Friday, 7 January 2011

Wilshere on Leeds - Wenger to make a surprise selection - Striker linked?

Morning Gooners.

The games seem to be stacking up at the moment. Tomorrow it's Leeds United in the FA Cup and then four days later it's Ipswich in the Carling Cup semi final. 

Jack Wilshere has been speaking about the City match and how Manchester United can be caught. More importantly, looking forward, he's been talking about the game at the Grove tomorrow.

He said:
"We've got a hard game in the FA Cup too. We know Leeds are a big club. They will bring loads of supporters and they'll be up for it. 
"So we have to make sure we are up for it, not do anything silly and hopefully progress to the next round."
There will be 8,500 traveling fans at the Grove. They are going to be noisy, so we're going to have to respond Gooners. City supporters were very quiet on Wednesday, so hopefully we'll have our singing voices prepared to back our boys.

The manager has indicated in his pre-match interview with the official site that he's planning  on making "many changes" to the side which drew on Wednesday night with City.

You would imagine the players likely to be involved will include: Szczesny, Eboue, Squillaci, Gibbs, Denilson, Eastmond, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, Chamakh. Could Aaron Ramsey have a role? Possibly on the bench. And what about either Carlos Vela or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas? Will it effect their loan opportunities if they are cup tied?

I think the manager will make a surprise selection and include them both in the squad for tomorrow.

The manager has already indicated he won't have Robin Van Persie or Samir Nasri involved. Sagna is suspended - Arsenal deciding there is no grounds to appeal his red card. I can't see Johan Djourou risked either. So Laurent Koscielny is the only other player who could play in the centre of defence.

That would also mean, in my opinion, that Alex Song would need to be on the bench to cover for both central defence and midfield.

I can't see either Jack Wilshere being involved either. He played significant periods of every game over the Christmas and New Year period. I have a suspiciousion that Cesc Fabregas will be on the bench.

So the bench could be strong: Fabianski, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Emmanuel-Thomas, Vela.

Anyway, I'm sure whoever the manager picks we'll have a strong enough side to progress.

The Daily Mirror and Daily Express catch up with what we already learnt yesterday from The Sun and the Daily Telegraph in terms of Samir Nasri being offered a five year contract extension.

There is official confirmation that Havard Nordtveit has signed for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Transfer window watch

The Daily Mail suggests Blackburn Rovers are interested in taking Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on loan to Ewood Park.

Whilst The Sun repeat what was in The Sunday Times last week, saying we're interested in Porto striker Radamel Falcao.

And that's about it. The manager hosts his pre-match press conference later. Expect an update as to how Thomas Vermaelen is getting on. Not too well from the whispers I'm hearing.

And I'm sure it will be interesting to hear whether he'll have either Vela or Jay Emmanuel Thomas available for tomorrow given the rumours of their immanent loan departures. We'll find out when the great man speaks at lunchtime.

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