Vela should start for Gunners tonight

Arsenal have announced that Manu Adebayor is going to miss the next three weeks with an ankle injury.

It’s hardly ideal, coming at a time when Robin van Persie lost his head – something I thought he had managed to conquer – and leaves us with just two strikers out of a possible five, if you count Theo Walcott in that number. I haven't included long term absentee Eduardo although his return could coincide with Adebayor's recovery.

I expected Van Persie and Nic Bendtner to start tonight, although there was a twinkle in Arsène Wenger’s eye when Carlos Vela’s name was mentioned at yesterday's press conference.

Maybe Le Boss will take the gamble of starting the Mexican starlet, mindful that he may well have to play an increasing role in the next few weeks.

Wenger said yesterday: “I believe Carlos is an outstanding striker. He will be a top goalscorer and is one of the best finishers I have seen.

“He is 19 years of age and plays at a top club but we all here believe he needs not to improve his finishing or improve his technical qualities but just adjust his combative side and that will give him something more and make a top class striker of him.”

At the very least, Vela will come on as an early sub tonight, but what a brave and refreshing signal of intent it would be if he started?

We've already seen what he can do against Sheffield United first hand and Real Madrid from dispatches last season.

As many bloggers have pointed out, Jens Lehmann was dropped by Arsenal after making mistakes in two games early last season.

In much the same way, the dramatic drop in confidence and lack of command of his area that Manuel Almunia has displayed in the past two games underlines that he should now suffer the same fate and be dropped.

It’s hardly revelatory to suggest that, as a top club, our goalkeeper’s occasional stops have masked glaring weaknesses and the fact that he has never been recognised at international level further suggests he is not top class.

I’ve been willing Lukasz Fabianski to do well when he’s played in the first team, and to be honest, he has looked a little shaky at times.

But he is a full international and certainly has the potential to establish himself as our long term Number One.

If he remains calm and does the simple things well, while making sure he meets the ball when dead-balls fly into our area, he will win our hearts for sure.

Qualification is far from guaranteed, but after our performance in Turkey, I would hope we will have enough about us to see off Fenerbahce tonight.

That will leave us requiring just a point unless Dynamo Kiev win – and with Fabianski being eased in against a side who aren’t likely to pummel us physically, it will set us up nicely for the big one on Saturday.