Saturday, 16 October 2010

Arsenal v Birmingham preview - Expectations on super subs Bendtner and Walcott

The cliche about real football being back can been assigned to the used basket and we can prepare ourselves for an afternoon at the Grove this afternoon.  

Those normal pre match rituals must be put back in place. I know mine were messed up for the West Brom game, so I will make sure they are in order this afternoon.

Birmingham cannot be treated as a game where we can turn up and win. That was our downfall against the Baggies. We have to expect a fight. 

Last season's 3-1 win at the Grove wasn't easy. We had to earn the right to win. And this year we can expect it to be just as difficult. 

The team news coming from the manager's press conference was that Laurent Koscielny is out with a back injury. Johan Djourou will take the place of the Frenchman in defence alongside Eboue, Squillaci and Clichy. 

There was no talk of Manuel Almunia making an amazing recovery from his elbow injury, so Lukasz Fabianski will continue between the posts.

A pretty solid back five, I would hope.

In midfield, there is no new injuries from the international break. So I'd expect Alex Song and Jack Wilshere to line up together in the deeper central roles, with Abou Diaby ahead of them.

Up front, I'd expect the boss to continue with the three players who started at Stamford Bridge: Samir Nasri, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin.

That will mean places on the bench for the returning Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott.

My Arsenal team:

Fabianski

Eboue - Squillachi - Djourou - Clichy

Song - Wilshere

Nasri - Diaby - Arshavin

Chamakh

Come on you Gunners!

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