Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Wenger admits Wilshere gamble -Four changes for tonight -Gervinho needs our support

Morning Gooners.

With six Premier League games to go, now is the time to put our foot on the gas and power our way through the traffic for an excellent finish to the season by winning our remaining games. We've got the momentum to do it. We've been on a fantastic run of eight wins from out last ten league games and that can't stop now.

There was a palpable feeling in the stadium on Saturday of resignation that Nowich were going to take something from the game. But our manager and players wouldn't give in and his decisions and their hard work paid off when we scored three late goals to secure all the points.

There can be no complacency tonight. Everton are a good team, even if they aren't as strong on the road as they are at Goodison Park. In the Premier League era we've played the Toffees 20 times at home winning 16, drawing three times and losing just the once, back in January 1996.

The manager has some selection issues to resolve because of injury, the form of certain players and the availability of Per Mertesacker following the competition of his suspension.

Wenger said:
"We play again on Saturday, so it is important to make the right decisions and find the right balance in the team because all these players are super quality. 
"You must keep the spirit and overall focus of everybody. that is the most important thing."
The manager has also admitted rushing Jack back into the starting line up - something everyone who watched Saturday's victory could see. But we all know why he did it. Needs must at this stage of the season and playing a half fit Wilshere is a lot better than having someone with less commitment and desire than starting with other members of the squad.

Jack himself has admitted he "wasn't great" against Norwich but feels better to have had some minutes under his belt following a six week layoff. Personally I don't see him retaining his place in the team for tonight's game.

I'd expect there to be four changes from to the team which faced Norwich.

The rib injury suffered by Lukasz Fabianski is clearly a big blow to him. Since the 27-year-old has been between the sticks we've gone four games unbeaten conceding just three goals. With Arsene Wenger describing him being a "major doubt" for tonight, no chances can be taken and you'd imagine that Wojciech Szczesny, who hasn't been in the squad for the last two games, will get a chance to reclaim his spot in the team.

In defence I'd expect Per Mertesacker to be recalled in place of Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgium international did little wrong on Saturday, but Mertesacker is by far our best defender this season and his partnership with Koscielny is clearly the strongest pairing we have in that position.

I'd also imagine the manager will make a change at left back where Nacho Monreal will come back into the team for Kieran Gibbs. Like Vermaelen, Gibbs did little wrong on Saturday but I'd expect Monreal to replace him.

The only other change for me would be the recall of Tomas Rosicky to the starting line up in place of Jack Wilshere. The Czech international is a vital cog in this team and it showed how much we missed his turn of pace, fluid movement, commitment and desire on Saturday with his absence.

So my team for tonight would be: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho, Rosicky, Cazorla, Giroud.

I think despite his mixed performance on Saturday, Gervinho should retain his place. I really think he offers us something different.

We should have enough to beat David Moyes' team. We know they are tricky opponents so can't be complacent, not that we have been since the Bayern result.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.


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