After a fantastic victory last week at the Bridge we find ourselves in a position where everyone is talking about a potential resurgence for the club. I know I have spoken about fickle fans in the past but the media is even worse. They were making us out to be strugglers for the top half of the table only a few weeks ago and now some crazy outlets even touting us as title contenders. Funny how things change in a few weeks, huh?
Anyway perhaps the midweek blip was an important reminder that we are not the Arsenal of old who can have quiet games and still win the game. Whilst we could have still won the game, we didn’t which highlights that the side still has some way to go before we can even mention us as contenders for the title.
What the midweek result highlighted as well, was the importance of Robin Van Persie. I know this is obvious and the world keeps saying it but it is absolutely crucial we can tie him down, and we must be doing anything in our powers to do so. If it means buy two world class players and break our wage structure, so be it! It will only be to the good of the club we love. There have been numerous reports that we are preparing big bids for both Gotze and Hazard, and whilst transfer speculation at this stage of the season is futile, it is clear to me that if we were to break the bank to get them not only would we acquire two world class players who would greatly improve the team, but we would more than likely convince one of the top 3 players in the world to sign for the club and prolong his career here. I know it is the stuff that dreams are made of and cannot for one minute see us signing both, even though we could get both and I am sure both would sign with the right contracts offered.
Either way that is a side story and all we can do until January and probably beyond is hope he can stay fit. We will come to the point where he will not be able to play games and we need to win them without him. I have no doubt we can do, but Chamakh is not really an answer and Park is still getting accustomed to the league. It is then that I get worried that Le Boss declared we have a wealth of options up top.
However on to pressing matters and that is the match at home against West Brom. I briefly highlighted that we are not the Arsenal of old that can stroll into games and win them and without the right commitment in every game we are by no means going to win, as evident midweek. We have to give it our all this afternoon and that is something we have failed to see against the “lesser sides” in the recent past. This is particularly true following a good result against a big team as was the case last year when we beat Chelsea in a thrilling game shortly after Christmas only to fail miserably in the following match against a rather average Wigan side. After we beat Barcelona in one of the most memorable nights at the Emirates, we followed it up by a timid and fairly pathetic performance against Leyton Orient. Finally, after beating United at home we followed it up by a really shocking display at Stoke Rugby Club and lost 3-1.
As you can see the signs are not great but let’s hope the blip midweek has taught them to not get complacent in the slightest. It will be a sad, sad day if today’s match is, in any way, shape or form resembling the travesty of an excuse for a performance we put in against this lot at home last year. Please don’t confuse this for negativity; I do not expect us to lose this game for one minute, in fact I am quite confident that today will be quite different to the pathetic performance last season. For one Almunia has been frozen out so there is no chance of the calamitous display by a sorry excuse for a professional footballer. Was that a bit harsh? Oh well, fuck him.
Today will be a great way to prove we are still a force and I expect us to be hungry, I expect us to attack and I expect us to score some goals. For all the doom and gloom surrounding us, it seems to have slipped peoples notice that we have only been outscored this season by Chelsea, and the two Manchester clubs. Of course this is in part due to the phenomenal RVP but also because we still are creating chances.
I have been more and more impressed with Gervinho of late and while he strikes me as a player that may occasionally frustrate, his direct style and ability to seemingly ghost past defenders at ease, is something that we are benefiting from at the moment. That coupled with Ramsey’s passing ability and Walcott’s pace we should have too much going forward for West Brom today.
I think the team at the top half of the pitch is pretty much picking itself at the moment but it is in defence where Wenger may be struggling to decide. For seemingly the first time this season it seems that there are options at the back and that is with both our first choice full backs out. With Vermaelan back, Mertesacker having a great game midweek alongside him it seems that there may be a temptation to stick with the clean sheet winning pair. That would seemingly be unfair on Koscienly who had, in my opinion his best performance in an Arsenal shirt against Chelsea last week. Of course we could accommodate all three with either Koscienly on the right or Vermaelan on the left, the latter my preference of the two. I feel that it would be strange to not play our full backs given we are at home and as Wenger mentioned theyare a fundamental cog to our attacking style.
Either way a dilemma of who to pick is far better than having nobody to pick. I expect at a complete guess really that Szczesny, Jenkinson, Vermaelan, Koscienly, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie will all play with Mertesacker getting a breather.
As mentioned already I expect a strong showing and expect a good home win. 3-0 with a Van Persie brace and a goal from elsewhere will do the job nicely. I think this team can, with hard work and commitment continue our march into the top four and grow from strength to strength!
Come on you gunners!
I will enjoy the match, celebrate a victory and go out for my birthday which is tomorrow so I think it will be unlikely I will post tomorrow as I will be dead to the world. Not that a lack of post will come as a surprise to many of my regular readers!
Until next time.