Woo-fecking-hoo – Arsenal is back. An International Break as dull as my 9th grade English teacher is over and that means it’s time to return to the real football. Oh, how I’ve missed it.
Unfortunately the “break” has seen us lose three key players to injury – Robin van Persie, Abou Diaby and the freshly crocked Eduardo will all miss out – while Samir Nasri and Carlos Vela are not fit to start due to illness and fatigue respectively. With Nicklas Bendtner being made available it means he’ll likely partner the returning Emmanuel Adebayor up front instead of Eduardo, while Theo Walcott is also back in contention for a place.
Oh, and Cesc Fabregas is back too.
That’s right, our little pseudo-spitting captain and heart and soul of the Arsenal Football Club will play his first game since having his knee clunked by Xabi Alonso back in December. I’ve included an exclusive video outlining exactly how I feel about his return. You can view it here.
On a serious note though, I honestly think that Arsene Wenger will start Fabregas in the middle and he’s likely to complete four-man midfield combination of Denilson, Andrey Arshavin and Emmanuel Eboue. Suggestions are that Nasri will pull up just short while the manager is likely to ease Walcott back in a little more carefully than Fabregas given his consistent recent injury problems.
It will be interesting to see the impact that Cesc makes on the side, particularly given the fact our excellent form going into the International Break. There will be many fans hoping that the captain’s return takes us to the next level and while he might just do that in some of the big games we have coming up, I suspect the Manchester City game will be used more to ease him back into the side. We have enough proven game breakers available in Arshavin, Adebayor and Bendtner to not need to rely on Cesc this weekend and hopefully that will allow him to subtly make his mark.
Given that our goal in the league is essentially to finish fourth and our nearest rivals Aston Villa are likely to drop points against United, this is not strictly a “must-win” encounter. However, the lure of creeping up to third or even second and the underrated need to maintain momentum means the boys should be giving it their all to beat a Manchester City side that are quite frankly hopeless on the road.
I think we might put a few goals past them and I sincerely hope we do. Come on Arsenal!
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