Sevilla away the perfect game for fringe players to impress

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What a difference a couple of goals, a new hairstyle and half-a-season of captaincy can make.

The Arsenal captaincy has inspired GallasThis time last season William Gallas was almost as far from an Arsenal favourite as the man he replaced at the club after series of unconvincing displays and a tendency to speak a little too publicly about the problems that he believed were affecting Arsenal. But since surprisingly being named captain by manager Arsene Wenger, Gallas has grown as a player as well as a leader and a series of dominant defensive displays, as well as two crucial recent goals against Manchester United and Wigan have illustrated this improvement perfectly.

Tellingly, the feedback on Gallas from his teammates has been nothing but positive. Last week Gael Clichy hailed his fellow countryman for promoting the team spirit within the camp and just yesterday Kolo Toure gave a glowing tribute to the influence that Gallas has had on the side since being appointed as Arsenal captain.

“Both on and off the pitch, William is a really good captain. He is loud in the dressing-room, he has a big heart, and everything he says and does is for the team and that is the most important quality in a captain.”

For Gallas to receive that sort of praise from one of the other true leaders in the group really says it all about the impact that he is making this season. There weren’t too many people who were thrilled when Gallas was named captain – indeed, I was almost certain that Gilberto Silva would be appointed – but the Frenchman has lifted considerably since taking on the responsibility.

He seems to enjoy protecting the younger players around him, a point that was perfectly illustrated by his confrontation with Marcus Bent and Emile Heskey on the weekend against Wigan. While he walked away with a yellow card after clashing with Heskey, the caution was little price to pay to get the message across to the Wigan players to think again about bringing down one of his teammates. It was the sort of act that Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira were known for and in my eyes showed just how much Gallas cares about the players that he leads. Long may it continue.

Bendtner’s impact this season has gone unnoticedBendtner to get his chance

Moving onto the Champions League clash away to Sevilla now and the Arsenal manager has predictably commented that he will be making major changes to the side that beat Wigan on Saturday. Wenger revealed that both Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor will be rested (about time for Adebayor too, I’m surprised he hasn’t exploded this season!) while Clichy will miss out due to a minor thigh injury. Wenger also indicated that Mathieu Flamini is unlikely to return but was keen to stress that Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner will start.

“We leave out William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor while Gael Clichy is injured. I wanted to start [Mathieu Flamini] but we do not have good indications from training today. We will see tomorrow. Nicklas Bendtner will start – I want to give him a chance.”

The manager has consistently stated that Adebayor and Bendtner are too similar to play together up front and with the Togolese forward being rested it is onlt right that the Dane be given an opportunity. I really feel that Bendtner’s contribution this season has gone a little bit under the radar and that he has played a big part in the side’s useful habit of scoring late goals. Bendtner has consistently come on late in games and helped turn the tide (Blackburn, Liverpool and Wigan are just examples) and he deserves nothing less than an opportunity to shine against one of the Primera Liga’s best sides.

Diarra should team up with Denilson again in the centre of the parkEnough quality to get a win in Spain

The same can be said of a number of other young Arsenal players, and the clash away to Sevilla should provide the perfect test for the fringe players to lay out their credentials for all to see. Whilst the starting side should be very similar to the one that stuttered to draw in the rain against Slavia Prague, some better weather and a far more attacking opponent will give the youngsters a more familiar and comfortable venue to express themselves.

Wenger has spoken about how important it is for the side to keep their unbeaten run going and a draw away to Sevilla should be enough to ensure Arsenal finish top of the group, granted they beat Steaua Bucharest at home a fortnight later. While Sevilla will provide a very tough opponent I really do feel that desire to maintain that unbeaten start will ensure that Wenger’s side get at least a point out of the trip to Spain. I am going to go even further and predict that Arsenal will walk away with all three points against Sevilla.

The midfield combination of Lassana Diarra and Denilson were excellent against Wigan and with Bendtner, Eduardo da Silva and Theo Walcott all looking like starters, Wenger has more than enough attacking power to hurt Sevilla. Away games are always tough in the Champions League but with Arsenal in excellent form and the fringe players fighting tooth-and-nail for a first-team position, I just feel that Wenger’s side will have the desire and quality required to grab the win.

What do you think?

Have your say on Gallas’ captaincy or Arsenal-Sevilla by leaving a comment.


16 thoughts on “Sevilla away the perfect game for fringe players to impress

  1. I believe AW will start with 4-5-1:
    Hoyte Toure Senderos Traore
    Eboue Rosicky/Eduador
    Fab4 Diarra
    Score : 0-1 away win for Arsenal. Bendtner the scorer.

  2. I’ve actually put $5 down on Bendtner to grab the first goal. At $9.00 I reckon it’s a pretty good bet – especially considering van Persie and Adebayor were both at $4.50 and neither are in the squad!

  3. a goal from Bendtner will be jus the right tonic for him,he has come on in games and shown how good he is and a goal(s) will jus improve his confidence even much as Le Boss wants to put in he youngsters i hope he keeps Berto,Cesc and Rosicky in there because that guarantees a good defensive game and also an oppotunity of chances being created with the latter the formation should be;

    Hoyte Toure Senderos Traore
    Gilberto Diarra
    Eboue Fabregas Rosicky

    and Edurdo and Walcott can be impact players and also Deni comng on later on for Cesc,good balance of proven players and those still rtying to prove themselves could result in a god game and a good result for the GOONERS

  4. I’m not so sure about Fabregas playing. When you look at the side that played against Slavia Prague, it featured very few first teamers and Wenger hinted that it would be the same tomorrow. I guess it all comes down to how much Wenger really wants to win. Either way, I really feel that whatever side goes out will have enough quality to beat Sevilla.

  5. I bet Bendter will score and this will complicate Ade’s starting chances as he will really work hard to score. arsenal will maintain their unbeaten run and the worst will be a draw but i am hundred percent sure of a 1-0 win for Arsenal or a 2-1 win for the team. GO GO GUNNERS!!!

  6. I think that, no matter how the likes of Diarra, Gilberto, Senderos, Bendtner etc play, the starting team will be the same as it has usually been this season. Flamini is not going anywhere and neither is Adebayor. In saying that, I really hope Bendtner does well, he’s such a unique player for Arsenal and he seems to scare the hell out of every team he plays against.

  7. I want Eduardo to start because, we haven’t seen a lot of him and he is the sort of player who has quality. This is the perfect game for him to show that off. Bendtner for a brace! Fab4 hopefully starts! Surprisingly enuff, i want Lehmann to start!

  8. Sevilla 2-1 Arsenal @ HT

    Eduardo 11
    Keite 24
    Luis Fabiano 34

    After a positive start, Arsenal’s young defence have really gone to pieces. Early Eduardo goal was nice, controlling the ball from Bendtner’s cross and then rounding the keeper before tucking away. Senderos gave away possession for the first goal, although it took a wonderful finish from the edge of the area by Keite. For the third goal, Traore very unlucky to give away a free-kick, which was then headed home superbly by Luis Fabiano. Eboue and Bendtner playing well but the young defence containing Senderos, Traore and Hoyte are struggling. Sevilla could easily be 3-1 up and Hoyte also lucky to be on the pitch after stamping on Adriano. All is not lost though, it’s an end-to-end game and there will be chances for Arsenal to score, just need to tighten up at the back. Thrilling match.

  9. We have lost our unbeaten run of 28 games in all competitons as we fall pray to Sevilla 3-1. Ref was a Sevilla supporter, i would bet my life on it. Good experience for young players and great game for Bendter. Quite upset about the loss. Especially after we took the lead. Just think about the prem. Villa Away, RVP is back for that game. Um got to go, dry my eyes with some tissue.

  10. Everytime I see Sendros on the pitch I lose hope. Sevilla played better on the night but we should’ve got at least a draw if it wasn’t for Mr calamity Senderos add to that Gilberto was awful I thought this was his chance to show Wenger why he should be captain I think he gave up on that.His heart is not with Arsenal anymore. Arsenal could be facing one of the big guns in next round if sevilla win their last match.Bendtner had a good game held the ball well but no one around him for support Eduardo is a bit lazy he hardly leaves his spot or track back when he loses the wasn’t a full strengh squad so can’t complain too much.

  11. Can’t say I’d be all that devastated if Arsenal drew a big team in the next round. The 1st choice team can beat anybody in Europe.

  12. Sevilla 3-1 Arsenal @ FT

    Eduardo 11
    Keite 24
    Luis Fabiano 34
    Kanoute 89 (pen)

    In short, the second half was dominated by Sevilla. They put enormous pressure on Traore and Hoyte and unfortunately both players crumbled. Their distribution out of defence became poor and Sevilla were able to get possession and take control of the match. In all reality Arsenal were lucky to only lose 3-1 and Wenger will be disappointed with the performance of his young side. Full credit to Sevilla though, who were very impressive at home.

  13. Senderos sucks! I really hope Wemger goes after Richards in January to give depth to the postion and to fill in for Toure while he’s at the African Cup of Nations. Senderos plays like a Tottenham player.

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