Sunday, 26 December 2010

Could Arsene Wenger play Marouane Chamakh and Robin van Persie against Chelsea?

For the last few days a thought has been going through my mind that Arsene Wenger might throw a curve ball with his team selection tomorrow night and play both Marouane Chamakh and Robin van Persie against Chelsea.

The last time we beat Roman Abramovich's club, Wenger played a side which included van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor in the front line.

The team of 2008/09 only included two players who are no longer at the club; Adebayor and William Gallas.

The starting 11 that day at Stamford Bridge where the Gunners triumphed 2-1 was: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri, Adebayor.

Could Wenger break from his usual 4-2-3-1 formation to bring in van Persie either alongside Chamakh or just behind him?

I've had a sneaking suspicion since the manager said both Cesc Fabregas and van Persie were ready to start and with two hard weeks of training under their belts they could both be in the starting line up tomorrow night.

I have no evidence that my hunch could prove to be anything other than that. But the manager might want to shake his team up to include two players who could prove to be a handful for Chelsea's back line.

There have been questions as how the manager would include Chamakh and van Persie together. That was attempted in the Champions League tie against Partizan Belgrade.

Van Persie had the better game with a goal plus four shots at two of which were on target compared to the Moroccan's one off target attempt. But I don't think you can expect an instant impact from two players who have hardly spend any time on the pitch together.

Perhaps tomorrow night could be the opportunity Wenger might use to play both of them from the start.

In defence I hope Johan Djourou will start. He's not let anyone down with his performances and his height could aid us as we all know Chelsea will play Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. Whilst it would be no surprise if Laurent Koscielny keeps his place, I hope Wenger opts for the Swiss international who to my mind has been more consistent when he's been given a chance.

I also expect Abou Diaby to start in place of Jack Wilshere. The teenager has had a superb debut season in red and white but I feel the Frenchman's height and upper body strength could see him get the nod to start.

That leaves Cesc Fabregas  to come into midfield for Tomas Rosicky and van Persie to replace Andrey Arshavin.

My starting line up would be:


Sagna - Squillaci - Djourou - Clichy

Song - Diaby

Fabregas - van Persie - Nasri


Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Wilshere, Walcott, Arshavin, Bendtner

That leaves Denilson, Rosicky and Vela without a place in the team or on the bench. It just goes to show how strong our squad is this season when everyone is fit.

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