Wenger Puts Gallas on the Line as Spurs say all the right things…

Arsenal find themselves a little short on players tonight, as the team and fans alike gear up for another edgy encounter at White Hart Lane.

With a side shorn of Phillipe Senderos (broken nose), Johann Djourou (strain) and Alex Song and Kolo Toure (AfCon), Arsene Wenger has been left with no choice but to play his captain, William Gallas, in tonight’s Carling Cup Semi Final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur.

The lack of defensive cover means Justin Hoyte and/or Gilberto Silva might also get a lookin, as Wenger is forced into integrating his first-teamers into tonight’s side. The manager says:

On the bench you might find a high number of players who have played a lot of Premier League games. Cesc could be involved. Last year at White Hart Lane he became very influential when we were 2-0 down and gave strength in midfield and quality in the final third to help us come back.

We always have that kind of belief when we go over there. It’s a semi-final and, even when you’re down, you just have to go for it.

The manager has also been speaking a lot of Theo Walcott lately, who is expected to start alongside Nicklas Bendtner in a central striker position. Of course, Spurs also have their say on the upcoming fixture, with central defender Michael Dawson discussing the ‘seething desire’ in the club to win silverware. The defender says:

I don’t know if we will be favourites (against Arsenal) – we haven’t beaten them in 21 games – but it is not about being favourites. It’s about doing it on the night.

And while I personally don’t know anyone who actually rates Dawson as a defender, that is exactly right. This remains a cup fixture, which either side can win. Arsenal could win it, Spurs could win it. There’s no hiding from that fact. If you want an added dose of pragmatism, but only in lieu of the title-chase, there’s an interesting read up at Vital Arsenal. Personally, I think we’re quite capable of winning the league this year, but it’s good to hear a different opinion whenever the opportunity arises.

220108spursTo the team line-up then, and it’s a difficult one to figure out. With Senderos and Djourou injured and Diarra having run away from home, there are a few permutations running a mock in selecting this team.

Diarra’s transfer to Portsmouth means there is a vacancy in midfield that could be filled by Gilberto while Diaby hugs the left wing. Mark Randall is cited by a few sources to be starting on the right with Walcott up front, but unless Wenger really does dig deep into the reserves, Gilberto should start in the centre alongside fellow Brazillian Denilson.

Which then begs the question of how the backline will shape up. The guaranteed starters are Gallas at centreback and Armand Traore at left. After his decent defence at centre in the firstleg of the semi final, Justin Hoyte could possibly cover that position again, with Bacary Sagna filling in at right back.

The only thing I do not like about that at all is putting Sagna at unnecessary risk to injury after his sterling performances throughout the league campaign. Once again, it’s a difficult side to call, and I’m sure many of you will have your own thoughts as to who is starting. Feel free to share them.

As to the result, well, you just have to hate derby cup fixtures, eh? I frankly would not be surprised if Spurs actually win it this time, as they are long overdue a victory over Arsenal, and they are playing at home.

What I do expect is that the youngsters will be giving a much more concerted effort this time round, compared to the relatively shambolic performance at home last time out. Gilberto is certainly due a good performance, as are Denilson and Walcott. I fancy our chances to upset Tottenham yet again, but there’s no underestimating the task at hand for the players.

I have instigated a lot of Spurs-bashing lately, and I will be one of the first to cop any flak sent Arsenal’s way. Overconfidence is a bad thing – I’m sure the players have a more realistic perception of their fortunes ahead.

Forever supporting Arsenal! Don’t let me down..!



Filed under Arsenal, Blogging, Carling Cup, Tottenham

11 responses to “Wenger Puts Gallas on the Line as Spurs say all the right things…

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  2. Can’t see Randall starting to be honest, I reckon Wenger will start Eduardo and Bendtner up front with Walcott out wide. Also hoping Nordveit will get a running but, good post nevertheless. Our kids can easily give them spuds a good run-around.

  3. Mondo

    Yeah I think Randall played 90 min yesterday against Birmingham for the reserves. Who else is there? After Wenger admitted that Theo should be used as a striker he wouldn’t start him on the right, would he?

  4. Also, Gilberto could play centreback with Hoyte going out to the right. That could leave Diaby for his start in the middle and maybe a place for Gibbs or Lansbury. All hypothetical at the moment though, we’ll see what happens.

  5. Lebenglese

    I reckon this is the best time to give Diaby a run through the centre… play Gibbs on the left and Denilson out on the right Gilberto holding. Walcott has to start up front with Bendtner it will be a deadly partnership!! Hoyte looked solid at the back last game and with Gallas and Sagna back should be hard to get past them….I like the agility Fabianski is showing too so long range shots all day please… i predict a 2-1 scoreline… as we are sure to switch off briefly at some stage of the game and let that little twat Keane (and his wank celebration) through on goal..

  6. shooy

    Denilson – Gilberto in central midfiled doesn’t work and I doubt it ever will. They leave the attack isolated too often and don’t create enough.

  7. Casicky

    i really dont mind Hoyte playing alongside Gallas although i feel it will add more pressure on him due to the fact he will have to cover for Hoyte but i rated Hoyte more than i did Senderos in that game so u can guess how i feel bout that.

    i also think its time to give Diaby that CM berth becoz i feel he is wasted on the wing (we all know that) and on top of tha the partnership of Denii and Berto hasnt impressed so one has to be relieved and i would have to say Denii should make way. Um hoping the departure of Diarra will give Berto a lil bt of an impetus to start performing again.GIVE GIBBS A CHANCE OUT THERE!!!i feel that way Traore has support defensive and Lennon also has a job to do going backwards.Walcott and Bendtner upfront will be exciting if it works and pure frustration if not but lets keep it positive.If Le Boss doesnt decide to go wiv Hleb on the right then i would Give that to Denii,because Randall wont play and i cant see any other option.



  8. JohnDemetriou


    2-0 already?

    oh dear oh dear!

    how does it feel losing to Spurs? LOL!

    I guess no silverware for the scum this year. Man Utd easy to win the League.

    How boring arsenal are…its very funny really!

  9. JohnDemetriou

    HAHA!! 3-0 and counting

    well played, “3rd Gen” Arse,

  10. JohnDemetriou

    seems a bit quiet here. Must have something to do with the fact that Spurs just beat Arsenal FIVE – ONE.


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