The gunners will look to continue their current winning run in the Premier League to five consecutive victories after coming back from the international break. Recent form would suggest a comfortable win to the Arsenal after the return of Vermaelen, which seems to have significantly solidified the gunners defence, and also the current form of Van Persie who at the moment seems to be scoring at will.
The early return of Robin van Persie from the international break will hopefully pay dividends as the striker received some much needed rest after Wenger revealed he is in dire need for it. The front three is likely to remain the same with Gervinho and Walcott down the flanks, trying to inject their trickery and pace to get in behind the back-four and feed some balls into Van Persie in the middle.
In terms of the back-line things do not look so good for Arsenal’s young defenders Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs face quite lengthy spells on the sidelines. For both it is a shame as Kieran would have liked to most importantly stay fit for a lengthy spell and Jenkinson would have been relishing his new found starting spot in the squad and looked to be significantly improving with each match. Expect to see Koscielny or Djourou out at right-back against Norwich, although I am hoping the former with Mertesacker and Vermaelen in the middle of defence.
This weekend provides a great chance for the gunners to climb ever closer to that all important top four with Chelsea to play Liverpool and Manchester City to play Newcastle. It is imperative that Arsenal capitilise on this opportunity to maintain their current run of form, maintain their current confidence and most importantly climb up the Premier League ladder!
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(Premier League in red)
on the international break…
We have had some bad news because we have lost two full-backs over the break but apart from that all the players came back in good shape and everybody is available.
on Kieran Gibbs…
He has a hernia and had surgery on Thursday. He looks like he will be out for between four and five weeks. At first he had an abdominal strain, certainly caused by the fact that he had a hernia already. When the strain was healed we discovered that he had a hernia. We had a fear that could be behind it so we decided to do the surgery.
on Carl Jenkinson…
Carl has a stress fracture in his back. That’s just about rest now. We discovered that because he had a pain in his back. First you monitor it, then play a little bit and then you check again because you are cautious.
We found a small stress fracture that we noticed at an early stage. If he continued to play it could have got worse and then he could be out for a long time. So at the moment the specialist has decided to rest him.
on Jack Wilshere…
We have no chance to get Wilshere back before the New Year. The only positive thing is the X-ray after six weeks – which was a vital one – and looked very positive and very good. So he will be on time and as planned. His surgery went well, his healing is going well, but still there is no chance before the middle or end of January.
on Abou Diaby and Marouane Chamakh…
They are both back in full training again. Diaby has been out for four or five months so he will need some adaptation. Chamakh is available for the weekend.
He has an ankle sprain and will be out four to six weeks.
Arsenal – Robin Van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been in outstanding form this season and his form can not be argued with. Scoring a good poachers goal and assisting Arsenal’s two other goals against West Brom, his confidence going into this match will be sky-high with the Dutchman himself saying he expects to score in every game.
Marseille – Anthony Pilkington – Having scored 4 goals in 10 games this season, Pilkington will be looking to capitalise on our current weakness at right-back if Djourou if given the nod ahead of Koscielny. The Englishman has been a good source of goals for the canaries and will look to continue his great run of form.
Koscielny Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
The absence of Carl Jenkinson is sure to give a little bit of a selection headache for Arsene Wenger. With Koscielny earning his first cap for France in the international break after showing great form, the Arsenal manager would surely want to play him. Koscielny was originally brought up at right-back and would be expected to perform better there ahead of Djourou.