Barcelona might be just around the corner (and if you’re willing to spend a few quid, you can still get tickets to that game via TixDaq) but before then we have a vital game against the conquerors of Manchester United, Wolves.
Three points at home against a team sitting on the bottom of the table look simple but our recent history against Wolves suggests otherwise.
Earlier in the season at Molineaux we relied on two Marouane Chamakh goals, one very early and the other very late, and a string of wonderful saves from Lukasz Fabianski to take victory. Meanwhile in the corresponding fixture last season Wolves frustrated us at The Emirates for 94 minutes before Nicklas Bendtner headed home to set off the infamous man-triangle of love.
Add to that Wolves’ strong record against teams in the top six this season and you have a limited side that tends to save their best performances for the biggest games. In other words, they’ll make us work hard tomorrow.
The good news for Arsenal is that both Johan Djourou and Alex Song should both be fit to start. Djourou’s inclusion is a massive surprise and welcome one at that — these statistics show how much better our defensive record is with him in the side — while Song’s presence will also have a positive impact. Samir Nasri, meanwhile, will not play at Wolves but should be back in the squad in a week’s time.
The injury news means we have the luxury of playing an almost full-strength side at Wolves tomorrow. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goals behind Bacary Sagna, Djourou, Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy, with Song backing up Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas in the middle and Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin completing the three-man frontline.
There is a possibility that Wenger may rotate slightly with Barcelona coming up — Tomas Rosicky, Denilson and one of Nicklas Bendtner or Marouane Chamakh might get a start — but my belief is that we should play the strongest team here. After last week’s terrible result we need to be ready to respond well and take any opportunity that presents itself in the Manchester derby, which takes place prior to our game.
I’ll be heading to the Oscar Wilde in Berlin early on tomorrow to check out United v City before Arsenal tackle Wolves a little later on. It’s set to be an interesting, exciting day of football and I just have an inkling that we might end the day closer to the current league leaders than we start it.
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