Arsenal head south to Portsmouth tomorrow with one eye inevitably on the Champions League semi final decider with Man United in four days time.
But Arsene Wenger has vowed to field as strong a side as possible at Fratton Park as he remains determined to keep up the Gunners’ unbeaten run in the league, which now extends to 20 games.
He’ll also want to see an improved performance from a number of his first team players. Other than Manuel Almunia, Kolo Toure and Kieran Gibbs, nobody played anywhere near their standard at Old Trafford on Wednesday and tomorrow’s clash should be treated as an exercise for some individuals to re-stake their claim for a starting place against United.
Unfortunately with Eduardo and Robin van Persie sidelined, our striking options are limited, but in Emmanuel Adebayor, Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela we should have enough firepower to put Portsmouth to the sword. Much has been made of Adebayor's diabolical performance against United the other night, but let's not forget that he has scored six goals in just eight games for us in Europe this year, so don't write him off just yet...
Andrey Arshavin will also return to the fray and I see him starting in a midfield alongside Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas. If we do see either Emmanuel Eboue or Denilson, I’d like to think that they will pull out all the stops totry to convince Le Boss that he needs to pick them for Tuesday.
Mikael Silvestre misses the game with a groin strain, which will also give Johan Djourou another opportunity to show his manager that he is the better choice against the Mancs.
Feel free to share your thoughts on our line up for the Portsmouth game. For the record, here is mine:
Sagna Toure Djourou Gibbs
Arshavin Fabregas Song Nasri
Subs: Fabianski, Eboue, Denilson, Diaby, Ramsey, Vela, Adebayor