Arsenal travel to the Madejski Stadium in the Monday Night Football game looking to dispel the memory of League Cup disaster at Valley Parade. Of course the League Cup has already had a binding effect on these two sides already this season with Arsenal winning an by an incredible scoreline of 7-5 in Berkshire before being disposed of Bradford in the quarter-finals.
In terms of team news for Arsenal there is good news as Olivier Giroud is expected to be available after recovering from a back injury. Two more recent absentees Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny will have their respective calf and thigh problems assessed before kick-off before a decision is made on whether they feature.
Arsenal’s Boxing Day fixture with West Ham United islikely to be postponed after a decision by London Underground to go on strike the day after Christmas moved a step closer today. The club are waiting for the official confirmation and as soon as that is ratified the game will be postponed to a more suitable date. With The Emirates Stadium largely served by Tube stations such as Holloway Road, Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park it is believed to be in the best interest of Gunners fans and West Ham supporters if the London tie was called off. Last season a similar strike saw Arsenal push back their fixture with Wolves until a day later; which will be the likely course of action again on this occasion.
Demba Ba has hinted that a move to Arsenal would be a ‘dream’. Speaking to French television he made it clear he would be interested in a move to Arsenal while also personally pointing out his release clause and Arsenal’s current striking shortage. With Senegal not qualifying for the African Nations in South Africa Ba would be available and at a cut=price of around £7.5 million.
Arsenal are set to offer a young British quintet new long-term deals at the club which will keep them at The Emirates until 2018. Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and an already agreed deal with Carl Jenkinson are the players in question as Arsenal look to tie down their future players.
Talk of Thierry Henry returning to the club on loan appears to be premature. Gerard Houllier who us now the New York Red Bulls global advisor says there has been no contact between he and Wenger ahead of a potential move to The Emirates during the MLS off-season. He claimed it was not a comeback needed by either party.
What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal ahead of the game with Reading?
image: © ronnie macdonald