Monday, 13 December 2010

Manchester United v Arsenal match preview - Fab two face fitness tests

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 Tonight's match against ManUre isn't a title decider but it will give us a huge psychological boost if we can win it.

Interesting team news - the Fab two, Cesc Fabregas and Lukasz Fabianski, face late fitness tests. I suspect that Fabregas will be on the bench and Fabianski will be fit enough to play. If Fabianski doesn't make it, we face the possibility of Wojciech Szczesny making his debut. I've been hoping that he would get his chance for some time, but I'm sure this would be the best match for it to happen. Better that than Almunia though.

Elsewhere, the usual suspects Diaby and Djourou are unlikely to be fit, so it will be Koscielny at centreback and either Wilshere or Denilson in midfield. Van Persie or Rosicky will most likely play in Cesc's position if he isn't fit.

As usual, several of the ManUre players have come out with what are obviously pre-planned comments to put out whatever message Alex Ferguson wishes to get across to the Arsenal players, his own players or the referee.

Darren Fletcher tried to influence the ref by insisting that he is not a dirty player. Definitely, not in any way whatsoever, honest governer:
"I don't think I'm a dirty player, I know I'm not a dirty player. I go to win the ball and sometimes you give away fouls doing that, but it's not malicious. It's all part of the British game. The referees here use a lot of common sense and they know when players are generally trying to win the ball and those going out to hurt people."
Thing is, no-one is suggesting that Fletcher deliberately set out to injure Arsenal players in the match against them at the Theatre of Wet Dreams last season - just that he cynically set out to distrupt Arsenal's rhythm by constantly fouling them and didn't get punished by the referee. Note the reference to "it's all part of the British game'' as well. Just another way of saying "They don't like it up 'em" or "we need to get amongst them", and almost as cynical as his tackling.

Meanwhile, Patrice Evra has said that Arsenal are just a feeder club and will never win anything. His comments seem either designed to play on the Arsenal players' insecurities or to wind them up. On this occasion I'm not sure it will work. Arsenal seem to have developed a bit of a mental block when it comes to playing the top teams and I believe this the main obsticle to us us from winning the league this season. However, I think we just need is a that bit luck in those games to give us more belief. Once we've beaten ManUre and Chel$ki that should give us the confidence.

If Evra had said this twelve months ago, I think a lot of Arsenal players would have thought to themselves: "yes, he's right, we do lack physical presence and a killer instinct", but I believe most people within the club now realise that this is no longer as true as it was and Arsene Wenger should use the comments to motivate his team.
We had a good result a few weeks ago against Man Citeh, but against Chel$ki it was the same old story - outplaying them but ending up losing because we weren't clinical enough in their area or solid enough in our own. If we'd had more confidence, we might have taken some of the chances that came our way or been more assured at the back.

Probable Arsenal line-up:


Sagna      Squillaci     Koscielny    Clichy

                Song         Wilshere

  Nasri           van Persie       Arshavin


Subs: Szczesny, Djourou, Eboue, Fabregas, Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Arsenal v FK Partizan Belgrade - match highlights video

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