Monday, 29 November 2010

Nordtveit and Vela ready for Cup starts - Chamakh takes a battering - Leeds United in FA Cup

Morning Gooners,

Yesterday's result at St James Park leaves us third in the table, behind Chelsea on goal difference. We're now three points clear of Manchester City, so from this time last week, things are looking more rosy.

We're in Carling Cup action tomorrow night. I'm personally really looking forward to this one. I don't normally go to the leaggue cup games but I'm making this year an acception, as the boss has played a stronger team and we're looking to win the competition.

Win the match and we'll be through to the semi finals. It's the first home domestic cup match this season having had victories at Tottenham and Newcastle.

I expect a lot of changes from the side who beat Villa on Saturday. You have to expect Robin Van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott all to start, as I'm sure Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs Johan Djourou and Denilson will do as well.

There is whispers that Havard Nordtveit could start at right back. Carlos Vela, you would assume, would also have to start on the left of the attacking three.

One thing is for sure. These players have to prove to the boss that they are ready for the first team. Some of them have been out injured, so are now working their way back to full fitness.

Then there will be the youngsters drafted into the squad, the likes of Jay Emmanuel Thomas and Craig Eastmond.

I would expect the boss to retain at least one of Sebastien Squillaci or Laurent Koscielny at the back.

One player who has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water is Marouane Chamakh. He's scored ten goals in all competitions, including seven in the league.

He's due a break, so I don't imagine he'll be involved at all tomorrow. And it seems he's discovered the rough and tumble of the Premier League is certainly a different game to the one he was used to in France.

He said:
"I was never in such a state at Bordeaux. 
"Things take on a new dimension here. Against West Ham I was in incredible pain with my neck. 
"It was impossible to turn my head. Every ball that's contested here I get ploughed into - and the referee doesn't blow for it. 
"When people pushed me in France, I fell down and got a free kick. When there's a hard tackle here, I have to get up and play. 
"After a Premier League match, I walk off with my body aching, with scratch marks, stiff muscles. Three days later, we go again."
His statistics certainly say something about his involvement in Arsenal's all round game. He's set the standard for his team mates and Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner can now see the required standard.

Chamakh's form, plus the 4-2-3-1 system, is going to make it very tough for those two in particular to get games.

The FA Cup third round draw took place yesterday. We're to play Leeds United at the Grove.

I've still to post my post match thoughts on the Villa game and hope to have those up on the blog at some point today.

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