Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Walcott out = Oxlade-Chamberlain in? -£5m keeper scouted -Henry's third return!

Morning Gooners.

Tonight the team needs to ensure all the hard work and effort they put into the Tottenham game isn't a false dawn. A lot has been spoken about confidence and momentum. And to make certain of our place in the knock out stages of the Champions League, a win is a must. So we must continue our momentum with a win and add another brick to our wall of confidence.

The manager at his press conference has described tonight's game as vital to win. Three points would certainly make things a lot easier should we have to go to Greece in the final group game needing either a win or a draw.

Wenger said:
"We do it step by step. First of all we want to qualify, then try to top the group. Let’s just win the game. 
"It is important on the back of the Tottenham game that we put in another good performance and show a resolute attitude. If we produce a quality performance then we will win the game. 
"[Beating Tottenham] was an important win and it’s a good basis to build on and go to the next game with a stronger belief, even more united and more determined to play our game."
The hardest thing to rebuild in a team is confidence it is often said. And the manner of our victory over Spurs at the weekend should go someway to giving this team the belief they are capable of winning a trophy together this season.

There is of course a long way to go. The manager has to survive the January transfer window and has already admitted the club won't sell Theo Walcott even if he doesn't agree to sign a new deal. And there is now talk that Thierry Henry will rejoin the club for a third time in the New Year to act as cover for Gervinho who is heading for the Africa Cup of Nations and Marouane Chamakh who looks set to leave on loan.

And there is also rumours the manager is looking at move for Ajax keeper Kenneth Vermeer according to The Sun. The £5million rated shot stopper, 26, made his international debut for Holland in last week’s 0-0 draw with Germany in Amsterdam.

However January is still six weeks away and even though Arsene Wenger might be lining up deals to be done now, tonight's game must be at the forefront of his thinking.

The team news is mixed. Theo Walcott misses out after damaging his shoulder at the weekend. Also out of tonight's squad is Andre Santos. But a positive is the return of Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho.

I think the manager will probably try to stick with near enough the same team which won 5-2 at the weekend. The change he'll have to make is for Theo. I can see Alex Oxlade Chamberlain coming into the team to start his second Champions League game of the season.

So I'd imagine the team will be: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

I hope the atmosphere is as good as it was on Saturday tonight. But I think the crowd being behind the team certainly made a difference.

If you're going to the game, I'll see you there. If not, enjoy the match where ever you're going to watch it. I'll be back with my thoughts on it tomorrow.

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