Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Park to start? -Arshavin returns at number 10 -Players don't recognise Kroenke!

Morning Gooners.

It's the second of our two big games in four days tonight as we welcome Marseille to the Grove. Win the game and we'll be clear leaders of the group with ten points and two games in hand.

Arsene Wenger has big decisions to make. Does he rotate his winning team or does he go out to win the group and then rotate for the remaining group games at home to Dortmund and away to Olympiakos.

It's a tough call to make but the team news is positive. We have no fresh injuries following the Chelsea game and the manager says that Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson are ready to compete for starting spots. Yossi Benayoun returns to the squad after being unavailable for the Chelsea game but Marouane Chamakh is out injured with a knee problem.

There is also major concerns about Abou Diaby who now has a hamstring injury. The way the manager talks it could be quite a while until we see the Frenchman back in an Arsenal shirt.

I think with home advantage we'll see the manager mix it up a little bit. I expect there to be a fair few changes from the side which beat Chelsea and wouldn't be surprised if the manager made as many as five changes.

Arsene Wenger said:
"Ten points would guarantee our qualification but it would not guarantee first place [in the group].  
"You want to finish as high as possible but the first step is to qualify. It will be a difficult game against Marseille so let's be cautious, prepare well and be completely focused."
We saw what happened last time when we didn't gain first spot, so we have to go into these remaining games determined not to make the same mistake again. Marseille will want to attack us because they know the result they got against us in France wasn't good enough for them. They now need three points.

It could be a very open game, but it's one I would expect us to win.

I wonder if the manager might switch things around and play Andrey Arshavin in his preferred position behind the striker. The striker being  Ju Young Park rather than the goal machine Robin van Persie. I think the Dutchman will start on the bench.

I think tonight's line up will be:

Jenkinson - Koscielny - Vermaelen - Santos

Song - Arteta

Rosicky - Arshavin - Benayoun


The line up gives us plenty of options from the bench and with having just played a tough fixture at Stamford Bridge and playing West Brom at home on Saturday where we'll want to continue our winning ways, I think that rotation is certainly needed.

Yesterday majority shareholder Stan Kroenke sat down with members of the written press and said some interesting things. There is a full transcript of his interview on the Mirror Football website, well worth a read.

Whilst he was at the training ground he also addressed the players in the first team dressing room. It's interesting to read that some of the players didn't know who he was!

If you've got time for some extra reading, take a bit of time to read our latest Inside the Formation post which focuses on Robin van Persie's role against Chelsea and include his individual video highlights.

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