Manchester United vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

August 28, 2011

Note: I am posting this from my iphone so apologies if things are a bit out of order.

Another difficult week for Arsenal is at an end but not before a trip to Old Trafford. From losing Nasri to an amazing win against Udinese and qualifying for the Champions League to having a bid for Cahill rejected and not getting a work permit for Campbell, everything has happened this week for us.

Today, however, we need more to concentrate on the game at hand. So, forget everything that has happened, is happening or is going to happen because we need to beat United! This is the last game of this month and the tough opening fixtures that we got. We haven’t started the season the way we would have liked. Still, we have done well in some games under the circumstances.

Today also won’t be easy. And more than the game, to pick the starting eleven will even more difficult. We are really short of options in the middle. Overall we are without Gervinho, Song, and Frimpong through suspension. Wilshere and Gibbs are injured (and if you all have forgotten, Diaby is still out).

There is some good news in the defensive department though. Koscielny had a positive test, Djourou is also available. There are some doubts over Vermaelen but I am hoping he will make it. Rosicky is also on hand in the middle.

With all this in mind, I will start with Koscielny and Vermaelen at the back flanked by Sagna and Traore. United will use the wings extensively and it is better that we start with players on their favorable positions.

Upfront, there isn’t much of a choice either. Van Persie will lead the line and he will be flanked by Arshavin and Walcott. Arshavin had a rest mid week so let’s hope he is all geared up for United because we will need that. Otherwise, I will give one of Chamberlain or Miyaichi a start.

The middle is where things get real tough. I am sure we will see Rosicky and Ramsey but who will start as defensive midfielder is one big piece of puzzle. Considering Wenger, I am certain we will see one of Djourou, Vermaelen or Koscielny in the role. And since Vermaelen and Koscielny have a great partnership as centre backs, Djourou will deputize for Song (Personally, I prefer Koscielny in this role). However, this all depends if Vermaelen makes it. Otherwise we have Coquelin or Lansbury to come in the middle.

Probable starting eleven: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Traore, Djourou, Rosicky, Ramsey, Walcott, van Persie, Arshavin.

As far as the game is concerned, United definitely have the advantage today. They know our weaknesses and will exploit them using the wings and speed. Nani is in good form and he will be continuously changing wings to force his way. Crosses will be flowing in right and left. Sagna and Traore will have to play intelligently and Ramsey and whosoever starts as defensive midfielder will need to give their support.

Rooney is going to act as their linchpin. He can distribute the ball quickly to the wings and then rush forward to receive the cross. Our midfield will have to be continuously on their toes to counter this. Don’t give Rooney space and he will be forced to play the ball sideways or back.

United do have problems of their own at the back. Their new keeper is certainly not class and down with confidence at the moment. They are also missing players in defense. So if we play this intelligently, we can surprise them. Testing their keeper continuously might do the trick today.  

The only thing is we will ne need to be a bit creative. United know how to defend against us so we will need to mix things up. Arshavin, Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky will all have to step their games up if we are to get away with points here. We will have to fight for the ball today and hold our ground because United won’t hold back. Another loss for us is not going to go down well with anyone.

This brings me to the result. As was the case with Liverpool, I will take a draw at Old Trafford under the circumstances we are in. However, a win will be massive and make the coming weeks easier. I have my fingers crossed for we will surprise everyone with a win today, hopefully!

Have a good day and enjoy the game. Let’s hope we end this month with a high!

p.s. I was busy this week with work, travelling and also survived a bad flu and fever so wasn’t able to update the blog. Things will return to normal this week.


 


Arsene Wenger’s injury update: Rosicky, Djourou and Traore back, Wilshere has a setback

August 24, 2011

Arsenal are set to face Udinese today for the important second leg of the Champions League play-off, that is going to decide which team ends up in the group stages. Arsene Wenger on Tuesday gave the latest team news.

Speaking ahead of the game, Arsene Wenger revealed that Rosicky has been picked for selection in the squad; however, whether he will start is not yet confirmed. Djourou and Traore are also returning to the squad after recovering from their respective injuries.

Alex Song, Frimpong and Gervinho are back from suspension for the game.  Van Persie is also available who missed the first leg due to suspension.

On an update on Jack Wilshere, the manager informed he has suffered a setback and will not be available for at least two to three weeks.

As for Laurent Koscielny, he has a chance to be fit for Manchester United but he won’t be available today.

Arsene Wenger, on Tuesday, said:

“[Tomas] Rosicky is in the squad, he’s available, he had a test this [Tuesday] morning. We don’t know whether he will be fit to start but he is in the squad. Djourou and Traore are back as well. Alex Song and Gervinho are back from suspension. Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Frimpong are available too.

Unfortunately [Jack] Wilshere is not ready so that is bad news for us and adds to the players we miss with transfers and some through injuries. Of course at the moment the squad is short.

I don’t know if we are back to square one or for how long he [ Jack Wilshere] will be out. He’s in a boot again, so that means he will at least be out for two or three weeks.

[Laurent] Koscielny is out but he has a chance to be fit to face Manchester United.”

Squad to face Udinese:

Wojciech Szczesny
Lukasz Fabianski
Carl Jenkinson
Bacary Sagna
Thomas Vermaelen
Johan Djourou
Armand Traore
Ignasi Miquel
Andrey Arshavin
Emmanuel Frimpong
Gervinho
Aaron Ramsey
Alex Song
Theo Walcott
Tomas Rosicky
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Marouane Chamakh
Robin van Persie


Arsenal fans await Kaka, Hazard, M’Vila, Marvin Martin, Zarate, Jagielka.

August 23, 2011

NOTE: This post is written by, Danish Shahid, a friend of mine. The opinion about every possible target is his own and not of this blog. Also, this was supposed to be published yesterday but due to a couple of reasons, I couldn’t. So, if there has been any new development, it isn’t included. In the light of recent departure of Fabregas and now Nasri, we will need to bring in top talent to replace them. Who will Arsene buy before the window closes is, however, one big question mark!

This is a brief summary of the players that have recently been linked to Arsenal. It enlists the current club of the player in question, followed with the latest updates about the transfer dealings and then my honest opinions about what they shall bring to the gunners’ game in totality.

Kaka

Current Team:  Real Madrid CF

Latest Update:

Arguably, the most sensational bid to be linked with Arsenal is that of Kaka for a loan deal. With Inter Milan also being linked to the Brazilian, he has dismissed the rumours of a move to London, insisting on staying with the Madrid giants. The playmaker desires to stay at the club and fight for his place and was recently quoted as,

My plan is to remain with Real Madrid and to obtain the confidence of the coach

Opinion:

With the above quote in mind there is almost no ground to run on over here with this story, but today’s world of football has taught us that anything can happen at any given instant, so we all may yet keep our fingers crossed hoping that Kaka makes the switch. If this deal is to happen and that is a very huge ‘if’ then it may work for the player, the club and the Premier League as well. Kaka may nail down a regular starting place in the first team which has avoided him now for almost two years; he brings experience to the club like no other player at the club and for the neutrals, watching a player of Kaka’s magnitude play in the Premier League would be an added bonus. It’s a win win situation if only this deal can go through. So, keep hoping Arsenal fans, it might just be the perfect answer to the club’s problems.

Marvin Martin

Current Team:  FC Sochaux

Latest Update:

Reports keep linking Marvin Martin to Arsenal, but, surprisingly there is no indication of the amount in question required to transfer the player to the club. There is constant speculation about this player touting him as the direct replacement for Samir Nasri, but any details of the deal are currently not available.

Opinion:

Any player that is flaunted as a direct replacement to Nasri and Fabregas must be first-class. He’s highly regarded and knowing Wenger’s eye for fine young players, I’m sure Marvin Martin is good at dribbling, creative, has vision and his passing must be suited to that of Arsenal. From what I’ve seen, and dare I say this, he does indeed seem like a tailor made replacement for Fabregas. Of course, his club record of a measly number of goals and assists may not amount to much, but then his three international appearances have resulted in two goals for his country by him. Therefore, with time on his side as it is with every Arsenal player (no pun intended) and Wenger’s guidance, he can be something of a phenomenon and develop into a complete attacking midfielder into the mould of Fabregas and Nasri. 

Mauro Zárate

Current Team:  Lazio

Latest Update:

Reports are indicating that the brother and agent of Zárate, flew in to London recently to discuss possible transfer moves with Arsenal as well as Tottenham. Since the speculation began, it has been claimed by the English press that Tottenham and not Arsenal would be his likely destination while the Italian press on the other hand claiming the opposite. His services would cost in the region of €25 million and it is understood that Lazio would not be interested in going lower so if Spurs can go higher then they have a genuine advantage in this case. But, with the arrivals of Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse at the club, the management may decide to do business in a lesser financial region then what is being quoted at the time.

Opinion:

Zárate’s ability can be summed up by comparing him to Arsenal over the last three years – inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, the guy has great technical skill, he has the occasional flashes of brilliance, but that’s only when he’s playing good and that is not the usual case with him. He just fades in and out of the game. Just 15 goals for Lazio over three seasons prove that very fact. So, it’s safe to say that he does not exactly bang in goals for fun. The player has a good physical aspect to his game which can assist the team at times as Arsenal is not physically the strongest side in the Premier League. But, with this comes into question, his temperament which is a very big concern as he has shown that he has quite the ability to lose it at any time during a match. Therefore, at the end of it all, he doesn’t really paint a picture of hope, but stranger things have happened in the world of football and at the age of 24, provided stability at Arsenal, he may yet prove me wrong for one and may peak at exactly the right time for a club which desperately needs it.

Yann M’Vila

Current Team: Stade Rennais FC 

Latest Update:

As it turns out, reports are coming in that Arsene Wenger had failed with an offer of €20 million for the player over the weekend, but he shall now return with an improvised offer for the services of the defensive midfielder. Yann M’Villa is highly rated inside the football circles and combined with the fact that age is on his side or in this case Rennes FC the club is hoping for an amount in the region of €25 million to release him.

Opinion:

The first good thing Yann M’Villa can provide for Arsenal midfield is steel. He’s extremely good at getting the ball back, rotating possession and has good physical presence which can only get better considering his age. The guy is a good player with a great footballing mind as eminent by his performances for his current club, but then again he is inexperienced and a player with just 11 international appearances for France presently does not cut it for Arsenal this season. The reason being, that Arsenal fans have been on the back of Arsene to buy some experience and a proven player at the highest level for a couple of years now which can guarantee them at least one trophy this season. Although, He may prove to be a good buy for the future but I don’t see him winning any trophy with and for Arsenal this season and to top it off Frimpong is a decent player and he’s young too so the defensive midfield area should not be the biggest concern right now. So, knowing Wenger and his cash strapped instincts, it might be a blessing in disguise if Wenger does not buy this player now for the €25 million and rather invests in someone with a more proven background at the premier level.

Phil Jagielka

Current Team:  Everton FC

Latest Update:

Arsenal failed earlier with bids of £10 and £12 million for Phil Jagielka, but with time running out and the money from the Fabregas transfer available, Arsene is going to try again for the defender. Although, Everton are reluctant to sell nevertheless the tune of some £20 million may change their thinking. The lack of transfer activity due to shortage of funds at Everton may force the side to sell one of its prized assets and it may also prove to be the key signing for Arsenal.

Opinion:

Firstly, Phil Jagielka is a proven Premier League player. Over the years, the player has established his position at Everton and clawed his way into the England international line up. He offers the defensive cover at the back that fans yearn for and Arsenal so often crave. His man marking’s pretty good, is pretty solid at the back providing good cover for the goalie, a good header of the ball, offers a fine variety while going forward and the occasional direct shoot on goal can be dangerous as well.  He may not come on the cheap and is certainly against the transfer policy set by Wenger over the years, but, the defensive problems may be solved with his arrival and his arrival at the club might also give him a reprieve with the fans.

Eden Hazard

Current Team:  Lille FC

Latest Update:

Recent reports are linking Arsenal with a £20 million plus approach for Eden Hazard. Wenger has been interested in the player for the last two years and his approaches have been constantly rebuffed by Lille as they did not want to lose one of their top players. This summer saw them sell Gervinho to Arsenal and with things heating up at Arsenal, Wenger may just splash out some serious cash on recruiting Hazard to his cause.

Opinion:

Hazard’s been a top quality player over the last couple of years. His dribbling plus his pace is excellent and combined they can be devastating to any defence in the world. The guy’s a wing wizard, that’s what he is. They call him a defender’s nightmare in the French Ligue and he is one of those players who can just change the pace and course of a game with an instant dribble, cross or goal. Think in the terms of Arjen Robben and you’re getting close to this player’s potential, but, only without the injuries which is a good thing. He is young and has pace to burn on the wings and the challenge for the first team might even force Walcott to turn into a decent finisher of the ball. With this signing, Wenger can certainly soothe the jagged nerves of the fans in the recent years and as always he will be investing in a player for the future.


Arsene Wenger on the Liverpool game, Nasri and his own future and new signings

August 21, 2011

Last night Arsenal lost the game against Liverpool after being reduced to 10 men for the second consecutive League game.

Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger said the team had a good performance under the circumstances and the result was harsh as it only transpired after going down to 10 men and through an offside goal. He added that all is not doom and gloom as we played without 8 first team players and there are positives from the game.

When asked about Nasri’s future, who was a surprise starter in the game, Arsene said he knows nothing. However, he added that at the moment he is an Arsenal player and would try to keep him.

On signing new players, the manager said they are looking and only the right thing for club will be done. He hinted at the possibility of no new centre backs by praising Koscielny and Vermaelen’s partnership.

In regards to his future, the manager said he is not the walking away type and he will give his best for the club.

Arsene Wenger, after the Liverpool match, said:

“[Result] Yes, I feel the result is very harsh on us. The decider was the sending off and as well the offside goal, it was the decider of the game.

I think the target is to have a good team and good players. You can spend money and have a bad team. You want the supporters to be happy and when you don’t win the game you can understand that they are not. But I think we had eight players out today and we still had a good performance. So it is not all doom and gloom, there are positives in the game today.

[Nasri’s future] I don’t know [what will happen]. I always said that I would try to keep Samir Nasri and I have never changed my mind on it because I played him today, to the surprise of everybody. He loves the Club, he wants to play for us, if we decide to sell him we will do it and we have to stand up for it. At the moment I am happy he is here. I don’t know if he will play on Wednesday, we will just play the game.

[On new signings] We look, you know? But we try to do the right things for the Club. I think Koscielny and Vermaelen are a fantastic pair of centre backs but it’s very difficult as well because if you buy another centre back and then someone gets injured I have to buy another one. You cannot do that every time you have an injured player.

[On his future] There is no chance I would walk away. I will try to give my best for the Club. We live under circumstances where every defeat is an absolutely a disgrace and an earthquake. We are at the start of the season and we are very disappointed that we lost the game. But we are at the start of the season.”


Arsenal 0 – 2 Liverpool: Thoughts and Player Ratings

August 21, 2011

So, more of the same from Arsenal with a different result this weekend.

With a makeshift midfield and defense, we started this game very positively but then went into a nut shell. If was Liverpool who created the better ‘half chances’ as we drifted from one end to another, hardly having a shot on goal. Nasri did have a go at goal near the half hour mark, so did Frimpong. Otherwise both the teams lacked creativity. The second half was where things started happening. Kelly rattled the cross bar, Van Persie had a shot saved, Frimpong was then sent off, Suarez came on and tested Szczesny followed by Downing and then the unfortunate own goal, involving Miquel and Ramsey. From there it was always us chasing the game and Liverpool ended it with another goal, the final nail in our already full coffin.

There is nothing much to talk from the game so I will come straight to what I feel.

First off, this is type a result one is going to end up with by putting youngsters on the field, who hardly have any Premier League experience against a squad that surely means business. The youngster’s fighting spirits will give you hard earned draws and at times an odd win but you will never be sure.

What we saw today is prove enough that our young players have all the talent in the word but they need experienced players to guide them. They cannot on their own make us challenge for the title, they need support.  

And this is where I fear Wenger is wrong. To put so many burdens on players who have hardly played a full game in the League is asking too much and at one point it surely is going to spill over. Look what happened in the case of Fabregas.

And on top of that to come out and say that we need to keep patience is not going to go down well.

Result and obvious lack of investment aside, the players out there deserve plaudits for giving their all from the first ball to the last. The defense was solid and to have kept the scores level till the last quarter of the game against a fully fit Liverpool squad is proof that we are improving, at least in one area of the field.

As for the result, weren’t we expected to lose this one? Yet, we lost only after going a man down and that too by gifting a freak own goal and through some bad refereeing by the lines man. I know these will sound like excuses but it is the reality. Liverpool were ordinary. We had eight first team players missing against a squad that has spent a fortune on players since January, yet, they couldn’t do us any damage with 11 on 11. (There is sure hope!) And looking back, I have a regret that we could have even won this game had our first team played.

Yet, this is no reason for where we are or why we don’t have to buy. We had a whole summer to solve our problems and buy the players required. What we have been doing can only be answered by Arsene and company. To play Miquel and not Squillaci, to bring on Bendtner and not Chamakh shows indecisiveness on our manager’s part. With the season two games old, we haven’t decided who will we keep and who we won’t. I don’t mind though, because late is better than never and this show that Arsene has lost his confidence with Squillaci and Chamakh (or am I seeing too much into it?)

I don’t even want to go over the players that are out injured or suspended. The Udinese and Manchester game just got a lot tougher for us. Qualification for the Champions League must be, however, the priority. If we fail to qualify, I am afraid, we will have to find another coffin. More on the Udinese game when the time comes.

The bottom line is we still need to strengthen despite having many players out injured or suspended because we won’t survive the season playing like this.

Before I conclude, apologies are also in line for Nasri who showed he truly is a professional and his commitment is spot on. He was on fire and looked like he cared for the team.

Coming to player ratings

Szczesny: (8) He again was commanding and covered his area well. Made some great saves, one each from Carroll, Downing and Suarez. Not at fault for both the goals.

Sagna: (7) Shifted from right to left and didn’t put a foot wrong. Offensively didn’t contribute as he was not on his preferred side.

Vermaelen: (8.5) Well he surely is a beast. Got his head onto every ball and never gave Carroll or any Liverpool forward space. Led by example and later on tried to revive the team by some forward runs. Caught out of position on the second goal but we were already losing then.

Koscielny: (no rating) Unlucky, looked decent before he went off injured.

Jenkinson: (7) He looked solid on his preferred flank and he sure is the right cover for Sagna. His crossing was better but as always we had no one attacking them.

Frimpong: (7) He really impressed me bar his second tackle that earned him the second yellow. Not afraid to put a foot in and was extremely quick on his feet. Had Liverpool in check till the time he was on. Even had a go at goal from range. As for his temperament and discipline, he needs to keep that in check. Will learn with time surely but I liked what I saw from him today.

Ramsey: (4.5) He really disappointed me today. He was slow and didn’t have things going his way. Lost the ball on countless occasions and didn’t give the support I expected from him.

Nasri: (6.5) As mentioned above, he deserves some slack after his performance today. Sure he did fade away at the end but we were already stretched to the limits. Made a great run in the first half that ended in shot going just wide. Moved the ball around and even dropped down deep to get it.

Arshavin: (4.5) One word, unacceptable! He did try to change things around but nothing was going his way. Ironically, he created the only chance for us. Should have been substituted early in the second half.

Van Persie: (5.5) Was isolated and never got any support. Only got one chance and he hit it straight at Reina in the second half just before things started going from bad to worse for us.

Walcott: (4) He too was anonymous and below par. He was always surrounded whenever he got the ball though. Lost the ball on countless occasions and made runs that ended in nothing.

Subs:

Miquel: (7) He justified his picking ahead of Squillaci. Comfortable and calm on the ball and read the game well. His positioning was also good. Being involved in the own goal was unfortunate.

Lansbury and Bendtner: (no rating) Didn’t have much time to make impact and by that time we had faded. Lansbury had the time to get booked though but liked his attitude.


Arsenal vs Liverpool: Preview and Starting Eleven

August 20, 2011

So, onto the second League game, the first at home for us and it’s against none other than the revitalzed Liverpool.

With no Gervinho, no Song, no Wilshere, no Gibbs, no Djourou, no Rosicky and no Diaby (when was the last time he played?!) you start thinking that this game is over before it even kicks off. However, no need to be alarmed, you may if it do you any good, as we have Miyaichi, Jenkinson, Frimpong and Nasri (might be his last game for us before he departs) available to replace all of the above.

While Liverpool may have Suarez, Carroll, Adam and Downing, they also have Carragher, Enrique and Flanagan.  The Scousers might be favorites to edge this one out but they won’t have it easy themselves, unless we make it for them.

This will surely be a game where one team exploits the others weaknesses and comes out on top. At the moment, we are losing the battle in terms to having more problems. However, games are not decided on paper and the team that best utilizes its resources on the field may get the maximum today.

For us, the biggest problem today will be to find the right starting eleven. With having so few options due to injuries and suspension, one wonders what Wenger will be going through right now!

Who will play in the centre? Who will be at left back? Who will start on the wings? Are just a few questions every Gooner will be thinking about.

If I have my way, I will go with Vermaelen, Koscielny, Sagna and Jenkinson at the back.

In the middle I will go with Frimpong to do the job of Song. He will be partnered by Ramsey. The central role I will give to Nasri. Playing Nasri might not go down well with some of you, I also don’t like it, but at the moment we need to use all our options. Nasri prefers the central position and I am more than certain he will give his best. Not because he will want to stay but because he would want to show the world he still can play. (And if he doesn’t perform, we will have more reason to hate him, when he does leave)  

Upfront, van Persie will of course lead the line and on the flanks I will go with Walcott and Arshavin. Bringing on Miyaichi and Oxlade Chamberlain later in the game to terrorize Liverpool’s fullbacks further.

Probable starting eleven: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Nasri, Frimpong, Walcott, Van Persie, Arshavin

What we have witnessed in the last two games is missing the creative spark in the middle. With Nasri we can solve some of the problem today. If he, Arshavin and van Persie can combine well, we will have some good openings. And with Walcott and Ramsey, I am confident we can have a game on our hands. We will need to exploit their full backs by using our pace on the wings as it is their week area too. With quick passing and movement we can catch them by surprise. Chances might be few for us, so, whatever comes up will need to be taken.

At the back, Jenkinson will need proper cover as he wasn’t comfortable back there against Udinese. And against Liverpool he is in for a much difficult time. To counter, I will keep Frimpong close to him and ask him not to venture forward unnecessarily. Vermaelen too will need to provide him support. The midfield will have to stay close to the defense when under attack.

Liverpool, we know, will use the pace and skill of Suarez, the height of Carroll and the intelligence of Adam in the midfield to expose our backline. We may have kept a clean sheet in our last two games but today will be the first real test of our defense, even though it is a makeshift one. So, we will need to put in more of the good stuff today.

As far as the result is concerned, a win will really make my day; however, I won’t mind a draw under the circumstances. A loss will be bad but not a disaster and it may prove a blessing a disguise, as it will surely make Wenger realize this squad needs players. ( I hope it doesn’t come to this)

Before I conclude, I want to add that if Nasri does start for us, we will have to keep our feelings towards him in check for the duration of the game as he will be out there to help us win the game. And unsettling him during the game will not help us much. Not an ideal situation but we will have to go with it.

Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the game. Have a good day!

 


Arsene Wenger’s latest injury update, Miyaichi, Nasri, Frimpong and Jenkinson set to start against Liverpool

August 20, 2011

Arsene Wenger on Friday gave the latest update on the squad that will face Liverpool today.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene confirmed that Diaby, Wilshere and Gibbs will miss the game due to injury along with Song and Gervinho, who are suspended.

In an update on Djourou and Traore, who had positive tests on Thursday, the manager said that they won’t also be available. Djourou is out with a minor hamstring strain while Traore has a slight groin problem.

Rosicky, whose inclusion was pending a late decision on Thursday, will also be given a rest against Liverpool due to a thigh injury. However, he will be back with the squad by Monday as according to the manager the injury is not bad.

Meanwhile, Wenger announced, Japanese sensation, Miyaichi, and want away midfielder, Nasri, are available and included in the squad.  

Frimpong will also be in contention to start as Wenger admitted his likeness for the youngster and his ability and added only his injury proved a hindrance or he would have played last year.

Wenger also hinted at a possible start for Jenkinson after praising his performance against Udinese.

Arsene Wenger, ahead of the game against Liverpool, said:

“The morale is strong and the belief is strong. I believe we have had a decent start. We have Song and Gervinho suspended. Diaby and Wilshere are injured. Djourou and Traore will not be available and Gibbs will not be available.

We will give Tomas a rest tomorrow. It is not a bad injury and he should be back with us on Monday but he is rested tomorrow.

He [Ryo Miyaichi] came back from Japan yesterday and is in the squad. He [Samir Nasri] is in the squad tomorrow and available to be picked to play.

Frimpong will be in contention when I pick my team tomorrow morning. I like him very much. He is a fighter, he is strong in the duels, has fantastic levels of commitment and he uses the ball well with his feet. He was one of the players who dominated pre-season last year with Jack Wilshere and was stopped through a cruciate. I think he would have played last year.

Jenkinson did really well at left-back the other night [against Udinese]. I believe that he will have an impact and you will fight for him not to play for Finland.”