A diminshed Arsenal midfield take on Sam Allardyce

Add Mathieu Flamini to the list of no shows for Arsenal as he joins Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb, and Abou Diaby in the injured list. Flamini was superb in the Villa match having some real meaty blasts at goal.
Which means that the Gunners lack an established central midfielder with Diarra just about getting his feet wet. Gilberto looks like he is already envisioning spending summers in the Copacabana. I still think he should start ahead of Diarra as Arsenal’s record against Newcastle has been less than impressive and we need his experience to deal with a side desperate for a victory. Or Wenger might start both and also keep Eduardo and Adebayor up front in the 4-4-2.
Allardyce has long been something of a bogeyman for Arsenal while he was manager of Bolton where their physical style of play would literally knock off stride the flowing Arsenal game. He will probably do the same here too. However this is a different Arsenal side which takes very little guff. If they hold firm then they will have a number of opportunities against a porous defence which has cost Allardyce 24 goals.

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