Arsenal vs Huddersfield preview: The end of an almost-perfect month. Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on January 28, 2011 21:15
After a difficult start to the month of January, Arsenal can end the first month of the year in style as they prepare to face League One’s Huddersfield at the Emirates.
January was a concern as playing seven games – which then became eight – in such a short period of time is never easy and the disappointing draw against Leeds and defeat against Ipswich increased my concern. Luckily, the second part of the month was better, I would say perfect and on Sunday we have a chance of putting the icing on the cake by reaching the fifth round of the F.A. Cup.
It is impossible to look at Sunday’s game without thinking about Tuesday’s Premier League game against Everton and as our manager said yesterday he is forced to rotate the side as it’s impossible to use the same eleven for two games in forty eight hours. A number of players are back in the squad and I expect them to start, or to rephrase, I hope to see them start as we need to understand the fitness level of all the players as we enter the last few, crucial months of the season.
Sebastien Squillaci is of course one of the injured players making his comeback and now that Arsene confirmed he will not sign anyone in the defensive department, the veteran will know that he needs to step up and show that he can be a valuable asset at the back.
Personally, I would have been delighted with a new player back there, especially someone who can play on both wings as one of my biggest concerns as we approach the first game against Barcelona is Emmanuel Eboue who has been quite shaky in his defensive duties on the right.
Speaking of transfers, Carlos Vela has finally left on loan as he opted to join Roberto di Matteo’s West Bromwich Albion. Regular readers of my space will know how much I believe in the Mexican and hopefully he can help us by scoring important goals when his new team faces the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. Good luck Carlos, it’s time to take your chance young man.
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.
If transfer rumours about his departure are to be taken seriously, this, could be Manuel Almunia’s last game for Arsenal. I am not a big fan of the Spaniard but I think we might as well give him a respectful farewell instead of waving goodbye remembering the poor games before the injury.
In defence I would start with Kieran, Laurent, Sebastien and Emmanuel. Bacary is out so the Ivory Coast International has to start as I would give Johan some rest ahead of the mid-week game against the Toffees.
In midfield, Samir was on the bench against Ipswich Town so he should be fit and ready to feature on Sunday, hopefully in a central position so as to rest our captain. Denilson and Abou Diaby complete my midfield. Jack Wilshere is another one who deserves a rest and the same goes for Alex Song. As I always say, Abou can be as important as the likes of Cesc and Samir in midfield, but he has to believe more in himself and of course, be more consistent.
In the offensive department, I believe Andrey will surely start after his good game in the Carling Cup with Theo Walcott and Marouane Chamakh, both non-starters in our last game, completing the line-up, which, incidentally, includes all those who were on the bench last Tuesday with the exception of James Shea.
Yet again, manager Arsene Wenger explained he would only sign a new player if he identifies someone “special” as he added how we can cope with the squad we have at the moment now that Thomas Vermaelen is close to return.
Our boss said:
I focus on my squad and I feel we have 22, 23 outfield players who can cope with what we need. Vermaelen looks to be making good progress, Squillaci is back available, so that was the only position we were short, at centre-backs.
If I don’t make any signings it is because I have not identified a special player who could strengthen our squad at the moment.
Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark admitted his team will be underdogs for Sunday’s game at the Emirates but confessed he asked his players to give it their best shot and to enjoy it as this could be the first of many big games in their careers.
We know it is going to be tough and we know we are huge underdogs, but we have worked hard to get this chance.
We are going to give it our best shot and I want the players to enjoy it. I believe a lot of them, because they are young and gifted, can go on and enjoy this experience again – on a regular basis in a league situation.
For Huddersfield Town that is a long-term goal but some can make it as individuals. Hopefully they will see the place and think that they want more of it.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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