The annual local spat is upon us

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Oh, the luxury of choice.

With only Eduardo and Rosicky – the two pillars of the treatment room – currently unavailable, Wenger has some decisions to make for tonight’s game against bottom-placed Totts.

No bigger decision to make than in the oft-rotated centre-back pairing if you ask me. In fact, we’ve now had four centre-half pairings in nine league games – Gallas-Toure for the most part, but also Gallas-Djourou, Gallas-Silvestre and Silvestre-Toure. The only dropped points, 8 in total, have come with the Gallas-Toure pairing, but then they have played six of the nine league games together. Incidentally, if you add Champions League games into that equation than we’ve had five centre-back pairings – Song and Silvestre played together in Turkey. I think, anyway, that I have made my point – whatever it might be.

Then there’s the midfield. Denilson has done alright – not spectacularly well but not desperately badly either – and Diaby is probably nearest to taking his place. Song, bless him, is in about his ninth position of the season and looks nothing more than a backup in all of them. Ramsey is not yet trusted there and Eboue is a central afterthought.

Adebayor, rested for the first 65 minutes on Sunday, was the cataylst for our win will surely start alongside van Persie.

Eboue, who has improved, could well find himself on the bench leaving us with Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri and Denilson/Diaby in the middle. Naturally, with Wenger promising “We will rotate a bit because we play many, many games at the moment,” we could be surprised with the selection.

I’m not so sure though – I think Wenger will go for his strongest side. We need to build on our three straight wins, and beating Spuds could give us a decent head of steam as we head towards our first top-four test of the season on 8th November.

I’m well up for this one and the players should be too. Although the Totterers have had a miserable start to the season and have been the butt of some quite fabulous jokes, they are our bitter rivals and have a new manager – something that cannot be discounted. I vaguely recall Ron Atkinson taking over about five struggling clubs moments before those clubs were due to play us – I never did know whether it was merely a quirk of the fixture computer or something more premeditated was afoot – and getting the required result so we’ve got to be wary of that.

With any luck the snow will have thought better of it and retreated for a few months. Snow in October! Honestly!

Finally – great news about TA taking over at Pompey. I must say, following his inglorious first outing as a manager at Wycombe I did wonder whether he would make it as a top manager, but whatever the reason for it not working out there, he’s built up his coaching knowledge sensibly since then with stints in Europe learning the ropes and two years as assistant at Pompey. I really hope he makes and, who knows, if he proves himself there, might he one day make an Arsenal return? We shall see but I wish Mr Arsenal, my all-time favourite Arsenal player, all the best. More on Big Tone here.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.