RvPs Absence Will Not Stop Arsenal Giving Chelsea The Blues
It seems that Robin van Persie was ill-treated in his jaunt to the doctors recently, the placenta coming from Muffin the Mule rather than the thoroughbred his ankle required. News of his likely absence for the rest of the season places a strain on resources and raises questions as to whether or not Arsene will dip into the transfer kitty in the January sales.
Wenger has time on his side in that respect. Bendtner will return from injury before then with Eduardo looking to fill the central striker role as well. The Croat is in pole position being the natural successor and along with Carlos Vela, one of two fit forwards at the club who would be comfortable playing as the main striker. Until Christmas they have the chance to prove their points. If they fail to do so, Wenger will no doubt seek to bring someone in.
Does the Dutchman’s absence mean that 4-3-3 gets tweaked? I am not sure. The team are now used to the change and aside from the trip to the Stadium of Light, they have adapted well. There were other defeats as well but last weekend’s was the one where they looked out of sorts. Arsene believes that to be a by-product of the internationals; this afternoon we get the answer.
Chelsea are stern opposition. Irrespective of the manner in which they have achieved success – functional, boring, Graham-esque – they have been successful and are not top of the Premier League at the moment by fluke. Ancelotti has continued the move towards expanding their play, helped by the return of Joe Cole and others who were fit, finding form.
Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka both have enjoyed facing Arsenal in the past for their current and previous employers. Anelka, in particular, is showing the consistency of form that he should have done throughout his career since leaving Arsenal.
Whilst not a physical side in the manner of Bolton or Blackburn, they are strong in midfield. Arsenal’s trio will have to work hard to control the centre of the pitch. They have the technique and quality to do so but must remain focussed for the whole of the match not just 90 minutes and then switch off in injury time. Whom that trio will be depends upon William Gallas.
I suspect he will be fit but if not, Song would be the natural successor rather than letting Drogba and Anelka loose on the ponderous Silvestre or Philippe Senderos. The Swiss international’s confidence has been shot to pieces every time he has faced Drogba and coming in from Carling Cup or duty for his country is not preparation for another encounter, even though in those circumstances, Vermaelen would probably be assigned almost man-marking on the Ivorian.
If Song does drop back, a triumverate of Fabregas, Denilson and Nasri should be expected with Rosicky filling in on the right. Wenger observed that some of Walcott’s injuries were inflamed by rushing him back too soon, almost a warning not to expect him in the starting line-up before the trip to Athens. It might be that he is used as a substitute striker this afternoon if required, should the game requiring chasing.
Arsenal enter the match as media underdogs. Chelsea has tried to deflect attention from that, Joe Cole the most recent to proclaim the pressure is all on Arsenal. It is not. Both sides need the win; Chelsea to put a large gap between the two at a relatively early stage of the season, Arsenal to prevent that happening. It is a big afternoon for Armand Traore. Quite possibly, Anelka will be asked to move out to the left to keep the youngster busy, no doubt identified as a potential pressure point in the absence of Gael Clichy.
I would expect the Arsenal side to be:
Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore; Denilson, Fabregas, Song; Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin
With a bench of:
Mannone, Senderos, Eboue, Silvestre, Rosicky, Walcott, Vela
It is not a must-win game for Arsenal, too many remain afterwards, closer perhaps to a must-not-lose. Either way, many believe this to be on the verge of great things. Arsene believes so. Time to prove our faith is not misplaced gentlemen.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.
Posted on November 28, 2009, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 571 Comments.