By Graham McNorthbank
Arsenal entertain Newcastle tomorrow knowing that the likes of skipper Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin, Alex Song and Denilson have all passed fitness tests and are available to face the Magpies after being sidelined for the trip to the Ukraine during the week.
It's barely 10 days since the Gunners beat the boys from the Toon on their own turf, with a rather flattering 4-0 scoreline, but even though we fielded a slightly weakened Carling Cup team that night, I don't think we'll have things quite as easy as we did on the road, but anything less than a win will be a huge disappointment.
Lukasz Fabianski should retain his place in goal and I’m hoping that we’ll see Laurent Koscielny back partnering Sebastien Squillaci in central defence as I’m still not convinced about Johan Djourou.
And we can only hope that Gael Clichy performs a little better than he did against Shakhtar, while I fancy Bacary Sagna will win his place back in the starting 11 as Emmanuel Eboue was another who failed to impress the other night.
In midfield I can’t see us playing anything other than Alex Song, Cesc and Jack Wilshere, leaving Marouane Chamakh, Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri to lead the front line.
And that line up should be good enough to defeat the visitors IF they play anywhere near their potential.
A quick word about the boss, who has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons today.
Yes it’s a distraction, but let’s face it, none of us know about Arsene Wenger’s private life and if he is going through some personal problems, then all I can say is that I wish him all the best.
He’s human like the rest of us and humans make mistakes. Who knows what the truth is behind the headlines, but I for one don’t think it’s any of my business and as long as it doesn’t affect Arsenal Football Club, quite frankly I couldn’t care less.
Anyhoo, I hope the fans tomorrow show him support and that the players can help put a smile back on
Le Gaffer’s face with a decent result.
Sagna Koscielny Squillaci Clichy
Walcott Chamakh Nasri