Firstly to the good news, Cameroon have lost their first match at the ACN to the mighty Gabon, meaning that if Cameroon lose to Zambia in their second game and Tunisia draw with Gabon, then Alex Song will be coming home early, that's what I'm hoping anyway.
Song is so important to us, not only because the lad has been playing so well, but also because we have so little defensive cover in the centre of our midfield. This has been emphasised yet again going into the Bolton away game with both Denilson and Ramsey out, leaving us very short of options in the centre of the park. I can't get very excited over signing another teenager, very few of these guys will ever make it through to our first team as regulars, it's more a business of making money from developing them and selling them on at a later date.
We have plenty of attacking options in this area, even with these injuries, the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin, Vela, Rosicky and Merida can all do a job in a more attacking midfield role. The problem is that other than Diaby, we have no one who can defend, no one with some physical presence, no one with aerial power. We have some talented kids, but they don't appear quite yet ready for big Premiership games like this, the likes of Eastmond, JET, Coquelin, Frimpong et al need more time.
Bolton have the worst defensive record at home in the league, we have the best away scoring record, if only life were that simple. With a new manager at the helm and the fact that we haven't kept an away clean sheet in 10 Premiership games, it is easy to see why this game is far from a guaranteed three points. Bolton will try to press us and give us no time on the ball in the midfield, Muamba and Taylor will be important men for them.
The way to win games like this is to soak up the opposition's pressure and kill them on the counter with pace. The problem is that we are not great at soaking up pressure without conceding, we tend to sit high up the pitch with a lot of possession and then get hit on the break ourselves. I'd play Eduardo up front in the middle as he's our only recognised striker, I'd play Vela on the left of the front three as he can gives us some pace and width, I'd stick Arshavin on the right but he can float to a degree, then I'd have a midfield three of Nasri, Cesc and Diaby holding. Come on you Gunners, it is this kind of game that will test whether we can really challenge this year.