammers hammering wouldn’t go a-miss either to boost the goal difference!
Will Arsenal overcome the Hammers? Should Fabregas start or be rested with the Barcelona game coming up? Please leave your comments below………
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