Tomorrow we finish our 3 part Northern round trip that has taken us to Villa Park, St James’ Park and now the Riverside. We won brilliantly away at Villa when many were hoping for a draw. We slipped up a little against a rejuvinated Newcastle side ut there was no shame in a 1-1 draw away there. If we can beat Boro tomorrow we will have 7 points from 9 in one week of 3 very tricky away games; all this without Fabregas and Van Persie for all 3, Hleb and Flamini for the other two.
We are without these players again and I envisage a line up similar if not exactly the same as in the last game. The back four and keeper will be the same and all we need from them is consistency once again. They defended brilliantly in the last two games, especially seeing as they were bombarded for 45 minutes and then for 70 minutes. Almunia was brilliant in both and he is showing why he has the no.1 jersey right now.
In midfield I feel Wenger will persist with Eboue on the right; this surely must be the final chance before he is moved to the bench. I have stated my opinion on Eboue many times and once again I will tell you that Eboue is a fantastic player when things are going well and we are playing good Football. Just look at the involvement he had during our last three goals; all 3 came from moves involving him whether it be a pinpoint cross or slick passing. However when the going gets tough and backs are against the wall, he goes missing far too many times. I didn’t see him touch the ball in the second half against Newcastle and at least others made some sort of attempt to get on the ball.
Lassana Diarra impressed me hugely with his no nonsense tackling and work rate. His passing was decent at times but he is no playmaker. He needs a creative player alongside him. Gilberto is not this and right now doesn’t seem to do a job in the side. He makes interceptions and keeps play simple but Diarra can do this aswell as adding a fighting edge to the midfield in Flamini’s absence. I have called for Rosicky to be given the other central midfield role and it showed midweek we missed this creative edge through the middle. This would leave a space on the left for Walcott to show us what he can do. He was brilliant for the U21s and he had an interview where he mentioned a new direct, positive manner to his game – time to show it Theo!
Up front I am all for Eduardo being given another chance, but this time up front and NOT on the wing. The guy is still adapting to our play but playing him out wide will not help. His position is alongside Adebayor so let him play there. Wenger could go with Bendtner and either way I do not mind. We need goals from our forwards more than anyone with Cesc and Hleb out, chances might be more scarce and two strikers have more chance of scoring than just Ade up top.
My team would be:
Subs: Lehmann, Song, Gilberto, Denilson, Bendtner
Once again Wenger has been blamed for the lack of English players, I have debated on this subject and right now am getting bored of this. I can’t wait till Mourinho is named manager to show that foreigners simply are better all through football right now. The FA is the shambles and the acadamies run by it are even worse. Get Wenger in charge as a second job – I mean second – and we might see some improvement. Wait till Henri Lansbury, Mark Randall, Rhys Murphy, Jay Emmanuel Thomas are lighting up the Premiership and then we will see what Wenger IS doing for English football.
Back to tomorrow’s match and good luck to the boys. Get the three points and we have done well for a week’s work. Many are already looking to Chelsea at home but one game at a time for now.