Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Arsenal vs. Sheffield United – squad depletion for both

Posted by James Dall on 30, December 2006

Morning, I do hope everyone is well and has not caught this virus which appears to have spread to our club.

Firstly the Injury news. The players that are out are as follows –

Adebayor, Djourou, Walcott, Hleb, Henry, Ljungberg, Gallas and Eboue.

Ridiculous list of players there. Oh and to top things off a few of our squad have colds – Fabregas, Aliardiere, Song, and Baptista. So to bolster the team we have Lauren and Denilson travelling, neither of which will start in my opinion depending on the state of the players who have colds of course.

Given the injuries we have picking the team is a tough one. I would go with the following thought –

Baptista, van Persie

Rosicky, Fabregas, Gilberto, Flamini

Clichy, Senderos, Toure, Hoyte


I think it is a testament to our depth baring in mind the players we have out that we can still field a pretty talented team. Flamini out wide as he can play there and can dig in. He certainly will not provide the flair or creativity of Hleb but after reading suggestions of Fabregas out there, I do not think that would be wise at all. He is our central figure in midfield and pushing him wide would simply be a waste. The back 5 area picks itself really. I guess the question, once again, is whether we play the 4 or 5 man midfield. For me we have played the 4 man recently and it has been working. Not only that but If we play this line-up only one player is kind of out of position and that is Flamini. I have read about maybe playing the Bap up top on his own but I am still a bit hesitant about that, I think that position needs practice. Maybe he will prove me wrong, I will have to wait and see. Or there is talk of Aliardiere on the wing, OR even van Persie on one of the wings. Who knows eh apart from Arsene. I am confident he will make the right decision.

Sheffield United have problems of their own, Warnock states –

I said that (fielding a weakened side) tongue in cheek at the start of the week, but it might come back to haunt me.

Arsene chats about Baptista. The most interesting little part is this –

Julio has a lot to prove in the next six months. I am leaning more one way than the other about taking him [permanently]. But I will not give you the way I am leaning.

It certainly would be strange for Wenger to track him on this time, then see him in training and think, ‘god he is crap actually’. I presume he is leaning on keeping him. I guess that all hinders on whether the Bap wants to stay, once he gets more of a run I am sure he will be a lot happier. People keep moaning about how little we have played him but the inury really did disrupt his season. Now he is fit and now he should start today I hope he plays bloody well and bags a brace.

Yesterday I talked about the worries of Anthony Stokes, well Arsene mentioned him yesterday here. It sounds like he will not be returning to the squad then and will stay out. It is yet to be seen whether he is going to stay in Scotland or head to England. If he grabs a place in a Premiership team that would be brilliant for him.

Just a final note, something I read here, the guy points out what our starting line-up would be if it were just the injured players –

Henry, Adebayor

Hleb, Diaby, Ljungberg, Walcott

Lauren, Djourou, Gallas, Eboue


An impressive team and in essence you see Arsene’s argument for the lack of need to sign players. 3 points is the order of the day today. Have a lovely Saturday.


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