Arsenal vs Wolves preview: Perfect occasion to rotate, plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on April 2, 2010 19:30
We can finally archive the first chapter of the Barcelona tie as we look forward to another Premiership game at the Emirates. Having shown character and determination on Wednesday, Arsenal will now focus their attention on their battle for the title, which, considering Manchester United and Chelsea clash at Old Trafford, could see the Gunners move closer to the top of the table.
I did some calculations of my own on how the Premiership battle could end, and I have a bad feeling we could lose the whole thing on goal average as I’m afraid it’s too late to improve on goals now. Hoping I’m wrong, I’m sure you all read about all the injuries we suffered in mid-week, three weeks here, end of the season there, same old story with Arsenal players. Luckily, Robin van Persie should feature soon, although I believe it will be very unlikely for him to reach top form before the season is over.
You can’t write about Wolves without going back to the Old Trafford game of last December, game in which the away side went out there with ten new players from the team that beat Tottenham three days before. That was pretty sad to see, something which I doubt we’ll see tomorrow at the Emirates of course.
Unbeaten in their last four games, Mick McCarthy’s players need the points as they keep on fighting for survival. I’m not sure if I can write this one off as an easy game, but surely much easier than all that was thrown at us in the last couple of weeks.
Andrey Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas and William Gallas join the long list of injured players with Denilson and Gael Clichy facing late fitness tests. I would play it safe and rest these two as we all know what happens when players are risked despite carrying injuries. Having said that, injuries or no injuries, I would have still rested all these players because I believe we can still field a strong side with what we have on the bench.
Eboue – Silvestre – Vermaelen – Traore
Rosicky – Diaby – Nasri – Vela
Unfortunately, Sol Campbell can never play twice in four days and since I wasn’t particularly impressed with Alex as centre back on Wednesday, Mikael Silvestre has to start alongside Thomas so as Sol can feature on Tuesday. In attack, considering how important Theo can be on Tuesday, I would only use him as a substitute in the second half. Samir Nasri, on the other hand, has to test his “Cesc role” status and finally, Tomas Rosicky and Carlos Vela should feature, at least to understand how fit they are ahead of the last month or so.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is fully aware that this weekend is a golden opportunity to close the gap at the top. The Frenchman explained how he is still confident on the Gunners’ chances of winning the title, but of course, dropping more points at this stage of the season would be suicidal.
I am still confident, but we know now we cannot afford to drop points. I believe we have enough strength and character in the squad – we have shown that many times this season. Now, the target is even higher because we lost more players. First of all we have one main target – to win our game.
After that tomorrow’s game is an opportunity, if we win our game, to catch one of the teams or two of the teams. But of course the main target is for us to win the game. Wolves are on a good run. I believe that this game demands 100 per cent focus – nobody beats Wolves at the moment just turning up and thinking it will be an easy game. They play well, they are on a good run as well so it will be interesting. It will show how much focus we can bring into a game like that.
It’s funny how every mid-table manager coming at the Emirates says the same things. Mick McCarthy – like others – declared he has no intention of parking the bus tomorrow afternoon, adding how his intentions are to go out there and get something out of the game.
We aren’t going down there with any other thoughts than we want to stop them beating us. I am pleased with the way we have been playing but nobody outside me, my team and the staff is expecting us to get anything at Arsenal. I want to go there and get something. I have got no interest in going there and just looking at the ground.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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