Sunday, 20 February 2011

Wenger could be forced to make major changes for Orient clash

Arsenal have a busy end to February which includes a visit to Wembley for the Carling Cup final.

Therefore this afternoon's FA Cup fifth round match with Leyton Orient is a must win for the Gunners. A victory would ensure a five day break from competitive action between the Birmingham game a week today and the visit of Sunderland on Saturday March 5.

A draw would be very disappointing, although not a disaster, and would mean a replay would have to be scheduled, adding another date to our fixture list.

Because of fixtures coming so thick and fast after one another, I predict that Arsene Wenger will call on a number of the players who were on the bench or not involved with the squad on Wednesday night for this afternoon's match.

He will most certainly have an eye on the game with Stoke in midweek, so rotation will be a definite tactic with his line up today.

The Arsenal manager has incidated that Marouane Chamakh will be back for the Gunners, whilst Tomas Rosicky is due some minutes.

Subsititutes from the Barcelona match Nicklas Bendtner and Andrey Arshavin will take their places in the starting line up on either wing.

Manuel Almunia will be between the sticks to allow Wojciech Szczesny a rest, whilst in defence I expect Emmanuel Eboue and Kieran Gibbs to be either side of French duo Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscienly.

I expect Denilson to come in and start and with Abou Diaby suspended and injured, Jack Wilshere could retain his place in the starting 11.

This is an ideal opportunity for these players to show they are capable of playing first team football for Arsenal and many have something to prove.

Wenger is likely to pack the bench with the likes of Szcesny, Bacray Sagna, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri, and Robin van Persie.

This game on paper should be an Arsenal victory, but with previous rounds of the FA Cup, the north Londoners have struggled to maintain their focus against lower league opposition.

Today the players who come in must maintain the focus and win the game.

I predict the Arsenal line up will be:


Eboue - Squillaci - Koscielny - Gibbs

Denilson - Wilshere

Bendtner - Rosicky - Arshavin


I'll post the official line up once it's announced.  Come on you Gooners!!!

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