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Talking is over, football begins.

by on August 13, 2011

Here we go then. At 17:30 today, eleven players in red and white will walk out onto the pitch at St. James’ Park, wearing the cannon on their chests. The names, faces, fees and wages won’t matter one bit, they’re Arsenal. Needless to say, we all remember what happened last time we played there. That’s all history now though, and all that matters is getting the three points today.

Time for a quick preview then, and according to the BBC, Newcastle will only be missing Hatem Ben Arfa. That’s definitely good news for us, the erratic Frenchman was doing really well last year up until his broken leg, luckily he won’t be around to trouble us. As we already know, we’re missing Wilshere and Diaby, while Van Persie and Gibbs had fitness tests yesterday but as far as I know they’re fully fit. On the Koscielny front, there were pictures of him training yesterday, but he’s been ruled out in some quarters so I have no idea whether he’ll feature or not. The good news is that Thomas Vermaelen and Theo Walcott will feature.

Looking at the line-up then, it would be a surprise if Szczesny didn’t start. It will be an interesting battle between him and Fabianski to see who gets the No. 1 shirt, but the younger of the Poles has had more minutes in pre-season so the onus could well be on Fabianski to try and displace him. At right-back, it’s pretty much a given that Sagna will start, while Gibbs will probably start at left-back if he’s fit. Vermaelen is a given as well and, if there’s no Koscielny as has been reported, then Djourou will undoubtedly get the nod ahead of Squillaci. The midfield is probably the only area where there are real options. Alex Song will probably start and I reckon Ramsey and Rosicky will get the nod. Up front, we’ll probably see Gervinho and Walcott start in the wide positions with Van Persie playing as the false No.9.

One player who I’ve heard won’t be featuring is Emmanuel Frimpong, after he forgot his passport and so apparently couldn’t fly to Newcastle. Seems a bit stupid, needing your passport for a domestic flight, but that’s bureaucracy for you. Ryo Miyaichi will also miss out, mainly because he’s in Japan. He’s there applying for a visa and should be back by late next week. Obviously that also sees him ruled out of the Udinese match.

I’ve predicted that the match will finish 3-1. I’m guessing to us, but I’m not entirely sure.

Preview over then and time for a bit of news. We’ve agreed to sign Joel Campbell as was widely reported over the last few days and Carlos Vela, who he’s been likened to, could be set to spend the season on loan at Real Sociedad. A bit of a surprise that he was given the No.11 shirt then never really got that many chances in competitive matches, but Arsene knows I suppose. With players leaving, it seems a fitting time to give Emmanuel Eboue a mention. Emmanuel Eboue. There we go, he’s been mentioned.

Speaking of signings, there have been a lot of fans calling for us to stop signing young, attack-minded players and start signing experienced defenders. The boss has spoken about the difficulties in signing centre-backs, but has apparently been considering his options if he fails to sign a centre-back with Premier League experience.

Some articles on the BBC Sport site as well, a piece about exactly what Cesc brought to the side. The simple answer would seem to be ‘a hell of a lot’. Also, an interesting piece for discussion. Is this a real make or break season for Arsene Wenger? Like most others… A point I brought up with Sam from 15yearlodgooner when I interviewed him a while ago.

Righto, that’s about it for today then. If you don’t already then you can always follow me on twitter @SavageGooner.

Right then, before you go be sure to drop a comment below, who would you like to see start and how do you see the match going? Is this really a pivotal season for Wenger? Would you say this month is as pivotal as it gets? Finally, just how much will we miss Cesc Fabregas? That’s it for today folks, here’s hoping for three points against those funny Northern barcode bearers.

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2 Comments
  1. Ainsworth Sharpe permalink

    go gunners

  2. With frimpong nt travelin,who covers for song or ramsey in Mf,wel am hoping we get thee points.

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