Bendtner, Fabianski and Good News On The Injury Front
Nicklas Bendtner and Lukasz Fabianski have joined the ranks of, oh, just about everybody and declared that they are happy at Arsenal. Bendtner declared:
If the manager picks me I will always do whatever I can. I love the pressure, you could say I prefer it and thrive on it. I love it when people are thinking that this is the guy who needs to score or create something today if we are to win. That’s how I set myself up for every game. It’s good if people have big expectations for you. If people are expecting things from me, then I’m happy to take it.
OK so it’s not a “I could be happy”” but it is sort of. Bendtner does not lack in confidence or self-belief and to be fair to the Dane, the only thing missing is goals in his mini-run in the side. He has worked hard and deserves his due reward for effort. Should be manage to add goals to his game this weekend, everybody will be talking Happy Talk.
Meanwhile, Fabianski‘s Mr 20% has bucked a trend by declaring his client to be perfectly happy at the club and with the progress he has been making. Martin Weisner, for it is he, needs to keep his head below the parapet when around his peers for they will be throwing daggers in his direction for spoiling the perception of easy pickings when it comes to unsettling Arsenal players. Mind you, what he does behind the scenes is another matter but at least he is supportive in the media. A story that will no doubt, not find its way into the back pages simply because it does not fit with their ideas about events at the club.
It seems as though there might be the equivalent of some new signings in the January transfer window with the long-term absentees, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky back by then. Arsene said of the Czech:
[Rosicky’s] surgery went very well. He should be back with us in six to eight weeks, but that doesn’t mean he will be back playing. He will start training. I think a reasonable delay is to consider the beginning of next year.
Of Eduardo, the news was even better:
Eduardo is close to full training and should be playing in two to three weeks
Which is just about as upbeat as you could get on the news of those two players. Little doubt that Eduardo’s return, given the circumstances of his absence, will be a mental boost for those players who were on the pitch that fateful afternoon at St Andrews. Having witnessed the horrific injury first hand and his subsequent rehabilitation, it ought to convince them that with hard work and application, anything is possible.
Aston Villa Preview
Aston Villa pitch up at The Emirates today, seeking to protect their unbeaten record at the stadium. Two deserved draws from the previous visits suggest that they have the tactics of how to survive to a tee. However, the win against United last weekend ought to have brought the confidence oozing back into the Arsenal squad following a minor run of indifferent form.
Martin O’Neill’s side are sitting comfortably in the European places and seem the most likely to be the surprise Champions League qualifiers, if any emerges this season. He has them playing well although last weekend’s defeat suggests that they are not quite the finished article. Several of the team have been, if not coveted, certainly admired by Wenger in the past. Whilst I am not convinced of Barry, certainly Ashley Young and Agbonlahor would be welcome additions to the Arsenal squad.
There will not be many changes to that side, if any. Eboue is still out, van Persie still suspended. Adebayor was rated only 50:50 in Arsene-speak is probably 70:30 in reality. Almunia seems likely to make the grade being 70:30, even with Arsene’s pessimistic view. If Adebayor is fit enough to make the bench, I would be in favour of a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation, with Vela coming in as the second striker. His pace would give Villa more problems.
It seems unlikely that Wenger will concur and it would be no surprise if Diaby retained his place in the system that overcame United. Whilst this enables breaking from midfield in attack and gives protection to the defence, Villa are likely to employ a more defensive version of that formation which will lead to so much congestion that Boris Johnson would more than likely introduce a charge for the afternoon.
I would expect the team to be:
Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy; Walcott, Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson, Nasri; Bendtner
With a bench of:
Fabianski, Toure, Song, Adebayor, Vela, Ramsey, Djourou
Let’s hope that the players do not waste the opportunity that they gave themselves with the win over United and inflict the first defeat of Villa at The Emirates. Three points would be invaluable as United and Chelsea have relatively straightforward matches whilst Liverpool have a tricky little encounter at The Reebok, although one would expect them to win. Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.