Chamakh or Bendtner is manager’s only dilemma

The talking point going into tonight’s game with Stoke are injuries to Robin “157 goals in 5 games” van Persie and Laurent “I win every tackle I attempt” Koscielny.

Their exclusion leaves Arsene Wenger with a couple of interesting changes to make. Sebastien Squillaci will undoubtedly continue alongside the returning Johan Djourou, while one of Marouane Chamakh or Nicklas Bendtner will start in place of van Persie.

My gut feeling is that the manager will go for Chamakh in a bid to play him back into form ala Andrey Arshavin. But personally I think it is too important a game to take any chances and my choice would be Supernick, who was the sharper (and more of focused) of the two against Leyton Orient on Sunday.

Whichever of the pair starts, their height and physical presence will come in handy against Stoke. We all know the sexy goals they like to score and baring that in mind, Bendtner or Chamakh’s presence in the defensive third as much as the attacking one.

The rest of the team virtually picks itself. All the big guns will return: Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri and Walcott amongst them and the only real dilemma for the manager is choosing between Bacary Sagna or Emmanuel Eboue at right-back. Alex Song should be rested after backing up on Sunday and I expect Denilson to complete the midfield triangle.

With Manchester United in France on Champions League duty tonight’s game offers our boys a welcome opportunity to close the gap at the top. In contrast, with the Carling Cup final on Sunday anything short of three points tonight could see United extend their lead by the end of the weekend.

It’s an important game but with the return of our first-team players it is one I expect us to win.

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  1. Its a no brainer, he must play Chamack to stop those bruisers pushing up into midfield and winning throw inns into dangerous areas. Chamack is a better presser of the ball than nick who seems to play only when the ball comes to him and needs others to win the ball for him.

    His only dilemma is Nasri, Walcott and Arshavin, all are very dangerous in their own way but there are only 2 slots for them

  2. all these game are important a full squad must play.
    there is no turning back or fielding a weaker team like against orient.
    we must keep the spirit high and never give stoke an chance,if we are to challenge for an trophy this season.its better to count chickens than to count eggs.
    lets all be proud of the points we have got than those which we dont have.i wish Arsene will play the full squad to night.

  3. Andrew- Like the new format of the site. Beautifully refreshing. Have not forgotten about the t-shirt picture, as soon as my lady can get it done.

  4. Personally I want Chamakh to start ahead of Bendtner. We trusted him throughout the first half and there is no reason why we cant in today’s game. He’s my pick. As for the rest, I guess our first eleven should be out out. There are 4 days before the CC final and that is good enough a rest for all our players. Song should not be rested for an important game like this. I go with Szcz-Sag-Squil-Johan-Gael-Jack-Cesc-Song-Nasri-Theo-Chamakh and I am predicting our boys to go all guns today. They are going to fire and we are going to win this comfortably putting enough pressure on United. I hope our deficit is reduced when we return to PL after cup games on March 5th.

  5. @ Arselicked – Nice points, Chamakh’s pressing is an important part of his game and may come in handy here. I still want Bendtner to play though, just my opinion!

    Isn’t it great that we now have Nasri, Walcott and Arshavin in form? The selection headache that they will cause week on week is extremely welcome.

  6. Nicklas Bendtner should start as Marouane Chamakh seems to be hibernating and above all Bendtner seems very sharp this days and is ever goal hungry.

  7. im sorry, but there is no way in hell im starting chamakh over NB52. if for no other reason then we have to show form counts for something. effort counts for something. we did it with walcott earlier in the season, giving him the nod over arhsavin because he was playing better. now we have to do it again.

    Besides, in a game we must win, we need a striker who can actually shoot.

    and what you guys are saying about chamakh working harder. what a load of bull. bendtner on the wing has been tracking back defending, assisting and scoring. what has chamakh done to deserve his place in the team? I dont care if he is a new signing. that does not justify picking him.

    bendtner is the only choice in my eyes

  8. I’m slightly perturbed by Tony Pulis. In fact, I’m a little more than freaked out.

    Usually the man takes every chance possible in his stinking existence to have a pop at Arsenal. Today he kind of gives us a little gee-up.

    To say I’m surprised is an understatement and I’ve come to the conclusion that he has either taken a whack on his head or he has fallen out with his posse.

    Alex Ferguson, Phil Brown and Sam Allardyce will be disgusted and sickened that Pulis has given Arsenal a compliment.

    I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if they threw him out of their gang forever. He has some serious sucking up to do.

    Rule Number One in their crew is to hate and try to dig out Arsenal or Arsene Wenger at every opportunity given.

    What the Stoke City manager has said in the link above is blasphemy of the worst kind. The ‘c-word’ has nothing on this.

    I expect a Tony Pulis backlash after the game tomorrow night.

    Fergie would have been on the phone and will demand an apology of biblical proportions.

    Not only that, he will want Pulis to pull out the big guns and verbally, if not physically, attack Arsenal in the most outrageous way ever.

    In the next 48 hours I predict that Tony Pulis will unleash the Kraken of all slagging offs. And even Perseus will be shocked by it.

  9. My head says Bentner, my heart says Chamakh. Heck I’m a romantic when it comes to football. Making Shawcross uncomfortable (along with 58000 others) may be the key. Maybe Nck is better in that respect. Either way Song must play

  10. Stoke are not a football team, and enough of their fans sang “he’s only got one leg” to a young kid who does not have a rep for being nasty, cocky or aggressive to know they are in the main arseholes, the crowd reaction was as bit if not worse than the tackle.

  11. When Stoke get a throw in we should leave 3 or 4 players up front this will put those c**ts on the back foot as they cant send all the big defenders up and it might even give Chesny more room to come and collect the ball:

    we didn’t forget what Blackburn did to us in the 2005 FA Cup semi
    brutally trying to injure both Cesc and RVP, Savage with a knee high lunge, Todd with a late unbelievably vicious elbow (his speciality)

    We got our own back and put them to the sword at the Grove
    my favourite was RVP balancing the ball on his foot and shifting it to Fab who started doing kickups by the cornerflag
    when Savage steamed in he nutmegged him cut inside and set up the 6th (yes even the Flamster scored!)

    that’s the kind of humiliation I want to see tonight
    kickups and nutmegs, losing count of goals scored
    Savage was a barbie doll being played with by a pitbull that night
    that same level of shame I expect Stoke to be feeling tonight

    to misquote Frankenstein (saw it on Monday)
    for when I see Shawcross I feel the bile rise in my throat
    and it tastes like Satans bile

    I want Stoke humiliated, violated, immolated, defenestrated and haruspicated
    light them up with goals
    throw them out the window down toward the relegation zone
    I want to read the future in those scumbags footballing entrails
    relegation for them
    glory for us

    I’m seriously more fired up about this than the beer CupFinal

  12. AW,

    Like the new blog design – page seems to load faster too. A tough game today. We will prevail but like many Gooners I am concerned about injuries. Winning is one thing, getting through unscathed is something altogether different. Fingers crossed for a quick return for Kos and RvP and ALL big names to be on the pitch and in good health for the Beer Cup.

    Great win yesterday by Blackpool – loved watching it and loved to see Spurs one step closer to dropping out of a CL place. The Tangerines are my favourite story of the year. I hope they stay in the Premiership, they play with such heart.

    It’s been an unbelievable year people! It’s almost March, we’ve only 10 league matches left after today, we beat Barca for the first time AND we’re still in all competitions. Enjoy it!



  13. Howdy All,
    Thanks for the pre-game post Drew.
    I think both Chamahk and Bendtner are good pressers of the ball and generally defend well from in front. Bendter also comes back to help out on defense and more than a few times has “Nick(ed)” the ball away from unwary opponents.His tendency to take a pass inside the oppositions 18 yard box and turn back out instead of continuing towards goal is what drives me nuts. But you have to admit he is trying hard. My problem with him is that his rhetoric is way,way ahead of his goal scoring record. (reads: be quiet and bag one.)As for Chamahk I like him a lot but I wonder if he’s lost heart and wants to go back home. I hope not but if that’s the case he should and leave the position to someone who wants it.
    No love for Tony (no talent) Pulis he’s a Horses ass and I hope both he and Birmingham’s Macleish go straight to Hell or relegation and I don’t give a pinch of Owl’s dung which comes first so long as they both happen.There, I said it and feel all the better for it. Well, guys pregame show is on the official website so I’m off. Check back at half time and as always Go you Gunners!!!!!!

  14. I’m rarely the first one to post after a game but I watched the game at home so…

    Well done boys. Didn’t play well and injuries to Cesc and Walcott disrupted our flow, but a good win and ANOTHER clean sheet. Djourou’s record goes on and on, Szczesny showed his influence while Nasri and Arshavin were very intelligent in the closing stages.

    A valuable win.

  15. Weird game. We were awful going forward after the goal and Cesc’s departure. Seemed to lose all momentum and tempo. I thought Bendtner started well, but the whole team seemed to go intot their shell. Second half was excruciating to watch. but hey, we got three points are within one point of the manure! Defence played well – didn’t have any real dodgy moments. Well played Squillaci, Djorou and Szezsny.

    Stoke are a dirty team.

  16. Oh hell! Stoke (American) Football Club attack again!
    for the Sunday, a really bad new if the injurie is serious, because we have a very short team for the hard fixture next month , hope Walcott can be available before march 8.
    I believe Cesc injurie isn’t so serious and he could play the final.
    3 vital points for the title race, finally we put serious pressure to Fergie’s boys, remember we still have 5 – 6 EPL games (15-18 points) to play before April 30….Go Gunners!

  17. Yowsers,damn fine game. Close,tense and gripping. A win which means 3 big.big,BIG points the ones we would dropped last year and the year before. And…a clean sheet the only way to get three points with one goal. Our goalkeeper is a great asset to the club and the best goalie we’ve had since crazy Jenzy and David Seamen before him. I’m going to have to learn to spell his name soon. Good goal by Seb. He needed that every bit as much as we did and it didn’t hurt Nick to pick up a clever assist. Too bad for Cesc though, Petro says it’s a hamstring. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t 100% to start with and as soon as we scored Le Boss gave him the yank.
    Well on we go fellow gooners this is pointing up to be a very special finish.
    WU,Wooo Go you Gunners!!!!!!! Thanks Drew, I’m feelin’ the Love

  18. Great win yester nite. Just wondering, does Stoke City RFC stand for Stoke City Rugby Football Club or what??

  19. Arshavin seems to be back to his best, Chamakh is still not there yet and Bendtner worked very hard, he tracked back and did the dirty stuff.

    Song looks as if he is suffering from fatigue, he was very mechanical in his turning with the ball, gotta apply more grease :p

    I realized something about Wozzy that Wenger confirmed, he really isn’t phased by any team or occassion. His skill is not up to Fabianski yet but that aura of assurance he exhibits is infectious on the defenders.

    Squid 18 had a good game too. Unlucky for Walcott to miss the final, hope Fab4 plays on Sunday. Lastly Wilshere is really turning out to be a top top player, He is THE three lion with a sombrero.

  20. I think Squillaci would be my fav player for last night’s match, he was really solid defensively and, of course, he scored. Now that we closed the gap to 1 pt in EPL, let’s win that trophy on sunday, we definitely have what it takes to beat Birmingham City.

  21. Sorry Andrew, I was too distracted by the sexy bearded man in the corner to give my full attention to your post.

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