Daily Archives: December 9, 2014
Following yet another poor result at the weekend, Arsenal came under the spotlight when the club’s fans were videotaped ‘booing the manager’ as the team boarded the train to leave Stoke-on-Trent. I’m pretty sure that Arsene Wenger was unperturbed as he must have developed an armadillo-esque skin over the years but it’s the players I was more ashamed of. This is a guy that believes so much in them and takes the fall on their behalf yet they are the ones that tend to make the same mistakes over and over again…then come to the media and blow their trumpets on how they’ve learned their lessons.
December has quite a heavy schedule and with the match against the in-form Newcastle looking important with each passing day, it was paramount for the manager to effectively rotate his team to avoid putting some players in the fabled ‘red zone‘. According to stats king, @OptaJoe, Alexis Sanchez has played 1771 minutes of football in all competitions this season, much more than any other Premier League player. The Chilean hotshot has been the very fabric of the team this season and his fitness is key for everyone connected with Arsenal.
The last time both teams met at the Emirates, Arsenal fans were in awe of Danny Welbeck’s goalscoring exploits and since then the England international has had his good and bad moments for the team. However, it’s worth noting that Galatasaray are unbeaten in their last five games against English opposition at home with their last home result against an English team being the 1-1 draw with Chelsea. With the Turks rock bottom of the group and Arsenal already qualified, I believe the game would be a rather pedestrian affair but we can only hope that no Gunner suffers any injury layoff.
With the Gunners and Borussia Dortmund already into the Round of 16, it was expected that Arsene Wenger hands chances to the likes of Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell that haven’t gotten as much minutes as they’d have liked this season. The game against Galatasaray would offer the manager to see a different perspective from the lads that have been hot and cold this season.
Wojciech Szczesny seems to have recovered from his rib injury he suffered against Manchester United and I expect him to replace Emiliano Martinez in goal. Despite the fact that the young goalie struggled against Stoke, his performances against Dortmund, West Brom and Southampton were very impressive and he should take some confidence from those games. Arsenal’s defensive problems has been a much talked-about issue and it has been more about the quantity rather than the quality available to Arsene Wenger. With Laurent Koscielny’s troublesome Achilles being a thorn on the flesh for the Gunners, Wenger has confirmed that he will rest the Frenchman. With Nacho Monreal still out injured, I expect to see the shaky combination of Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers in the heart of the defense and it’s also heartwarming to know that Mathieu Debuchy is back in contention.
In midfield, the club’s niggling injury worries can’t allow Wenger to rotate enough so I expect to see Mathieu Flamini continue in the middle with Aaron Ramsey providing support in the box-to-box role. Santi Cazorla is another player that could do with some rest. With the manager opting for Podolski and Campbell on the flanks, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can get another round in the middle of the park, where he was so effective against AC Milan a couple of seasons ago. Yaya Sanogo is odds on to spearhead the attack.
To injuries, the hosts would be without Hakan Balta and Blerim Dzemaili while Selcuk Inan is suspended. The Gunners have a lengthy injury list with the usual suspects, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil and Nacho Monreal still out injured.
- Last Five Games: L L W W W
- Last Result: Galatasaray 2 Ankisar 1
- Last Five Games: L W W W L
- Last Result: Stoke 3 Arsenal 2
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
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