Quite a bit to get through today, which tells you that the international break is finally over.
Firstly, the team news for tomorrow’s game with Man City sees Cesc, Adebayor and Walcott return from their respective layoffs, but van Persie, Eduardo, Diaby, Nasri and Vela miss out. None of those injured appear to be out for long, with Diaby and Van Persie perhaps the two that may miss the most playing time.
But with Cesc returning, injury niggles can be put aside to look forward to the prospect of his link up play with Arshavin. Both make runs and spot runs, and the thought of the two of them in the same team is likely to terrify opposition. I also think Walcott’s return is critical – he was building up some real momentum before he got injured, and his pace could make the difference towards the end of games.
With Bendtner carrying a slight knock, I’d expect Adebayor to start up front, with Cesc back in midfield, but Theo might remain on the bench to be an impact sub late on. Having said that, we are short of wide options – Arshavin may start on the right, but with Nasri, Vela, Eduardo and Diaby out, we’ve lost our entire left side. Gibbs may even be called upon to fill the gap, as Denilson is likely to start in the centre.
Next season, we may have another wide option in the form of the returning Armand Traore, who is determined to make an impact when his loan at Portsmouth ends. He’s got the talent, no doubt about it, and I have a feeling his future lies in midfield, rather than as Clichy’s understudy – he has been playing a more advanced role for Pompey, and seems to be adapting to that very well. I’d like the see the boy succeed, he’s got the ability and he has his head screwed on.
Elsewhere, we all know about Barca’s president talking about what a great signing Cesc would be. Yep, and winning the lottery would be a good thing too. Let’s leave the transfer talk until the summer though – with Spanish presidential elections going on it’ll be as ridiculous as ever.
Right now, we have more important things to think about – a win over City would put Villa under enormous pressure for their trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, and would be the perfect preparation for Villareal.
Real football is back, and its crunch time. Enjoy.