As Manchester United visit Emirates Stadium, the team sheets and confidence levels of both teams can never be so contrasting. Manchester United have more or less a full strength squad to choose from and coming on the back of a victory over Hull City in the premier league (nevertheless a fighting comeback from the opposition) and a draw against Celtics away from home in the Champions League, they will be primed to give the Gunners one more blow to their Premier league hopes. Arsenal on the other hand face a host of injury problems and the draw against Fenerbache will not be encouraging coming on the back of a Stoke City defeat.
On the injury front, all parts of the field except the central midfield looks rosy for Arsenal. Starting from the back, Sagna’s injury means that Toure would play on that role on Saturday. Gallas and Silvestre are both injured and Wenger will take a call on matchday to keep one of them and maybe start with Djourou, who is a good bet to start. I hope he does that because Djorou would be capable of handling the aerial balls better than any of the other central defenders that we have. Clichy is fit and hence that position will be secure.
Coming to the midfield, injuries to both Walcott and Eboue means he will have to again look at Denilson/Diaby/Ramsey in that order to start on the right of midfield. I would prefer him to start with Ramsey but it might be too much for the youngster to start on a unfamiliar role in a high tempo match like this. Central midfield has been the debating point for the last few weeks now. I would like to see how Fabregas and Ramsey can play together in that role and if we can mould Ramsey into a defensive midfield role. Alex Song will also be in the picture when it comes to this match. Nasri retains his position on the left side of midfield, though he was very patchy in the last couple of matches.
Forwards are short in the current team and the only available two forwards are Bendtner and Vela and it looks like we will start with both or if Wenger goes for a 5 midfield we might start only with Bendtner. I would like to see Wilshere also coming through in this position, but maybe in the next match as Van Persie will and Adebayor might miss 2 more matches. But this is one of those moments in a footballer’s career where destiny is giving them a chance to prove a point to the coach and supporters and if Bendtner can make use of this opportunity he will endear himself to the entire Gooner community.
The team is definetely going through a bad patch and this is when they require us to support them and encourage them, whatever be the result. Lets hope Wenger does some magic with this set of players and we do not go down that soon this season.