Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town: Preview and Starting Eleven

January 30, 2011

It’s back to the FA Cup today and we are at home against Huddersfield town.

In the last round we were taken to a replay by Leeds and I hope it’s not the case this time. I don’t know much about Huddersfield but that they are in League One and they are fighting for promotion. This Cup, I feel, will not be a priority for them but still expect a very determined side that faces us today.

For the starting team, we can expect many changes and most of our second string to start as we have a Premier League match forty-eight hours after it. Most will be hoping for a strong side, but with a match against Everton on Tuesday, we cannot play the same men twice. And by now you would expect the whole squad to be at the same level.

So who ever starts, we can expect a win but we would have to show up and not take them lightly.

In goal, I expect Szczesny to keep his place even though Almunia is back from his injury. With Squillaci available, he will be in the starting eleven and Djourou will have a rest. Koscielny, therefore, will be the other centre back. Gibbs and Eboue will be on the flanks as Sagna won’t be risked for this and Clichy will need to start on Tuesday.

In the middle, Arsene will have to be decisive. I won’t start with Diaby as he has just come back. Also we would need someone who can control the midfield. We cannot start with Fabregas. However, we can start with Nasri as he started on the bench in the last game. Denilson to retain his place. To partner them, I will go with Song as we will need a good cover for our backline. We can bring on Diaby later when we have the game in control.

Upfront, I would start with Chamakh as lately he hasn’t featured much. On the left side, Arshavin needs to continue to improve his confidence. On the right, I can’t make up my mind between Walcott and Bendtner. Bendtner and Chamakh’s combination hasn’t clicked yet. However, Bendtner is improving with games and I won’t be surprised if he starts. Although, I would prefer Walcott to start.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Nasri, Denilson, Walcott, Chamakh, Arshavin

This game should be a walk in the park, no disrespect to Huddersfield, considering our team and how we have played these past few games.

My only concern is the back line as they will be playing together after a long time. However, if our midfield stays close to the defenders and not lose possession in dangerous areas, we will be fine.

No score predictions again as they always turn out to be incorrect.

Enjoy the match and keep your fingers crossed.

Player Ratings: Leeds 1 – 3 Arsenal

January 20, 2011

This was yet another fine performance from Arsenal. A high tempo start, early goal, possession play and killing off the game when required.

The defending was quite good. At times Gibbs was caught out but others covered up well for him.

In the middle we passed the ball around well with pace and precision. The pressing and movement was also good.

Upfront, the goals that were scored were all brilliant, but still we need to be more clinical and convert what we create.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (6.5): Didn’t have much to do, it was a stunning shot that led to the goal. Did well when called upon.

Sagna (8): Top class performance. Our right side was rock solid. Scored an awesome goal and provided good support in attack on the right.

Djourou (7.5): No mistakes today. A solid and disciplined performance. Aerially dominant as well.

Koscielny (7.5): Same as Djourou. Good solid defending. Was again quick to close down the Leeds players. He certainly plays well when around Djourou.

Gibbs (6.5): A decent performance. Good going forward but still needs improvement at the back. Made some good interceptions  though.

Song (7): Good work rate, good distribution of the ball and great in breaking down the Leeds play.

Denilson (6.5): Kept it simple and passed the ball around well. No ‘Denilson’ mistakes today. Some of his touches were quite good at times.

Nasri (8.5): Man of the match for me. He gave us a brilliant start and really carried the team well in the first half. His movement was good and opened up Leeds very easily. Cool finish on the first goal too.

Arshavin (5.5): He started brightly but then again lost his touch. Missed a simple tap in the first half and his shots on goal were way over at times.

Chamakh (6.5): Linked up play nicely, good work rate but again should have scored a goal.

Bendtner (6.5): His first touch was poor, missed a simple tap in and was anonymous at times. However, improved as the game progressed and delivered an inch perfect cross for Van Persie to score the third goal. Besides this made a couple of good runs and helped in defending.


Fabregas (7) and Van Persie (7) were great when they came on. They increased the tempo of our game and made things happen. Fabregas started the move that led to our third goal that Van Persie scored. Clichy (no rating) had little time to make an impact.

Leeds 1 – 3 Arsenal: A positive performance, Nasri, Sagna and Van Persie scored great goals

January 19, 2011

That’s more like it. A job well done! A good,  positive performance by Arsenal as a determined Leeds side were beaten three goals to one.

Nasri in the 5th, Sagna in the 35th and Van Persie in the 76th minute scored great goals for us. Leeds got their solitary goal in the 37th minute through a stunning shot by Bradley Johnson.

For major parts we played really well. The first twenty five minutes of the second were a bit slow though but Fabregas and Van Persie upped our tempo when they came on. Leeds looked dangerous on a few occasions but overall it was a comfortable win.

And we are through to the fourth round to face Huddersfield Town.