The Start Of A Killer 2 Weeks…
Arsenal have a huge 2 weeks ahead of them, with vital games against Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Brom, Villareal and Spurs. Then 3 days after that is the 2nd leg of the Champions League Semi-Final.
With so many games in such a short amount of time, you would expect Wenger to rotate the squad around – so you’ll probably see Sol making a few starts, and see Henry being rested a few times.
But let’s start with Manchester United this afternoon. Wenger will start with Adebayor, but will he rest Henry? Van Persie is waiting in the wings so it’s possible. Adebayor should prove to be interesting for Arsenal, since he brings that something different to the team – United might not be able to cope with him. I remember when Kanu came to Arsenal and no-one gave him a chance against the formidable Jaap Stam. Then he sold him with a beautiful feint and opened up the defence for Anelka to score. Brilliant skill…
The other players apart from the captain who have played a lot of games recently are Fabregas, Toure, Senderos, Flamini, Gilberto and Eboue. Toure and Eboue will start because they have energy to burn, and Gilberto is now a calming influence on the young kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if Diaby came in for Fabregas though, especially after his impressive display against Aston Villa last week.
On the wings, Wenger has a few options including Freddie, Hleb, Reyes or Pires – and even Theo could make an appearence today. He’s been on the bench for almost every first team game since he joined so Arsene must think he is ready to give something to seniors. Don’t be surprised if he contributes something to the United or Pompy game.
United themselves are on a great run in the Premiership, since being knocked out of the Champions League by Benfica and they have won their last 9 league games, are only 7 points behind Chelski and visit Stamford Bridge for a 6-pointer at the end of the month.
They are going to give absolutely everything (as if they needed any more reason to beat us), and if Arsenal are to win they will have to give 110% and stand up to United’s physical approach. United are dangerous from most areas of the pitch, especially with Rooney in great form, but they also know how to mix it up and put the boot in when necessary.
So if Arsenal let United intimidate them it’ll be difficult to get 3 points.
A team with Diaby, Gilberto, Freddie & Hleb would make more sense, as Pires and Reyes aren’t really suited to physical games. Adebayor knows how to look after himself and if Henry doesn’t start then Van Persie is ready to prove what he can do.
I have a sneaky feeling that Henry might be on the bench today, and that would really mess with United mentally – don’t Arsenal think enough of us to start Henry?
From recently memory, we’ve actually done better at Old Trafford without Titi, with the 1-0 winner from Wiltord to clinch the league in 2002, and the 2-0 win over United in the FA Cup the season after, with goals from Edu and Wiltord again.
There probably won’t be too many goals in it but Arsenal always make chances and I can see Arsenal winning by the odd goal. I predict Arsenal will win 2-1, with goals from Adebayor and Toure.