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Fabianski – Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I always knew the lad had talent, lack of confidence was his problem. Now that confidence is on a high you can see the difference. Making world class saves, superb decision making, excellent on crosses and set pieces. Goodbye Almunia! (9)

Sagna – He was everywhere today. Superb defending and he was involved in nearly every attack as well. He sure has quite a stamina. And it seemed he’s been working on his crosses as well! (8)

Squillaci – Nothing special from him really but didn’t make any mistakes either. (7)

Djourou – Poor. Looked pretty shaky. His decision making and positioning wasn’t the best on plenty of occasions. Missed a simple header too. Not a good game. I can’t wait for Vermaelen and Koscielny to return. (6)

Clichy – Decent performance from him. Did get humiliated a couple of times in defence but other than that he was his usual self. Not bad. (6.5)

Song – His passing is still annoying and his renewed belief that he’s great going forward is a nuisance. But it did pay off today, fortunately. Got a good goal, great finish. (6.5)

Denilson – Worked really hard today. Good performance but I’ll have Wilshere over him any day. (7)

Fabregas – Our captain is just sheer class. What he adds to the team is priceless. His vision is exceptional, execution is always perfect. Missed a penalty but he made it up with his performance. (8.5)

Nasri – Excellent performance yet again from the Frenchman. He’s doing it week in week out. Scored a very well taken goal and got the assist for the 3rd goal. He’s a really skillful player and his ability to take on defenders is a treat to the eye. (9)

Arshavin – Saw some improvement today from his recent lackluster performances but still a long way to go to being back to his best. It was pleasing to see him tracking back today, something that has been his weak point from the start of his Arsenal career. He was pretty active in the attacks as well, good assist for Nasri’s opener. But he’s unable to take defenders on and beat them like he was in his early days and score some surprising goals which is worrying. (7)

Chamakh – The usual from our Moroccan. Good link up, decent runs, it was a tackle on him that resulted in the early red card. (7)

Substitutes:

Rosicky – Involved a lot since coming on but wasted an opportunity to shoot by trying to find Denilson. But it was probably because of his lack of confidence in front of goal; he hasn’t scored in quite a while. (6.5)

Walcott – Nothing to mention in his little cameo.

Bendtner – Great to see him back. He had a nice touch, movement was good and finishing was excellent. (7)

The Super Sunday encounter between Arsenal and Manchester City can rightly be called a battle of ideologies. Cash rich Manchester City have not been shy of spending money. They have made a completely new team over the last year or two spending lavishly. Arsenal, on the other hand, with Arsene Wenger at helm have been the least spending Premier League side. They have persisted with project youth in the past few years with not more than a couple of additions each year. Tomorrow we may well find out how right Wenger is when he says “You can’t buy success.”

We usually don’t term games this early in the season as must-win. But its getting the 3 points especially in big matches like the one tomorrow that help to keep those must win games to a minimum in the final stages of the season.

The trip to City of Manchester Stadium used to be an easy ride for Arsenal till 2006. But since the influx of virtually unlimited money at City, Arsenal have managed to avoid defeat just once in the last 5 trips to Eastlands. Not to forget last season’s 4-2 defeat – a result that was overshadowed by Emmanuel Adebayor’s infamous stamp on former teammate Robin van Persie. Neither of the two might feature tomorrow though. Van Persie, as usual, is out injured and Adebayor has fallen out of favor with manager Roberto Mancini.

What’s more worrying for Arsenal is that they have a horrible away form. They have not kept a clean sheet in their last 15 away games and have won only one of their last eight Premier League away games. It really makes one wonder whether Arsenal can manage to get the 3 points tomorrow. Looks doubtful, honestly speaking.

As for the team news, City have an extremely short injury list. Balotelli, Jo and Toure are the only big names doubtful for tomorrow. Balotelli and Jo will surely not be missed with the form that Carlos Tevez is in. 28 goals in his last 31 Premier League appearances, including 7 already this season, says it all. It is this remarkable form that has forced Adebayor to the bench. But the lanky forward did get a hattrick in the Europa Cup in midweek so he will surely be contesting for a start against the club where it all started for him. New boy David Silva is also starting to fulfill his potential and could pose a serious threat to the weak Arsenal defence.

Arsenal’s absentee list is a lot longer than that of City. Almunia, Frimpong, Ramsey, Van Persie, Vermaelen, Koscielny and Wilshere (suspended) will all be missing. The list has shrunk a lot in the last week or two. Sagna is back, so are Walcott, Bendtner and Fabregas. The captain’s return is a timely one considering the little man running the show from midfield this season, Jack Wilshere, is suspended. The probable line-up will be:

Fabianski
Sagna     Squillaci     Djourou     Clichy
Nasri     Song    Fabregas
Walcott     Chamakh     Arshavin

Fabianski is turning out to be a reliable goalkeeper. You don’t have mini heart attacks anymore whenever he’s called into action, and instead you really fancy him to pull out a save or make a good punch. Sagna is back fit and I would prefer him over Eboue because he’s better defender defensively. The back two pick themselves since they’re the only options we have unless Koscielny makes a surprising recovery from his back injury. At left back I wouldn’t mind either of Clichy or Gibbs but Wenger will probably go for Clichy’s experience. Nasri has been Arsenal’s best player this season so he’s an automatic selection. Song is the only holding midfield option we have. Fabregas picks himself. As for Walcott, I think we really will need his pace and direct approach in a big match like this because as Wenger said the first goal decides the game in most big matches so better to start him than bring him on as a super sub. Of course you can’t drop Chamakh. He’s been The Man so far. Involved in nearly everything – tracking back, good link play, assists, winning penalties, scoring goals. And we all know Wenger wont drop Arshavin so lets not argue about that!

MANCHESTER CITY:
League position: 2nd
Points: 17
Goals scored: 12
Goals conceded: 5
Form: WWWWD

ARSENAL:
League position: 5th
Points: 14
Goals scored: 18
Goals conceded: 10
Form: WLLDW

Lets hope Arsenal can turn their away misfortunes around and turn up with a performance we’ve all come to expect from them at home. With Chelsea getting a win today, not dropping points is all the more important now.

Arsene Wenger can be very happy with his purchase of Marouane Chamakh. The Moroccan striker scored his fifth goal for his new club in the 2-1 victory over Birmingham and he was involved with both his side’s goals as the former Bordeaux man put in an action-packed performance.

Chamakh was brought down by Scott Dann in the area just before the half time interval and Samir Nasri made no mistake from the penalty spot.

For the second, Chamakh snuck in behind the Birmingham defence and was found by Jack Wilshire, before the striker jinked past a tackle to finish nicely. No one had made Birmingham betting tips to win the game before kickoff, but in the end Chamakh’s influence was vital to ensure the home side picked up three points.

The French born striker, who has made more than 50 appearances for Morocco, joined the club on a free transfer from Bordeaux in the summer and has endeared himself to his new fans with a series of impressive performances. Wenger had been a long time admirer of Chamakh, but had never been able to agree a fee with Bordeaux. The 26-year-old forward allowed his contract with the French club to expire and jumped at the chance to sign at the Emirates.

However, the striker’s goal tally this season might have come as something of a surprise to Wenger. In Chamakh’s 230 appearances for Bordeaux, he contributed a modest 56 goals. As with so many players over the years, playing under Wenger seems to be bringing the best out in the Moroccan.

Chamakh’s form couldn’t have come at a better time for manager Wenger, who has been without Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner for much of the new campaign. Chamakh’s performance showed his ability to play as a lone front man as well as in a partnership.

Arsenal will need their newest striker to carry on his form into the rest of the campaign. He bagged another goal as the side kept up its 100 per cent record in Europe when they hosted Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donesk, and the Champions League betting suggests they have every chance of pushing on in the competition.

APPEAL:
Everyone is requested to please donate as much as you can for the rehabilitation of the flood victims in Pakistan. The country has been hit by one of the worst floods ever which has displaced over 20 million people. Every penny you donate can help a person so please don’t hold back even if you cannot donate a substantial amount. Here’s a couple of links where you can donate online:
http://www.unicef.org.uk/give/index.asp?page=80
https://www.donate.bt.com/dec_form_pfa.html

BORDEAUX_CHAMAKH_010309Arsenal have been linked with highly rated Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh this summer even though 14 goals from 42 games last season doesn’t seem like a good enough record to attract interest from Arsene Wenger.

Now Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud has confirmed that Wenger is not interested in Chamakh:

“That is only chatter.

“I don’t know where it came from, but I never heard any Arsenal representatives since (Sylvain) Wiltord, which means almost eight years.”

It’s not a surprise really because Arsene Wenger made it clear Arsenal have enough strikers and don’t need any more of them. Even if Wenger did change his mind, I doubt he would have gone for Chamakh.