Clichy out of Alkmaar tie

Arsenal will be without Gael Clichy when AZ Alkmaar arrive at the Emirates tomorrow evening ahead of another Champions League encounter.
Bendtner has already been ruled out for at least four weeks with a groin problem, proving the Gunner’s winter injury list is about as traditional as Christmas pudding.
Wenger said: “We fear a stress fracture of the back, we will know more on Tuesday but if it is the case he’ll be out for a few weeks.”
Kieran Gibbs will undoubtedly fill in for Clichy tomorrow night. Gibbs impressed during Arsenal’s Carling Cup victory against Liverpool last Wednesday and some fans had even been calling for him to start ahead of Clichy earlier in the season.
“I was very comfortable to have the solution to rest Clichy when needed and play Gibbs when necessary,” added Wenger.
“Now a huge stress will be on Gibbs to play in every game. But I have every confidence about Gibbs. I have said that many times.”
Gibbs is slowly coming of age in a way that shouldn’t cause too many groans when he steps in for Clichy against AZ. The young Englishman’s maturity was reflected late on during the Liverpool tie when he held the ball in the corner, seeing out the narrow lead in a way his seniors couldn’t do in previous games.
Having recently played in front of an expectant Emirates crowd his appetite for first team football should be strong and the test of breaking down AZ should be further motivation.
The team have seen how tight the Dutch side defend at home so that same resistance should be water-tight away from the DSB Stadion. In Holland, AZ were happy to see everything played in front of them and coped well that way.
At times it was like a game of Hungry Hippos. Arsenal would continuously try to force a ball into a players feet, only for a defender to sharply poke out from the AZ rear-line and snap at the Arsenal player’s heels before falling back into place.
Moving the ball wide is the way to stretch AZ who could pull an Olympiakos and set up with a flat back ten. Ten hungry hippos! Good defenders are usually made to look weak when facing their own goal. Crosses from deep could be the trick.
Gibbs is capable of surpassing the midfield and delivering good crosses. Now all he needs to do is ask Ledley King for a VHS copy of Saturday’s training match to understand Van Persie’s movement in and around the box. Gags!
Build-up talk from the Arsenal camp and team news to follow . . .

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