We’ll start with injury news prior to the Bucharest game, which sees Adebayor and Diaby recovering from niggles they picked up at game’s close last time out, with Matthieu Flamini and Alexandr Hleb facing late fitness tests.
Rosicky, Lehmann, Gallas, Song and Eduardo remain conspicuous absentees, so the team will probably come out looking as follows:
That line-up could see Gilberto and Walcott replaced by Flamini/Denilson and Diaby. The real mystery lies in Gilberto’s place in the team, which one would feel is depending greatly on Flamini’s fitness. Inklings tell me that Flamini will be rested in favour of Gilberto, but form is currently dictating that Flamini has the momentum to carry him above Gilberto in the pecking order for the league fixtures to follow.
Wenger has spoken out against David Noble’s tackle on Hleb that has seen the player’s lower leg swell up in bruising. While Wenger has defended Noble in part by dismissing any notion of maliciousness in the tackle, he argues the tackle itself is deserving of retrospective red-card, and that such rulings should be brought into administrative rulings. Wenger says:
“There is a case to charge some players after that because sometimes the referee cannot see. Only if the referee says he did not see how bad it was. The rule would be made not to diminish the power and the authority of the referee – but with the referee’s help you could do it.“
Any nerves from Clichy’s ‘We Could Be Invincible’ headlines? The manager was on similar wavelengths, saying:
“At the moment only similarities in the short term – we are consistent. The challenge we face is the other team has been very, very consistent in the long term. That demands special stamina and motivation and that is something we have not proven yet.“
It’s all from a very good article about football in general from Wenger’s mouth, which can be read here.
Here’s hoping for a good result in the Champions League tonight. Steaua will come out defensively, and not too dissimilar from the tactics Sparta Prague showed, one would think. A 1-0 victory would suit me just fine, though I never like it when I get overconfident. Fatigue could easily be the difference between a win and a draw.
Keep the faith!