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Arsenal travel to Molineux tonight to face a Wolves side that is very much the out-of-form team in the Premier League. Wolves have lost all of their last 6 games and are the clear favorites for relegation to the Championship.
The Gunners know that a win tonight would take us 5 points ahead of Spurs and Newcastle and 7 ahead of Chelsea. Spurs fans can tell us as many times as they like that they have an easier run-in, but the fact remains that they lost at home to Norwich on Monday – a day after we won against Manchester City. Chelsea also dropped points away to their neighbours at Craven Cottage, allowing Newcastle (who have put together a 5-game winning streak) to claim 5th place.
Arsene Wenger will be forced into making at least two changes to our winning formula. Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out with a hamstring injury and Laurent Koscielny is serving a 2-match ban after he picked up his 10th yellow card of the season. This means that Johan Djourou will step in to replace Koscielny (we also have Mertesacker absent with a long-term ankle injury) and André Santos slots straight in at left-back. Gervinho is also missing because of a knock which kept him out on the weekend.
The fight for the wing
With Theo Walcott ever present on the right wing, there are a few players fighting for the one place that exists on the left hand side.
Aaron Ramsey has been deployed out of position in recent weeks (at the expense of Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain), and many fans have begun to question his effectiveness. Yossi Benayoun subsequently made an unexpected appearance on the weekend against Manchester City. There is also the possibility of playing Ramsey in central midfield (his usual positon), with Tomas Rosicky playing a slightly wider role.
Personally I would like to see The Ox given a start as he has been left out of the line-up for several weeks. Whether Wenger see’s Alex as more of a central midfielder remains to be seen, but he is more than deserving of a place in tonight’s team. It is extremely difficult to leave Tomas Rosicky out of the team given his current form, so the question is whether to play Ramsey or an out and out winger. Benayoun also played well on Sunday and will no doubt be pushing for a start.
I have left Gervinho out deliberately because he is injured.
Predicted Starting XI
Wolves 1-3 Arsenal Arsenal have apparently not lost to Wolves since 1979, and the hosts form hardly suggests that they are likely to re-write the history books this evening. We have a lot of quality up front and the players know that they cannot afford to have another performance like the one against QPR.