Date: 18th October 2008 at 12:57am
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Finally we’re back to the good stuff after another redundant international week. Arsenal limped into the break, and now they are crawling on the ground barely making it into the game Saturday with a 16 man squad. The international friendlies had a devastating effect on a majority of the Premier League teams, but Arsenal surely came off the worst.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene talked about how he assumes he is going to lose players after each break. ‘Before they go I know statistically you lose a player.

‘So I am not frustrated because I know that is part of the game when they go on international duty.

‘The only thing I believe is that it is a new start and that is the real start of the season because there is now no real interruptions anymore.’

Wenger is assured his team will bounce back from their current form. “I believe that this is a new start,” he said. “In fact it is the real start of the season because there is now no interruptions anymore. It looks like to me there is a new championship starting.”

“I think if you ask me how many games I think we can lose I would say zero,” said the Frenchman. “I always start a season thinking you cannot lose a game, but we have lost two already and we are in a position where we have given ourselves a handicap.

I still think it is manageable to get back to the top. I know that there is not a lot of margin of error left but I still think we can do that.”

According to Phil Jagielka, his side is looking to turn their season around too. “It`s 11 players against 11 players,” said Jagielka. “We`re not like a young team that`s only just gone into the Premier League. We`ll know how to go about that game – the gaffer will have his tactics.

“We`ve got some fantastic players, some international players, some players that should be internationals in our team and I`m sure we`ll go down there and hopefully enjoy ourselves.”

Arsenal Team News:

Where to start…..hmmm, well first off Gallas, Sagna, Djourou, and Bendtner are definitely out. Walcott will be rested, but Cesc and Robin will be ready to go despite both picking up injuries for their countries. Vela will not be ready to start, from his long trip back to England, but he will surely get his chance from the bench.

Unless Mikael Silvestre wrecks his car on his way to the Emirates Saturday, the former Manchester United man will make his first appearance for Arsenal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it will no doubt be a strange feeling seeing him in the red and white of North London.

Some good news is that Abou Diaby will be back for the first time this season. The lanky Frenchman will probably not start, but Wenger assured us that he will feature at some point.

Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Clichy, Denilson, Song, Cesc, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor

Player to watch: Mikael Silvestre

Many people questioned Wenger’s motives in bringing Mikael to Arsenal, but this is the exact situation that Arsene recruited him for. Wenger might of made some mistakes so far this year but this is a decision he got spot on.

After a impressive preformance in the reserves last week, I am sure that Silvestre will slot perfectly into the defense and make Arsene proud.

Everton Team News:

It’s not only Arsenal that has the injury crisis in this match, as Everton have a sizable list as well. Lee Osman has a groin strain while Phil Neville, Segundo Castillo, and Anichebe have hamstring problems. Jagielka and Joseph Yobo are doubtful with the flu, and Tim Cahill is banned for his red card in the Merseyside derby.

Player to watch: Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini impressed scouts everywhere with his preformance against Liverpool in the Champions League qualifiers, and Everton were quick to snap him up. Having stared already in the Barclays Premier League, he will pose a problem for Arsenal’s mixed up defense.

Match Facts & Stats

Robin van Persie is two goals shy of 50 for Arsenal. He usually scores in pairs so who’s to say he doesn’t reach the half century on Saturday.

Silvestre will be making his 250th Premier League appearance, and we all know who the last 249 were for. It will be interesting to see if Arsenal pays him any sort of tribute for this magnificent achievement, no matter what team it was for. Hopefully we do the classy thing, and recognizes this milestone.

Ref Watch:

Peter Walton is the head official. He has managed three EPL games this year handing out 7 yellows and 1 red.

Match Prediction:

Not sure what to think about this, I don’t think we will lose though. I could see us winning by a 2 or 3 goal margin, but I can also see it being a hard fought 1-1 stalemate. I’ll go with the positive result, 3-1 to the Arsenal. Adebayor to continue his good form from Togo and van Persie to grab a double, to make it 50 Arsenal goals for the young Dutchman. Lescott to score off a corner or set piece for Everton.

Next Fixtures:

21/10– Fenerbahce(A)– Champions League

26/10– West Ham(A)– Premier League

29/10– Tottenham(H)– Premier League