Champions League Preview: AZ Alkmaar

OK folks, initial squad news gives us little in the way of surprises apart from Rosicky being back in squad - I don't know about you but after hearing from Le Boss that he would be "a little short" for the West Sham game I had worries when he was not included in either the Liverpool or Spuds squads that we were on the verge of a serious relapse. Not such good news about Clichy - he will be out for a month or so (let's be honest, could be 3 months based on Arsene's past predictions!) with a suspected stress fracture in his back. Time for young Gibbs to step up, and maybe even Traore to challenge for the left back position. Gael has not had the best of times this season as has been universally acknowledged, but he remains our best choice and however good Gibbs or Traore can be, there is no substitute for your first choice.

Nasri is also in the squad, but we're also missing Bendtner & Theo - the latter being due back in time for the Chav game by my estimates. I'm expecting a strong starting line up tomorrow, although this will be partly nullified by the inclusion of Diaby, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Eboue given the chance to fuck up in midfield rather than Eduardo, and whilst Alkmaar came close to out-Arsenal-ing us 2 weeks ago, I see nothing more than a comfortable home win.

After that we have an on-paper easy trip to the Black Country to face Wolves. My head is telling me that we, again, should win comfortably, but after Stoke away last year I'm as nervous as a Turkey on Christmas Eve. Let's get tomorrows game out of the way first and see if our squad can get through it without any more long term injuries.

I'll touch on the Carling cup tie away to the Manc Chavs in another post, but I'm positively salivating at the prospect of RVP wreaking a terrible revenge on Greedy-bye-whore. Shame it's up there - we don't play them at home until the arse-end of the season.

A final word on our squad - all the doom-sayers out there who reckon it was paper thin at the start of the season.... when you look at who is currently or has been out injured already.... Vela, Denilson, Theo, Little Jack, Djourou, Fabianski, Bendtner - we have had the opportunity to see some squad players step up and really show their worth - Rosicky (ok, hardly a squad player but not exactly a first teamer for the last 2 years!), Ramsay, Gibbs, Merida. Now, exactly where else could we accommodate any more World class talent (apart from in Goal)????

The future REALLY is Red 'n' White....

Manana Amigos....