An exciting night of football awaits us with a fresh sense of promise displacing the doom and gloom of just a few weeks ago. With Everton slipping up and crumbling under pressure at the first time of asking, we find ourselves with our Champions League hopes very much in our own hands.
I wouldn’t say a win tonight confirms our Champions League place but it certainly cements our position as red hot favourites. We could find ourselves in a position where our position of 4th place is even confirmed before we play next Sunday. A win tonight would take us four points clear with two games to play. Everton host Manchester City on the Saturday; meaning a defeat for Everton would confirm our place in the top four.
It is therefore crucial that, despite the Everton slip up, we are absolutely fired up for this one tonight. No room for complacency. None what so ever. The players have had a long rest and as a result should be fresh and ready to rip apart a Newcastle team in dire form. The worry for me is we seem a team that, this season in particular, allows the opposition far more of the ball than ever before. We invite and almost welcome pressure, choosing to sit deep instead of pressing higher up the pitch. It has worked when our defence has been solid and has failed, spectacularly, when the defence has been fragile.
For that reason, as important as Ozil and Ramsey are, it is imperative that the Mertesacker and Koscienly axis are at the top of their game and provide that solid platform for Arsenal to build their game. This season has seen us start games slowly and I hope I am wrong but I expect us to do very much the same tonight. We will grow and allow Newcastle to play but pick our opportunities and use Ozil to create space for Ramsey to exploit.
Team news is generally good with our only absentees being Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, both of whom are nearing returns, and Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott. Considering these injuries I would assume that the team that played very well against Hull last weekend will be the exact same team we see tonight.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscienly Monreal
Cazorla Ozil Podolski
I expect this to be the team and I expect a win but this is Arsenal and we never like to make things easy.
Enjoy the game and hopefully a delightful win.
Come on you Gunners.