One thing that the Arsenal fans will not have to worry about at Old Trafford in the FA cup is being spat at by the Manchester United defender Jonny Evans. Because despite denying the FA charge, Evans has been banned for six games and the first of those will be the quarter-final against Arsenal. He would also miss the replay if we draw tomorrow and have to play again at the Emirates.
There are two very important games for Arsenal to get through, at home to Anderlecht and away to Swansea City, before the next international break comes around, but after that things really start to get serious for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners.
Which United player should Arsenal ask for in return for Thomas Vermaelen? AT
It is being reported by Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph that Wenger is only interested in selling Vermaelen to Man Utd providing that Arsenal receive a United player in return. But which United player would we ask for in any potential deal?
Arsene Wenger is not renowned for changing the set up of the Arsenal team depending on who the opponents are, and the Gunners should have plenty of quality all over the pitch to cause Tottenham all sorts of problems at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The case for allocating one of the Arsenal team to stick close to Gareth Bale is quite a strong one, though, because without him the Spuds would not be winning matches.
The news will not surprise Arsenal fans, but could be seen as a bit of a kick in the teeth for some of the other young players in the England international set up. Roy Hodgson has picked a squad to face Brazil in a friendly next week, but has left out a number of younger players, who will drop back down to the under 21s for the upcoming European championships this summer. Wilshere is not one of them, because he has already proved himself for club and country.
I, personally, have been impressed with Vito Mannone this season for Arsenal. The Italian was third choice keeper before the season started, but has been thrown into first team action for almost all of the games so far due to lengthy injury problems for Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski. Maybe Arsene Wenger has not been so impressed, or the Frenchman just thinks that he is not quite ready, as he is considering a bid for the Liverpool and Spain keeper, Pepe Reina.
The holding midfield role at Arsenal is one performed admirably by Alex Song each week, with Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin ready to play there too. The aforementioned reserve duo – the latter in particular – may be growing frustrated at the lack of first team action and at least one of the two could move elsewhere on loan in January. It could therefore be an excellent attribute to have players that can play in that position if needed.
The young Lens centre-back Raphael Varane has been hugely impressive since making his debut for the Ligue 1 side in September, and has been a regular in the first team ever since.