Arsenal v Portsmouth preview: Rotation and 3 points should be the target

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Wenger should rotate after van Persie and Co took a battering at Celtic

I have a Portsmouth preview for you this fine Friday before I escape for the afternoon to enjoy some wines and the sweet sounds of the Arctic Monkeys latest album. It should be fookin’ bliss (sorry Mum).

There’s not much change in the way of injuries with only Eduardo returning. I actually had no idea the Crozilian was left out of the team against Celtic but Arsene Wenger has indicated he had slight groin problem that he has now overcome. As such he’ll be back in the squad against Pompey while Johan Djourou, Theo Walcott, Lukasz Fabianski, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky still absent.

Pompey are definitely one of the weaker teams in the Premier League this season and as such I’d like to see some rotation of the side on Saturday. I’m not in any way taking the game for granted but with the Celtic tie in the bag and a very important contest with Manchester United looming large I feel the next two games are the perfect opportunity to give some of our players an early rest. If Eduardo is fit I’d like to see him start in place of Robin van Persie while Cesc Fabregas and Bacary Sagna – who both had minor niggles midweek – could also be given a rest for Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue.ย 

I think it would be wrong to rotate too much in one area of the pitch so replacing one forward, one midfielder and one defender would be the right move. A little more rotation could then be done against Celtic which would ensure the squad is perfectly prepared for United while still putting a quality line-up on the pitch in each game. I suspect the manager will make some changes – given the physical nature of the encounter at Parkhead – but as always we’ll have to wait and see.

I have a feeling that Saturday’s game at the Emirates could be a comfortable one for our boys. Portsmouth are yet to score a goal this season and their side and particularly their defence appears to be lacking in quality, something the likes of Andrey Arshavin and the other forwards should be looking to exploit. I want to repeat again that I’m not taking the match for granted but given the contrast in our start to the season with theirs I’d be very surprised to see anything other than an Arsenal win.

I’ll talk about any late team news on the blog in tomorrow’s post but in the meantime, enjoy your Friday and let’s hope the boys can put in another top performance.

Anyway, I’m off to have a drink.ย Cheers!

Note:ย If you need more of a football fix be sure to check out the Arseblog Arsecast or the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast. Both come highly recommended.

Have your say on Arsenal v Portsmouth by leaving a comment.


30 thoughts on “Arsenal v Portsmouth preview: Rotation and 3 points should be the target

  1. @Andy

    You are quite right it would be a good chance to change things about a bit, putting in either Gibbs or Eboue for either of the full backs would be okay but I wouldn’t touch the two CBs. It might even be good to bring Ramsey in for Cesc if he needs a rest and certainly bring Eduardo in for RvP, with all this talk of depth in the squad lets use it. I must admit I’m a bit more concerned about the ashes, after a good start the usual mid order slump came about, as we need a win, that is England not you Aussies then we need some runs in the morning session, then skittle you guys out twice for 200 runs and bob’s your uncle. Sorry to hark on about cricket but I also support Sussex and Goodwin scored 346 of 351 balls against Sommerset, now is that some kind of record?

  2. While I generally loathe Myles Palmer, he makes an interesting comment about starting Shava in the middle against Pompey & giving Cesc a full rest for Saturday.

    Shava has been a bit lonely out on the wing and putting him central will give him a bit more life against a very weak side & hopefully get his engine going. Allowing Cesc a full week of recovery from Celtic’s kickabout will ensure he’s 100% for closing out the CL qualifier, and if we get up early we could perhaps rotate him again to rest ahead of United next weekend.

    Really looking forward to a hammering on Saturday. I don’t see Portsmouth mounting too much of a challenge. They’ve got no real attack to speak of and have some real weaknesses on defense. It could wind up another touchdown (that’s 6 goals for you non-American football fans), but I won’t go so far as to predict that much of an outburst. A nice, easy 3 or 4 goal clean sheet will do nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Enjoy the wines, Andy.

  3. TheSKAGooner,

    Arshavin has been playing to the left or right of a main striker in a 4-3-3 all his life. He’s not a central midfielder. He’s not a possession player.

  4. With you on this, Andy. Portsmouth not the side they were when they won the FA Cup etc under Harry Redknapp, but not to be taken lightly, however, a good chance for others to play, I’m sure Arsene will accommodate them; keeps the team spirit high and momentum going.

  5. no arshavin can play there, thats his best position just behind the striker.i think when nasir comes back he will play on the left and arshavin play in fabs position and fab taking denilisons place. with rosicky on the right that is our best team. mr song looks ready to be our dm
    no time for resting yet lads its only been two games remember their kids with loads of energy.

  6. Thats anice article as it gives aglimpse of good arsenal in the making.what l would like to argue our master coach Arsene Wenger to go is to please bring in three quality players in th likes and making of Brede Hangeland,Matuidi and Rafael Vanda vaart(Chamakh) just incase or rather to keep the team solid at the back and more offensive now that the new 4-3-3 seems to be working in magnifiscently!!!!!!ARSENAL KEEP UP WITH THE STRIDE AND THE BALL ROLLING………………………


  8. It is good thing to hear that Arsenal boss wiil rotate the players but he should not gamble so that Gunner will not lose three points.Gunner for live

  9. ________________almunia

    eboue___Gallas ____the verm___Gibs

    _____denilson___song____ Diaby


    the way I see it wee should be able to rest mabye four players for the match aginst pompey . I still belive this is a very strong team even without fab, rvp, sanga and clichy argubly are four best players

  10. Rotation, already? Not sure myself, maybe one or two changes but it’s vital we continue our good start and allow the team (in particluar the forwards) to get used to the new system. I’m all for subs when we are a couple ahead though.

    By the way, has anyone seen a Mexican superkid around? I’m half expecting a picture of Carlos Vela to appear on my milk carton in the morning.

  11. @ CAROLE OSAkO, its going to be a clean sheet tomorow. Come on mate, how can we concede against a very sick Pompy? To think of it makes me sick. Good articule Andy.

  12. Doez arsene xpekt song to play 60 games. If nt, he had beta av planz 2 loan a back-up til either jay-emmanuel-thomas, coquelin, aneke or frimpong is mature enough. We av 2 much of youth quality to need a permanent back-up dat wil block their 1st team chances. We shld rest cesc and sagna. We shld also take off denilson and clichy weneva we go lyk 2-0 up.

  13. Can’t wait to get stuck in to Pompy! Come on you Gunners.
    There used to be just one s***s fan with me in Turkey now a second one has turned up and they are insufferable, oh well they can have their 5 mins of glory, it won’t last.

  14. you did not mention A23 in your article there. since returning to premier league, he has been the shadow of himself; this is most probably caused by fatigue. he returned from friendly match against ARG and been struggling to keep his fitness in check. it’d be good if he can be rested for a week and prepare him for ManU match.

  15. Think Wenger should play the 4-4-2 formatin against both pompey and celtic even if it means rotating the players a bit. Starting: almunia, eboue (sagna), vermaelen, gallas, clichy (gibbs),
    denilson (wilshere), ramsey, song, arsahvin (diaby), bentner (vela), eduardo. And maybe switch players around against celtic but keeping the same formation. I’d hate to see man u exploit our midfield if we go up with a 4-3-3 formation and by continuously playing the 4-4-2 we can go to old trafford use the width of the pitch, most propably play our game,and easily substitude.

  16. Good article SF.

    I have to say I’m a little surprised that people are so obsessed with resting players already – we’re only 2 games into the season! I’d say let’s start with as similar a team as possible, maybe a change or two.
    We could sub players in the second half if they start showing fatigue..

    As for Arshavin, was I the only one who noticed his workrate against Celtic, especially in the first half? Granted, he didn’t really show too much creativity and goalscoring skills, but he ran like a maniac! He showed an immense workrate – just a shame it didn’t come into fruition. I think he’ll be back to his best in no time…

    Wenger didn’t mention Vela’s injury during his interview, so I expect we’ll see him at least on the bench tomorrow.

    Go Arsenal! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I agree with the rotation not because players might be tired but because Arsenal are playing a team which make it possible. Its important to keep squad happy when possible. Ching Chung, you are spot on about J Emmanuel Thomas, coqueline, Aneke and Frimpong. I watch alot of them especially Jay and Frimpong from 13 yrs old to now and they show a huge amount of promise. Infact, i think they can give Arsenal even more than Jack W because they are more physically mature. Jay has been a fantastic captain over last season. One to watch.

  18. Ole Gunner –

    Shava has always played centrally in Russia. He’s not used as a winger for the national team and wasn’t when he was with Zenit. He really only transitioned to a wide position when he came to Arsenal.

    Zenit and Russia play (ed) 4-4-2 though, so he’s usually either behind the striker or playing attacking mid when on international duty.

  19. Totally agree with the rotation. For me thats on of the biggest keys to succeed.

    I think our players are always injured because Arsene dont rest them enough.

    The problem is that with the 4-3-3 we dont have many options at the moment.

    Eboue for Sagna yes. Gibbsie for Clichy yes. but in the center whoo? Silvestre?? no way.

    Ramsey or Merida for Cesc yes. Diaby for Denilson yes. but who as DM? Diaby is more offensive than deffensive.

    Vela for Arsha yes. Eduardo for Van Prsie yes. and Wilshere for bendtner YES.

    Of course not all at the same time but 4 or 5 changes will be great to create more competition and rest them a little bit.

  20. Hey fellow Gunners supporters, I’m really looking forward to the game tonight (tomorrow morning) but I can’t seem to find it in Foxtel did they make a mistake? They didn’t show the CC game either it’s really annoying because I don’t want to miss this game I’ve searched all the fox sports channels dor the next three days no Arsenal ๐Ÿ™ where can I watch it in Melbourne?

  21. @ Jack – The game is on tonight at midnight Australian time. It’s one of those ‘red spot’ games so it won’t be in the TV guide, they’ll have the United v Wigan game listed instead. Definitely on though ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. I watch through ESPN in india.

    Arsene should rest arshavin to get him rejuvenated and i like to see how good vela is.

    Song should also be given rest as he needs to play a bigger part in the future.I don’t agree with Wilshere for Bendtner.Let Bendtner gets a good run of games.Let Song replaced with Wilshere

  23. @volley .gun ,according 2 wenger pre match conference vela is sidelined 2 injury. Today match is a certainty dat arsenal is winning ,even if d whole team is changed .

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