Saturday, 14 January 2012

Arsenal vs Swansea preview: Team news, injury updates, transfer rumours dispelled and much more!

Morning all,

With the weekend upon us, I find myself in a rare situation these days. I have no work to do and have time on my hands. Whilst it is a blessing, I do feel a little eerie. I find myself unsure on what to do so I thought I would impart some nonsense on to my dwindling readers.

I am sure everyone is pretty sick to death with “that goal” on “that night”, but I certainly am not. I have never, in my life felt so happy and that is a strange, strange thing given the relative unimportance of the tie. I found myself in a similar euphoric state to the one I was in when we beat Barcelona at home last season. It was similar in ways, in terms of atmosphere and the party mood that went with it. I went to bed still unable to wipe the smile that had fixated itself on my face from the moment King Thierry took to the field and when I woke up; it was still there.

I have watched the goal countless times and one thing is clear; he still has that little special something. Now don’t get me wrong; I do not think that this goal represents a return to the prolific marksman of yesteryear, I am merely taking delight in a very special moment; one that will remain with me until everything is very wrinkly.

I do not expect him to start against Swansea tomorrow but I am 100% sure that Arsene Wenger is very, very tempted indeed. In fact his words suggest he may be leaning toward the prospect of him starting given the constant rhetoric and affirmations of Robin and Thierry being able to play together. Also added in the conference was that Henry was fit to start but not complete a game. I personally would rather Chamberlain given another opportunity in the left wing role. I more than expect he wont even feature and the little Russian will be given the nod to continue the frustration for all Arsenal fans everywhere.

For all the class Thierry showed, there was an equal measure of petulance and anger and whilst everyone is talking up the impact of his arrival, I wonder if whether when the pressures on and a misplaced pass from Ramsey/Song might result in a telling off, if they still agree. Again, do not get me wrong I am delighted he’s back and we certainly need him for the next two months given our lack of attacking options. I just feel that a team that has gelled so wonderfully together over the past few months, might be damaged slightly if Henry is at his worst.

But of course nobody wants to think about that, least of all me when instead I can just watch his 227th goal for Arsenal over and over again.

In other team news it seems as though, in addition to the mammoth list of full backs out; Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Santos, we can now add a makeshift left back in Coquelin who is expected to be out between 3 to 4 weeks. I really feel for the lad as he was starting to establish himself as quite the utility player as he never really looked out of sorts, regardless of where he played. We also are likely to be missing Vermaelan although the good news there is, he should be back for the United game. Per Mertesacker and Rosicky are both doubts as were out due to illness and haven’t trained with the squad until today, so it will be a case of match fitness. I expect Mertesacker will have to do something to get fit as I can’t bare to watch Squilacci for another 90 minutes ever again. And in addition we have Wilshire and Diaby out through lengthy injuries and of course the African Cup of Nations means we will be without Gervinho and some other shit footballer with really bad hair.

So with 12 potential first team absences we head into a very tough fixture with a team I have been particularly impressed with. I won’t call them condescending things like Arsenal Lite because like I just said, it’s condescending but I will say they have a similar appetite for good football. In the past this would be exactly the game I would be confident of winning. A lower opposition who wants to try to out pass us is bound to get a hammering but I no longer feel this way, mainly because we have changed the way we play slightly. In fact the last team that didn’t sit back and came at us playing positive football, we lost and were pegged back for an entire half. I am of course talking about Fulham here and whilst I appreciate other factors such as shit referees and the rest of it, our second half performance did expose that we still are uncomfortable being pressed high up the pitch and when teams have a go at us.

I expect Swansea to be similar to Fulham’s second half performance in many ways and it will be a tough, tough place to go. They are quite measly with giving away goals and that is one department we have struggled recently, failing to score more than 1 goal in our last four outings. Either way it is still a game we should be winning with the ambitions we have so let’s just leave it as it is a must win game.

I expect a team looking a little like this:


Djourou                       Koscienly                           Mertesacker                      Miquel

                                    Arteta                                   Song


Walcott                                                                                                           Arshavin


Come on you Gunners!

In other news Wenger has reiterated that he is not looking to make any major signings this transfer window, denying the mounting rumours that we are in to sign striker Suarez; no not the racist. He has also highlighted that with the lack of quality full backs sitting around twiddling thumbs, *looking at you Mr Bridge* it is increasingly unlikely that a loan signing will be made. Especially as Sagna, Gibbs and Jenkinson appear to be on the road to recovery and will be available sooner rather than later. It is predicted that Gibbs and sagna could be available in the next ten days and those of you rushing to the calender to check the united fixture, fear not "I got your back". Unfortunately being on the 22nd of this month, it would appear that this is likely to be too soon for both and we could be in for a fun second round with United.

Have a lovely weekend and hopefully much to celebrate tomorrow evening!


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