Archive for December 19th, 2006

Baptista, Rosicky, Denilson & Walcott to start

177 comments December 19th, 2006

The 16-man squad for tonight’s Carling Cup Quarter-Final tie with Liverpool has been announced, and the team picks itself. Manuel Almunia will play in goal, with a back four of Justin Hoyte, Kolo Toure, Philippe Senderos, and Armand Traore.

There will probably be five across midfield, with the returning. Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott flanking Alex Song, Julio Baptista, and Denilson. If, however, Baptista is pushed upfront, he will play alongside Jeremie Aliadiere, who will get a second consecutive start.

It’s not our strongest side, but it’s certainly not our weakest. The likes of Baptista, Rosicky, and Toure could prove the difference, and the side is packed with youngsters with something to prove.

I can’t be the only person hoping that Denilson and Walcott do the business, especially after Benitez whinging about missing out on those two as well as Abou Diaby. Firstly, I have to agree with arseblogger, who points out that whist El Penguino claims that we spent “big money” on those kids, he was off wasting money on the likes of Jermaine Pennant and Jan Kromkamp. Frankly, it’s problem. Secondly, it just shows what a coup we pulled off with all three – some of the biggest prospects from some of the world’s most significant football nations. Add in Bendtner, Vela, Djourou, Fran Merida, and the list becomes very impressive indeed. However crap we play on Saturday, we have the vain hope that we’ll be brilliant come 2010.

Tonight we welcome back Lauren, an exceptional human being and, according to the man himself, the “happiest man at Arsenal”. Arsene describes him as a “winner”, and I have to agree. The way in which he has fought back from the brink of retirement is hugely admirable, and I have to say that I hugely excited about his return. He’ll be on the bench, but all things going well, could play up to twenty minutes. The sooner he is ready for the first-team, the better.

Finally, let’s keep an eye on Arsene tonight. Although he is rightly furious at being charged for doing very very little on Saturday, he does seem to be tetchier than previous seasons, due in no small part, I’m sure, to our poor form. A win tonight would help him relax – incentive if it was ever needed.

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