Thursday, 3 March 2011

Clichy's winner - Rosicky, Cesc and RVP injury news - Barca signing?

Morning Gooners.

Well a 5-0 victory in the FA Cup last night was a better result than I was expecting. There was some encouraging signs as well: Bendtner scoring a hattrick, Tomas Rosicky (who came off after getting an elbow in the face)  and Abou Diaby having good games, a decent home debut for Ignasi Miquel and a promising professional debut from Conor Henderson.

Add to that a rare goal from Gael Clichy - only his second ever Arsenal goal and his first at the Grove. I swear though he was aiming for the corner flag though! Seriously, credit where it's due - excellent strike. I just hope he can add more goal scoring to his locker. We would be a more all encompassing threat if our full backs scored more.

The result sets up a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United a week Saturday and I hope the manager put out the strongest team possible. I know the FA Cup is the lowest of our three priorities but it terms of momentum, I feel the last time (2008) we were knocked out of the competition there it killed our chances in other competitions off.

Arsene Wenger though has said he will put out a team capable of winning the tie.

He said:
"Let's first see how the next two games go and see who is available after. We will play the team that has the best possible chance to qualify - that is for sure."
Before the trip to the north west though we have the small matter of a very important league game with Sunderland, which should we win will put us a point behind Manchester United at the top of the table.

The manager has told his players the league is the most important trophy they can win.

He said:
"It's down to our results – that will decide the championship. Do we win our games? It just depends on us. Every game is a cup game for us.
"The most important trophy is the Premier League because you win the league after 38 games and you win the Carling Cup after five, six games.
"The race is tight, exciting. I don't rule out Chelsea or Man City because everybody can drop points everywhere. If we maintain our consistency we have a very good chance."
Manchester United have a tricky away game on Sunday at Andfield without both their first choice central defenders. They also have to come to the Grove on May 1. And we know that their away record has been poor this season. They've also got Chelsea at home.

The league title is very much there for the taking... if we win our games.

Ahead of Tuesday's trip to Barcelona, captain Cesc Fabregas has been making all the right noises that he will be involved.

Fabregas wrote in the programme last night:
"I am running, getting better and don't sense any pain. We'll see how the next few days go. Perhaps I'll have a chance for Saturday. 
"We'll take things day by day. I knew I had to come off (against Stoke). I know when I can play. We have many games coming up so I couldn't afford to stay on and lose three weeks rather than seven days."
Whilst Wenger said of Fabregas post match:
"He has a chance to play in Barcelona. I don't think he will be involved on Saturday - no chance. But we will try with him on Sunday and have a final test on Monday morning."
I'm sure I don't need to tell you how important it is that Cesc plays next Tuesday. Lets wrap him in cotton wool until then.

Van Persie will miss the whole of March, as I blogged last night. More worrying news. But lets hope he comes back stronger.

And on the subject of Barcelona, The Sun report we're interested in signing winger Victor Vazquez on a free transfer in the summer.

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