Arsenal welcome Swansea City to The Emirates Stadium on Saturday in what proves to be an exciting encounter. The Gunners have some fresh injury concerns to worry about as Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna will both have tests on ankle and foot injuries respectively Saturday morning.
Lukas Podolski will also be put through his paces to see if has worked off the effects of a chest infection. Other confirmed absentees include Laurent Koscielny, Abou Diaby, Lukasz Fabianski and Andre Santos. Tomas Rosicky may not be quite ready for first-team football as yet after a return from an Achilles injury.
Swansea will be without the in-form Pablo Hernandez while defender Chico Flores and Danny Graham will go through fitness tests to assess shoulder problems and an illness respectively.
Players signing new contracts at The Emirates will be asked to agree to a clause that will see their pay reduced upon failure to qualify for the Champions League. The likes of Kieran Gibbs, lex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are being asked to accept such terms while it is believed that Carl Jenkinson already has such a clause.
Arsenal’s Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin feels a responsibility to bring home a trophy for The Gunners this season. Despite being likely to move on in the summer the former Zenit Saint Petersburg player wants to help bring home a trophy after going trophy-less since signing with the North London club in 2009.
Familiar names have been linked with a move to The Emirates as the main transfer targets at the club this January. Wilfried Zaha, Pepe Reina, Thierry Henry and Adrian Lopez are believed to be top of Arsene Wenger’s wish-list. It would be a change of type for Wenger whose last high-profile January signing was Andrei Arshavin for £14.5 million in 2009.
Wenger has also had a dig at old-adversaries Barcelona by claiming they would be a ‘much more normal’ team without Lionel Messi in their ranks. The Argentine, who was named on the final shortlist for this year’s Balon D’Or earlier in the week, has bagged over 80 goals this season and Wenger feels that one without the other would have significant effects on productivity.
Finally Wenger also believes that the next 12 matches will go a long way to deciding whether Arsenal can challenge the Manchester clubs for the Premier League title this season. Arsenal have a reasonable string of games in the next month or so and with many of those fixtures at The Emirates he also called on his players to use home advantage to their advantage to push up the league table.
What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal FC on the 30th November 2012?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald