Can Wilshere and Nasri fill the creative void left by Fabregas?

By Graham McNorthbank

A trip up the road to Birmingham tomorrow will give the Gunners a stern test of character and a good result is a must, if not just to stop the knee-jerk campaigners from spreading their sack Wenger bile.

While Aston Villa welcome new recruit Robert Pires to the ranks, Arsenal make the short journey north minus skipper Cesc Fabregas as well as Emmanuel Eboue, Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby and a question mark remaining over Gael Clichy, although Le Gaffer is confident he would return.

Manuel Almunia is fit again but I reckon Wenger will stick wth Lukasz Fabianski.

In defence I think the only issues are whether to select Laurent Koscielny over Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs over Clichy. I'd say yes to both to give us a back line of Bacary Sagna, Sebastien Squillaci, Koscielny and Gibbs.

With no Fabregas to pull the strings in the centre of the park, Le Boss will be looking to the likes of Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri to provide the creative spark, while I think he might also play both Alex Song and Denilson, allowing Nasri to sit just behind the strikers.

And that leaves us with two further holes up front and what better way to plug those gaps with Robin van Persie and Marouane Chamakh.

That will all depend on the form of Andrey Arshavin in training this week, but unless he's stopped taking the lazy pills I'd hope he's on the bench at kick-off tomorrow.

Feel free to disagree with my choice by sharing your starting 11 using our comments section, but just for the record here is the Addict XI.


Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Gibbs

Wilshere Song Denilson

RvP Chamakh Nasri