The international break is over and we resume with the real football. I have stated before FIFA needs to address the international football calendar. We cannot have a stop start season, any rhythm that teams have is disrupted. I would prefer a break in October or 2-3 weeks and another in March, allowing all internationals to be crammed into these periods.
We had mixed performances during the international break, but on the whole I think we will come back stringer with players more confident than when they left the club due to their international performances.
The international break has seen Eduardo, van Persie, Bendtner and Fabregas get amongst the goals. That is good for their own personal morale especially the forwards who have failed to score so far this season.
During the internationals Rosicky made a comeback for the Czech Republic. It will be interesting to see if he has any reaction to that match or if he will be included in the squad for the game against Manchester City. Rosicky was a major loss for us in the year in which we came close to the winning the league. His return will be vital for us, he is cross between Hleb and Arshavin, his goals, creativity and directness will be vital for us, let us hope he can stay relatively injury free.
On the negative side we have lost Arshavin for three games. This is crazy; Arshavin left Arsenal and was injured. Under no circumstances should he have been allowed to play for Russia. Once he attended the initial Russian training camp and he was injured, he should have been sent back home. Wenger needs to emphasise to Arshavin his importance to Arsenal and that in future he should not play if he is injured.
Fabregas played and scored for Spain which is good news for Arsenal. Cesc seems to have re-discovered his form of two seasons ago, creating and scoring goals.
It will be good to have Rosicky and Fabregas back, but the loss of Arshavin is a major blow for Arsenal.
Arsene needs to count the boys in and see who is ready to face Manchester City tomorrow.
The defence picks itself and with the return of Cesc, the midfield trio will be Song, Denilson and Fabregas. Arsene will persist with a fluid front three.
The game will be a little too early for Walcott who will be looking at returning next week against Wigan. This leaves Arsenal short of wide players. I doubt he will risk starting Rosicky against Manchester City.
The front three will be Diaby, van Persie and Eduardo.
Manchester City are unbeaten this season but will be without Tevez and Robinho, whilst former Gunners Toure and Adebayor will be looking at showing Arsene that he was wrong in allowing them to leave. Manchester City, for all their attacking power have not been scoring many goals and if we keep the Togo man quiet, then we should be too strong for City.
What is amazing is that after Saturday’s game we would have played 3 away games and one at home.