Wolves v Arsenal preview
Wolves face a giant task of containing in-form Arsenal as the two sides clash at Molineux in the Premier League.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 07/11/09 11:31am
Wolves face a giant task of containing in-form Arsenal as the two sides clash at Molineux in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Gunners have scored 14 goals in their last four league outings and come into the game on the back of an impressive 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was delighted with his team's showing in Europe on Wednesday, and will be hoping his side can continue their fine attacking form when they take on a Wolves side that have conceded 18 goals in 11 matches.
With Manchester United and Chelsea locking horns at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, third-place Arsenal have the chance to make up some ground at the top of the table, and a win could potentially move them above United.
One man Wolves will do well to contain is Dutch striker Robin Van Persie, who has netted eight goals in the league so far this term and has been hailed by Wenger as the best forward in the Premier League.
The Gunners will again be without defender Gael Clichy (back) as Kieran Gibbs looks set to continue at left-back after performing well against AZ.
Striker Nicklas Bendtner pulled up in the 3-0 win over rivals Spurs last weekend with a groin injury and he is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks.
Left-back Armand Traore and forward Carlos Vela are also suffering from groin troubles and although they are close to fitness, neither will be included.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) and goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski (thigh) are also out, while Brazilian Denilson (back) and England forward Theo Walcott (knee) should resume training following the international break, but centre-back Johan Djourou (knee) remains absent.
Bacary Sagna could return at right-back after missing the game in midweek, with Emmanuel Eboue possibly dropping back down to the bench.
Wolves fought back to draw 2-2 with Stoke last weekend thanks to a second-half brace from Jody Craddock, and manager Mick McCarthy will be hoping his team can show the same fighting spirit when Arsenal travel to the Midlands.
However, the Molineux outfit are in desperate need of points having not won in the Premier League since their victory over Fulham in September, and are only avoiding a spot in the relegation places due to goal difference.
Striker Chris Iwelumo has been ruled out of the home clash after the Scottish international suffered a recurrence of a metatarsal problem during his full top-flight debut at Stoke - although there is no repeat of the close season fracture.
McCarthy has already confirmed that last season's top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake will return to the starting line-up against Arsene Wenger's side.
Blake was axed from the first XI for the trip to the Britannia Stadium despite scoring his first Premier League goal, albeit from the penalty spot, against Aston Villa a fortnight ago.
Possible starting XIs:
Wolves: Hennessey, Elokobi, Zuba, Berra, Craddock, Kightly, Castillo, Milijas, Henry, Ebanks-Blake, Doyle
Arsenal: Almunia, Gibbs, Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin, Nasri, Van Persie