After two awkwardly timed matches, it’s nice to return to a three o’clock Saturday kick off, as the runaway Premier League leaders come to Ashburton Grove to try and extend their early good form and stay top of the league.
City will be bushy tailed after their third victory of the season, beating Manchester United on Sunday. Hopefully our attack won’t be as impotent as United’s proved to be at the weekend. We’re bound to concede, through a combination of playing at home, and some usual comedy defending, so a few goals are vital. Although we’ll be playing without the one goal handicap of having Jens in goal. It’d be lovely to not go one nil down at home for a change, but one step at a time I suppose. We’ll be looking for Kasper Schmeichel to concede his first goals of the season.
We’ve played Man City at home six times under Wenger, and are yet to lose, having won five of the games. Before last season we’d beaten them five times away, scoring fifteen goals, but Barton’s penalty essentially put us out of the title race on the 26th of August, by inflicting the first of seven away losses. We won this corresponding fixture last season 3-1, although not without an attempt from Lehmann to gift points away. No chance of a repeat in this game.
The main news is that Lehmann is "injured". Adebayor is back fit for this game. Gallas is out for "some time" according to Arsene. Eboue is still suffering from his ankle injury. No word on Rosicky or Diaby. I’d expect Rosicky to be back, Diaby wasn’t mentioned in the pre-game injury news last weekend either. Maybe something’s gone on behind the scenes with that one.
The only part of the team that picks itself this week is the defense. Wenger has to choose between Denilson, Flamini and the newly fit Gilberto to start alongside Fabregas, and whether to play Adebayor, Eduardo or Bendtner up front alongside van Persie. Hleb should return to the right hand side with Eboue out injured, unless Rosicky is still out, in which case Hleb will stay on the left and Walcott will play on the right.
Subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Denilson, Walcott, Eduardo
City are only missing Bojinov, who is out for several months with a cruciate ligament injury, and Andreas Isaksson, out till September with a fractured thumb.