Sunday, 30 January 2011

Vermaelen targets February 16 return - Almunia set to start?

Morning Gooners,

Oh I do hate early kick-offs. I don't mind getting up earlier that's not an issue for me. It's the fact that others don't like to get early and are not morning people like me. The atmosphere is flat at the stadium and there is less time for drinking.... which is always bad!

So to the Grove we head for a midday kick-off. Live on ESPN for some reason? Anyway, TV want to show the Arsenal, how can we blame them. Lets hope the game brings lots of incident and lots of Arsenal goals.

The main news this morning stems from a News of the World report that Thomas Vermaelen is targeting the first Champions League match against Barcelona for his return.

The newspaper say the Belgium international will run for the first time since his operation on January 18.

Good news if it happens, but I would suggest it could be a bit early for Vermaelen. Lets hope he doesn't have any set backs because we really need him to be fit again. He will have a big part to play in our season if he stays fit.

The other story around today is how Thierry Henry influenced the players whilst he was training at London Colney.

Nicklas Bendtner has been talking about working with the Frenchman.

He said:
"Thierry has been great to have around the training ground. He is one of the greatest players ever to play for Arsenal and from a striker's point of view, it is amazing to have a guy around who has been there and done it. You can take so much from him."
I don't think that Henry could have been anything other than a good influence on the players. He admits he's a Gooner. He's got a smile  which is infectious and I'm sure he trains very well.

So for him to be around the place during a tricky January is for me only a good thing.



Team news for today is that Manuel Almunia, Sebastien Squillaci, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky are back in the squad. Bacray Sagna is being kept out of this game due to the concussion he picked up on Wednesday night.

I expect a lot of changes from the Carling Cup semi final. I would expect three or four players will be retained from that team but the majority will be switched out.

I think the team could be:

Almunia

Eboue - Squillaci - Koscielny - Gibbs

Denilson - Diaby

Bendtner - Rosicky - Arshavin

Chamakh

I just hope there will be lots of goals.... for Arsenal. We need to start brightly with a high tempo and get ourselves an early goal.

I'll post the team news when I get it. 

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