Friday, 27 April 2012

Diaby's out again! -Song wants to play in Italy -Wenger's clear-out plan

Morning Gooners.

We'll start with the all important team news ahead of tomorrow's trip to Stoke. Tomas Rosicky is  well again after illness last weekend and will be in the squad. However it appears that Abou Diaby might have picked up whatever the Czech international had because Arsene Wenger has said his compatriot will not make the starting 11 because of illness. He may or may not be in the squad, depending on how he gets on at training today.

The other news is that Theo Walcott will miss tomorrow's game as expected and will be out for our final home game of the season against Norwich, but Wenger believes he still has a chance (all be it small) of facing West Brom on the final day of the season.

Another player who could make out last game is Per Mertesacker, who is working with the ball but yet to return to full training with the rest of the squad. Wenger has said the next two weeks are vital for him if he is to make the Germany squad for Euro 2012.

Ahead of the game at the Britannia Stadium, Wenger said:

"We know what is at stake and we know that Stoke is always a difficult opponent for us.
"That is why our desire to win this game will be highly needed. Our commitment will need to be 100 per cent."

I think all the player are well aware of what we need to do on Saturday and their need to perform. We're already missing two of our biggest players in Mikel Arteta and Theo Walcott, but I expect those replacing them to come in and do a job for us.

Yossi Benayoun returns after being unable to face his parent club Chelsea and I think the manager will look to use him on the left hand side of the attacking three. Walcott will either be replaced by Gervinho or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. I have a feeling that the manager will drop The Ox and go with experience this weekend. We know that Stoke has never been an easy place for us to go and after Alex's average performance against Chelsea, I think he could do more damage from the bench in the second half.

I can't see too much other tinkering being made.

One player who has been near enough ever present since the start of the season is Alex Song and his agent has admitted the Cameroon international would like to one day play in Italy.

It's been interesting that after we agreed a deal to sign Lukasz Podolski, the next position we have looked to add cover for in the squad is at defensive midfield. I'm told that we are at an advance stage with Yann M'Vila but are also scouting another two just in case the deal cannot be made.

The manager has suggested that he'll need to make some tough decision in the summer because the Premier League squad ruling means he's got nine players who he cannot play. That means the likes of Denilson, Vela and Bendtner will probably be moved on if we can get the right price for them.

Wenger will host his press conference later ahead of the game, so let's hope for some positive news on Diaby.

Until tomorrow.

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