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Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger: Who would you pick to face Newcastle?

Arsenal play their third game in as many competitions this Saturday when Newcastle visit the Emirates Stadium hoping that they can emulate Tottenham's shock win on Tuesday.

Buoyed by the arrival of the Geordie Messiah, Kevin Keegan, in the manager's office, the Magpies will be looking at the FA Cup in much the same way as the Spuds are viewing the Carling Cup - as their best chance of silverware this season.

As a result, the Gunners can expect another tough game and with injuries plaguing the first team squad, Arsene Wenger will do well to have his players perform to the standard they did last weekend when they swept aside Fulham 3-0 in the Premier League.

For that to happen, there are a number of players who will have to perform much better than they did at Light Weight Lane. Skipper William Gallas had one of the poorest nights of his career against the Spuds, so he has a point to prove, while others such as Gilberto, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott will be lucky to make the Arsenal squad for Saturday given their Carling Cup performances...

Once again, Le Gaffer's main selection problems lie in defence. Gallas is our only fit centre back, with Kolo Toure and Alexandre Song on duty in Africa and Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos injured. There's a chance that Senderos may be passed fit, but he sustained a broken nose in last week's game against Fulham, so he may have to play wearing some kind of face protection.

I think Senderos will play, but if not, it looks as if Wenger will have to choose between Gilberto and Justin Hoyte. I'd pick Hoyte as Gilberto just seems to have given up this season with his standard of play declining on a match by match basis.

In midfield the options are better and I can't see Arsene deviating from our strongest line-up: Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky.

And where do I start when it comes to upfront? Unless Le Boss has worked miracles since Tuesday, then I can't see him starting Emmanuel Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner together. Their on-field feud was the low point of the Tottenham trouncing and is the kind of spat that can lead to transfer requests being submitted.

Good football and results is the order of the day though, so I think Wenger will opt for Adebayor and Eduardo up front, while Bendtner will most likely start the game on the bench. If Wenger is looking to punish Ade-cool, we could see him starting from the sidelines, but as our most potent striker, that might be a mistake.

Finally, it's likely that we'll see Jens Lehmann in goal on Saturday. Mad Jens took charge between the posts against Burnley in the last round of the competition and Wenger's policy of sticking with the same goalkeeper in each tournament should mean that the German stopper gets a rare start.

It'll be interesting to hear your views on the starting line-up for Saturday's game, so feel free to share them using our comments section below. But ahead of any fresh injury news, here's who I'd pick for the FA Cup game:

Sagna Gallas Senderos Clichy
Hleb Fabregas Flamini Rosicky
Adebayor Eduardo

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Posted by Gordon Masson on January 24, 2008 1:26 PM in Debate of the Day| News| Players
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i wud rather have bendtner on d bench than ade.i was a strong advocate for gilberto but the guy seem to prove my opponents rite..he is a washout.
wenga really needs to buy a back up defence line ,even if its to pursue the other cups in contention. imagin gallas injured and kolo n eboue reeaching the cup of nations final in february?

Posted by: ninzamgoona | January 24, 2008 2:21 PM


Posted by: ja teager | January 25, 2008 10:44 AM


Posted by: mendi | January 25, 2008 1:34 PM

Almunia is pants, welcome back Lehmann! Aluminium played the cups so often and never won us anything. Lehmann is still a great goalkeeper and one of the most experienced worldwide, still German's no 1 and after all he won us the FA Cup the only time he actually played in a cup competition.
Almunia is a big game/final killer.

Posted by: Sven | January 25, 2008 3:20 PM

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