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Arsenal Link Roundup for Thursday, December 23

Morning everyone.With the match against Stoke cancelled, there's not a lot to talk about, but let's dive into the news out there.

Mario Balotelli takes a swipe at Jack Wilshere while claiming only Lionel Messi is better. Is that the Balotelli who scores 2 goals and gets sent off or the Balotelli who has a strop when subbed off?

To his credit, Wilshere responded nicely; he also talks about his new defensive role, saying

“It helps that I can work on defensive things as well as my attacking game. This year I’ve become, if not a holding player as such because I still like to get forward, more aware of the defensive aspect.

“Alex and I both know how it works and it doesn’t even need that much talking. If I go upfield, Alex is clever enough to see that he needs to stay and vice versa – if he goes I can see that I need to hold. And the centre-backs help us as well, they’re always talking because they can see what is happening in front of them. 

Interesting, and looking back to what I said about Alex Song and playing with Jack Wilshere, I think having Song move forward and have Wilshere hold is the wrong idea. 

Marouane Chamakh wants to be Arsenal's Didier Drogba, and also says he's at the club of his life. 

Looking ahead to Monday's game, Abou Diaby and Lukasz Fabianski are both back, while Kieran Gibbs should return early in January. Thomas Vermaelen, on the other hand, is out until at least late January, and you really have to wonder whether Wenger will buy a defender or leave it too late. If we do buy a defender, who do you think Arsenal should buy?

Finally, I hope everyone has a happy holiday, and we'll see you for the build-up to the Chelsea game, and of course, the gamethread.