Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Wenger says the players care - McLintock rages at Spurs fan's provocation - Van Persie axed and Bendtner recalled for Braga

Morning Gooners.

I don't think there can be anything better for us at the moment than a game of football. And that's what we've got this evening.

I imagine I'm like a lot of you, still feeling as hurt today as I was after Saturday's game.

It was something I never truly expected. A sucker punch. And even though there is a game tonight, I'm not sure if even a victory can instantly rebuild the love I have for my team.

I'm sure it would start to rebuild the foundations, but a victory tonight is what we should expect as a bare minimum for what our team put us through on Saturday.

The manager said last night
"The players were very down because they do care. They basically threw a game away."
Now they have to insure they don't put themselves or us, the fans, in the same position again.

Arsene Wenger has rung the changes and left Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin at home. Gael Clichy is also left out with a back injury.

The manager will also decide this morning what part, if any, Cesc Fabregas will have in tonight's fixture. The Spaniard has been having problems with his hamstring, which could rule him out as the manager is not prepared to take a chance with him.

"Sometimes after the game he has a little recurrence, but at the moment I do not want to take a massive gamble. 
"We cannot afford to lose him, so I check every morning of the game how he is and we monitor him quite well, but it is on the way up.
"He was out for a while and had a reoccurrence of his problem. Then it gets in your head. When it gets in your head, it is difficult to play free of your mind."
One thing is for certain, we cannot afford to lose Cesc for any length of time in the league. We need him on the pitch, so if we have to rest him in the Champions League, we'll have to.

I would expect Jack Wilshere to start tonight. He's not played since the first half of the Everton game, so could probably do with some minutes.

Denilson, who has impressed me up to the end of the first half on Saturday, will no doubt continue his run in the team. He spoke with the media at last night's official UEFA pre match press conference.

With Van Persie being left in London and Marouane Chamakh playing so many games, I would expect Nicklas Bendtner - who is back in the squad - to start tonight.

Elsewhere, the club announced yesterday Henri Lansbury has joined Championship side Norwich City on loan for four weeks.

And finally, something from Charles Sale's sports agenda column in the Daily Mail caught my eye. It appears a Spurs fan in a corporate box at the Grove on Saturday was winding Arsenal legend Frank McLintock and his guests up after their victory.

Luckily it didn't come to a fist fight, but I'm not sure I'd have been so contained had I been put in the same position.

Good on Frank though, for standing up to him. He should respect the hospitality of the club he's visiting no matter who he supports.

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