Birmingham vs Arsenal: A preview of eternal numbers, plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on December 31, 2010 19:45
Good evening and happy new year to all our readers. A tormented 2010 is drawing to a close as we enter 2011 by travelling to Birmingham to play Alex Hleb’s Brum.
Are you superstitious? Well if you’re from Italy and believe “17″ is the number of bad luck you’ll not be happy to know that Wigan were 17th in the table when we played them on Wednesday and that’s right where Birmingham are placed at the moment. Which is funny for a team which drew against Manchester United and Tottenham and defeated Chelsea and Aston Villa on home soil.
In other words, this is a tough one. I know, I know, if it’s not “a must win game” it must be a “tough one” but these guys are strong at home, very strong. Luckily, and you may not know this so consider it exclusive news, we have eight players coming back after getting a rest at Wigan. Eight is my favourite number and eight is the number of Samir Nasri, one who will hopefully start the year in the same fashion as he ended this one by helping the team get all three points.
As it is almost always the case for the Gunners, a lot will depend on how our centre backs perform. Many are comparing poor Laurent Koscielny to Philippe Senderos and Sebastien Squillaci to Mikael Silvestre. That’s very harsh, I say, so let’s just keep the comparison to the number of their jerseys, six and eighteen respectively, shall we?
To answer some e-mails I received today, some words on the number eleven. Arsene Wenger confirmed Carlos Vela will be loaned out and about time I say. Vamos Carlos, I never understood why one of our most talented players was never given a proper run in the first team, the same run given to some who didn’t deserve it at all. He will now finally enjoy first-team football, hopefully in the Premier League so as to demonstrate that the “too lightweight” argument is as weak as a wet paper bag.
And finally there’s the number one, the Arsenal Interactive lucky charm, one who keeps suffering mysterious injuries over and over again. Cheer up Manuel, for some life starts at 40, for you it could start at 33 if a loan or permanent move ends up your misery at Arsenal.
And this concludes the preview of eternal numbers. As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
After Lukasz Fabianski yet again demonstrated all his problems in dealing with high balls at the DW, it’s time for Arsene Wenger to invent an injury for the Pole so as he could give way to the young one, Wojciech.
In front of him, we don’t have many options do we? I remember people justifying the lack of defensive signings before Sebastien Squillaci came by saying how Havard Nordtveit could be an option as centre back but now he’s history so it means we have to rely on what we have, with the only Johan Djourou who could be defined as a “certain starter”.
Now make no mistake, had Abou Diaby managed to come through the Wigan game unhurt and convinced me during the ninety minutes, I would have played him in midfield with Alex as centre back in place of Laurent. We need solutions back there, we need new players and Johan and Alex could form a special partnership back there.
Unfortunately this is not possible now that the Frenchman is back on the injury list. So the midfield will surely be made up of Alex, Cesc and Jack. Up front, I would of course start with Robin van Persie. Both Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh were disappointing on Wednesday although the Dane improved as the game went on, but Robin is on a different level and hopefully he will show it again tomorrow.
That’s all friends, enjoy your last day of the year and make sure to recover in time for tomorrow’s game, it kicks off at 17:30 so hopefully no one will say there’s some sort of conspiracy going on against Arsenal considering the Red Devils start at 12:45 and will have to miss one or two glasses of champagne to sleep early!
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed all missing players on Wednesday will be back for tomorrow’s game, This of course includes back-from-suspension Cesc Fabregas and rested Robin van Persie and Alex Song.
We get back Song, Fabregas – who was suspended – and Van Persie. They will be back in the squad.“We lose Diaby for a calf strain, [he will miss] three weeks approximately.
The squad will be approximately the squad that has gone to Wigan.
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes big teams don’t like to play his team away from home as he believe Brum have built a reputation in their stadium which the Scot hopes to keep going, tomorrow, against the Gunners.
Nobody likes coming here. People keep saying that – and long may it continue. We have earned that reputation and want to preserve it.
We know Arsenal are capable of turning anybody over on their day, but if they feel a bit nervy, that could just give us a bit extra. We need to make sure that Arsenal are another big club who go home knowing they have been in a game.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
As always, tune in for team line-ups, streaming links, half time and full time reports, post-match thoughts, video highlights and what the press is writing. And of course, do contribute if you want to by making use of the comment box available at the bottom of the post as it’s always nice to hear your opinion. And as a final note, if you want to go one step further than just leaving a comment and want to have your articles published on our website, take a look here for more information.
And of course, don’t forget you’re still in time to pick your preferred team for this game. And when the final whistle blows, don’t forget to rate the players, comment on their performances and share your personal ratings with your friends. All this and more, available at http://www.arsenal-interactive.com.