Venue: Riverside Date: Saturday, 13 December Kick-off: 1245 GMT Arsenal Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Eboue – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Denilson – Fabregas(c) – Song – Diaby
Van Persie – Adebayor
Subs from: Fabianski, Silvestre, Sagna, Ramsey, Wilshere Vela, Bendtner, Gibbs, G.Hoyte, Simpson
Injury doubts: Sagna, Fabregas, Clichy, Van Persie, Adebayor
Middlesbrough Likely Line Up (4-4-2)
Hoyte – Pogatetz(c)- Huth – A.Taylor
Aliadiere – Digard – Arca – Downing
Tuncay – Alves
Subs from: Jones, Emnes, Johnson, McMahon, Riggott, Bates, Grounds, Walker, Hines
Injury doubts: Huth, Riggott, Hoyte, Taylor
Form Guide: Arsenal (4th) W9 D2 L5= 29 points Middlesbrough (12th): W5 D4 L6= 19 points
Tactics Talk: Out of the five injury doubts Sagna has the least chance of playing for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is likely to recall those that missed the defeat to FC Porto as the Gunners try to get three Premiership wins in a row since winning the first four matches of the season.
The full back area is where Middlesbrough are most weakest so the lack of natural wingers may mean this area is not exploited as much it could be. In central midfield Didier Digard is relatively inexperienced in the English league and may find the passing and movement, if the Gunners get it right too much. Van Persie will once again be key in achieving this by dropping in the hole.
Middlesbrough will likely start as a 4-5-1 with Tuncay reverting to the left of midfield to deny Arsenal space and then counter on the break with Aliadiere’s pace and Tuncay’s industry. The Gunners will have to find a way past the defence better than in Portugal and therefore Adebayor’s presence in the air could be crucial even against Borough’s tall defenders.
Eboue Booing- Wenger’s fault?
Listening to Arsenal fans who booed Eboue it seems it was out of pure frustration at the lack of title challenge and the Ivorian typified this as he is seen as an average player. When he first played at right back fans thought he was arguably the best in the Premiership but his performances in midfield has changed his image.
Arsene is the man who is tasked with signing players and some have become disgruntled by the Frenchamn signing young and inexperienced players. The move to the Emirates has affected his budget and the best we can do is support the club and criticise aswell to improve but the public booing was unacceptable. However Arsene needs to acknowledge the team needs to be stronger and trust should be placed on him to do so.
Arsenal Key Man: Cesc Fabregas Middlesbrough Danger Man: Tuncay Sanli
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal