Back to business today as we host Birmingham city at the Emirates. It is Wenger’s 800th game as manager of Arsenal. Birmingham hasn’t won against us since more than half a century but they have been a thorn in our title aspirations on more than one occasion. They haven’t has a good start to the season but they are a resilient side and we can expect a very tight match.
Coming to team news, Wenger has yet again surprised us with another injury news in the shape of Koscielny who is going to miss the match due to a back problem. Fabregas, Vermaelen, Almunia and Sagna are all going to miss the match. We have Bendtner, Walcott and Gibbs returning to the squad.
So the squad at the back, as usual (I don’t know how many times I am going to say it), picks it up itself. Fabianski will return to goal. Squillaci will be partnered by Djourou as the other centre backs are injured. They will be flanked by Eboue and Gibbs. I have not gone with Clichy as he was involved with the French team during the international and he should have some rest. In midfield I would like to see wilshere, who was not involved in the game on Tuesday, Diaby, he had a good game for the French team, and Song. Song’s start to the season has not been good but we need a strong man in the centre and he is the right choice. Up front I would like to see Chamakh with Arshavin and Nasri. Bendtner and Walcott should be brought in as substitutes to give them some playing time. I have not picked Rosicky because he makes good impact when he comes as a substitute.
Starting XI: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, Wilshere, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.
Birmingham are going to be committed for sure, and they won’t be easily broken. They are going to sit back and wait for the counters. They can easily disrupt our game with their physical game and we would need to be careful.
As for us, complacency should not be shown and we would need to score early to settle the nerves. Some quick passing and direct play would be required to break Birmingham’s resolve. As Chamakh is probably going to start and Bendtner too is going to be involved at some point, therefore our crosses need to be immaculate to test the Birmingham’s defence. We would need to be patient and not give away possession.
Diaby would need to be quick. Song, if involved, should sit back and shield the defence and not come forward too much.
The game is going to be tight but the three points for us are a must. If we put up a performance like the one displayed against Chelsea, with some finishing though, than the three points will be secured. And we need nothing short of that display.
A clean sheet would be good but the win is more important. So 3-1 to Arsenal, for me, is going to be the score line.
See you on the other side with a win.