Tottenham vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

April 20, 2011

Manchester United has given us another lifeline after their stalemate against Newcastle. With us drawing against Liverpool on Sunday, it looked as if it was all over for us. However, the title race is back on and we have a slight hope. Even so, our hopes will be over soon if we fail to get the three points against the Spuds tonight. Even our top four spot will be in jeopardy if we fail to win the game.

After the Liverpool match, I said that it was very unlikely that Manchester will draw two games then lose to us before we take the title ourselves, by winning rest of our games. After last night, Manu have drawn one game and hopefully there will be more. The question still remains; will we win the rest our matches? (we will find out tonight) Man United have given us countless opportunities by slipping up on many occasions. Only that we haven’t been able to capitalize on them. We again have a chance now and I hope the team gives it their all tonight against Tottenham.

Coming to the game, Tottenham are playing at home and they will approach the game as if it is a Champions League final, they wouldn’t know the feeling though, what it is to be a in a CL final. Nonetheless, they will do their all to take the three points and they surely have a few players that can make things difficult for us. Their approach will be straight forward, deliver in as many crosses as they can and hope for Crouch to head in. With RVD Vaart and Modric they can also mix things up. So our backline will have to be alert and on their toes at all times. We have already made too many mistakes and it is time now that we deliver.

As for us, we will need to play our game and never slack-off, even for a second and even if we are winning by two goals. Chances will come to us and we will need to capitalize on them. Their keeper is prone to mistakes but at times he produces excellent saves and I don’t want their keeper to be the man of the match.

Upfront, the combination of Fabregas, Walcott and Van Persie will be the key. In the middle, Song and Diaby will have to play a massive game. We can’t afford to make any mistakes today and we can’t afford any more slip ups. And please Arsenal! don’t make things complicated. Keep possession, keep it simple and shoot whenever the opportunity arise and we will get the three points.

As for the starting lineup, Sagna will join the backline in place of Eboue as he has recovered form his injury. The rest of the defense will remain the same as it was against Liverpool.

Alex Song has also fully recovered from his injury, so I expect him to start alongside Fabregas and I will also keep Diaby for his strength and height. Wilshere for me will be on bench because he has already played a lot and Wenger hinted of rotation.

Up front. the trio will remain the same as it was against Liverpool. However, I won’t be surprised to see Arshavin in place of either Nasri or Walcott. Nasri is going through a quiet patch but considering how he played in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, I will start with him.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Diaby, Walcott, RVP, Nasri

Similar to the Liverpool game, it is difficult to predict what the outcome of the game will be. We haven’t scored many goals in the last few games and we have been quite ordinary in the final third. Still, away from home, we have delivered. And considering Spurs, there will be goals today. Hopefully, we will score more and get the three points. Come on Arsenal!!

Have a nice day Gooners and enjoy the game while keeping your fingers crossed. Tonight, we will resurrect our title chances!!


Arsene Wenger’s injury news ahead of Tottenham, Bacary Sagna and Alex Song fit to start

April 20, 2011

Bacary Sagna is back in the Arsenal squad to face Tottenham today as Arsene Wenger gave positive injury news ahead of the North London Derby.

Arsene Wenger, while speaking to Arsenal TV Online on Tuesday, confirmed that Sagna has recovered from his injury and is back in the squad. The manager also revealed that Manuel Almunia and Denilson have recovered form their respective injuries and back in normal training but won’t be included in the squad.

On an update on Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger informed that he is working very hard in training to get back to competitiveness and it will be some time before he plays.

Alex Song, who made a substitute appearance against Liverpool,  has also completely recovered from his knee injury as Wenger said that he will be rotating players in midfield with everyone back. 

Arsene Wenger, on Tuesday, said:

“Basically on the injury news it is all going well. Sagna should be back in the squad and everybody else is alright. [Almunia and Denilson] will not be in the squad but they are available. Almunia is back in normal training, Denilson as well. It is more a question of decisions, of choice.

Thomas is still not competitive but he works very hard and we can give him a competitive edge in training because it takes a while. Thomas is a player who works very hard, he wants always to improve and he will get that from training.

There was a doubt about [Alex Song’s] knee but he should be alright to be available. He says he is now completely ready. We have now three midfielders – Wilshere played many games, Diaby and Song – so we will rotate a little bit from game to game.”