Arsenal vs Wigan preview: Hoping for a quiet weekend. Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on January 21, 2011 19:30
After scoring three goals against West Ham and Leeds United and safely reaching the next round of the FA Cup, the Gunners are back in action in the Premier League as we face Wigan Athletic, tomorrow, at the Emirates.
It’s top against bottom this weekend, one of those weekends where I believe we will have no surprises at all at the top of the table as we play 18th-in-the-table Wigan with the two Manchester teams in action against the 16th and 17th in the table respectively. Maybe, just maybe, Roberto Mancini’s men could have one or two problems to battle their way past the Villans but for sure is that I don’t see us or the Red Devils drop any points.
With Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas now back to full strength we will hopefully enjoy a quiet and easy game at the Emirates in which – why not – we could score a lot of goals to improve our already-brilliant goal average record. And, with Ipswich Town coming up in mid-week, putting the game to bed in the first half could give our manager the option to rest key players earlier than usual.
One area which is worrying many fans is of course the defensive department and I would be lying if I say I disagree. The way I see it is very simple: Thomas Vermaelen should be back in six weeks but besides the fact that there is a big difference between “should” and “will”, one should also not forget that we have no guarantee whatsoever that he will not suffer any setback.
At the same time, we have no guarantee whatsoever that a new signing will settle down straight away although in all honesty I believe we do need one to play it safe. Yesterday Arsene explained what his plan is in case of emergency and I must confess I am baffled how he is ready to take Alex Song away from the midfield or use Ignasi Miquel, an 18-year old with no experience in the regular squad.
Of course, only time will tell whether this season’s gamble by our manager will pay-off. Last season we paid the price when he opted not to sign a replacement for Robin van Persie and this season we could experience more of the same if Laurent, Johan or both suffer injuries or fatigue or get a straight red. Until we find out, as always, let’s enjoy this rollercoaster ride of a title race hoping, of course, to be at the very top when the machine comes to a halt.
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.
Yet again, a pretty straightforward line to predict or choose as favourite. Lukasz Fabianski is yet to recover from injury and with Manuel Almunia set to leave the Club in January, Wojciech will of course continue in goal with Laurent and Johan at the heart of the defensive department and Gael and Bacary on the wings.
In midfield, Cesc was on fire in those few minutes he featured against Leeds and I’m more then sure he’ll have more of the same in store for Wigan. The more I see it the more I believe how phenomenal our offensive department is: Cesc, Samir and Robin. I will not say there is no other team having such a magnificent forward line but I’m sure we are the envy of many.
And I’m not even considering Andrey in the picture. Yes, Andrey. If only. If only he rediscovers the form which made him so popular amongst the fans. Would you picture that? Cesc, Samir, Robin and Andrey, the four firing on all cylinders. Wow. Come on Andrey, do whatever it takes but please understand you can be as important as the other three in our team, we need you little man, wake up please.
Our manager was full of praise for Wojciech Szczesny in Friday’s press conference as he explained how the youngster is not fazed by the pressure, is calm, focused and is working very hard in training on his distribution.
Our boss said:
I feel he is not fazed by the pressure, he looks calm and focused. Overall, he is dealing very well with the pressure. We knew before he played that on the technical side he has no problem, but he also shows he can deal with the pressure.
He works on his distribution with me as well, and especially with goalkeeper coach Gerry Payton. That is one of the parts of his game which he needs to work on.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is fully aware of how difficult tomorrow’s game is but was honest enough in admitting that his side will not park the bus, will not play for a draw but will come at the Emirates believing they could win.
I’m looking forward to it, it’s a game where we can enjoy the occasion and try to win a football match. It’s one of the best football grounds around European football. That makes it a special environment, a special event.
As a footballer, you want to be involved in those games. You want to be tested against the best and in the best football arenas. That’s what’s going to happen on Saturday, but we always go into games to try and win them. We’ll approach it in the same manner, knowing it’s probably one of the hardest moments to play Arsenal.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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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.