Burnley is on the horizon, Arsene dropping hints as to what his line-up will be come kick-off. According to the manager,
Kolo Toure, Eboue and Sagna will all play. A few of the players who featured all over Christmas will be rested and a few will come in. It will be a mixture…We do have a little problem with Adebayor on his hamstring but, if really needed, he could play
To be honest, I do not see the point. Eduardo is in fine form; Bendtner is available again following his suspension and Walcott can be used as a substitute or starter. In the defence, Clichy and Gallas have already been earmarked for a rest, Arsene taking full advantage of the largesse of the Ivory Coast FA’s decision not to enforce the FIFA regulations about Toure and Eboue joining their squad tomorrow. Alex Song, it seems, may be in a similar situation and if that is the case, could well accompany Toure in the centre of the defence.
In midfield, Mathieu Flamini will have the day off, being suspended for having received five cautions so perhaps Lassana Diarra will have an opportunity to prove to Arsene his worth in a reasonably normal midfield. Either that or show potential suitors that he is up to any job that they may want him to do.
Talking of which it seems that Jens Lehmann is on his way to Dortmund, speculation which was rife, increased as the German club called a press conference. It seems that when Arsene said, “I think he will play at Burnley” or words to that effect, he was not kidding with The Times and The Sun both reporting this morning that Lehmann will not be going to the Westfalenstadion other than as a spectator in the near future as he is refusing to take a pay cut to join his former club. First team football is obviously the most important thing on his mind when considering a new deal.
Those disappointed at the departure of Matthew Connolly will be able to console themselves with news that Kerrea Gilbert has returned to the club from his loan spell. His is an interesting case; both spells on loan to Cardiff and Southend have seen him disciplined through having been involved in ‘incidents’, something that he may have to prove to Arsene that he has learnt from. At right back he will be competing with Justin Hoyte for the understudy role which strikes me as one too many, taking into account that Eboue and Flamini could play there if a dire spate of injuries struck. Whether Gilbert and Hoyte survive the next two transfer windows at Arsenal will be interesting to see.