Saturday, 31 March 2012

QPR vs Arsenal Preview: Team News, Injury News and the return of Wilshere nearing

Morning all,

Working in West London as I do, has both it’s positives and it’s negatives. Unfortunately one of the downsides of working in this locality is that many of my colleagues are of the disgusting persuasion of being either Chelsea or QPR fans (of course not forgetting the vast majority who support a certain Manchester club). This has surprisingly meant I have had an annoying week of people being shockingly confident. They clearly know something I don’t as all I have seen is supreme mediocrity from a team littered with above average players playing well below average football.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is going to be a walk in the park. In fact, I think quite the opposite. I am actually quite worried as it comes at a time when we are at our best. Strange though it sounds, all good runs come to an end, especially when teams and fans start expecting victories. Let’s hope our new found confidence does not manifest itself into complacency as that will surely spell the end of our magnificent run.

I think we are more than capable of winning especially if we maintain the levels of pressing and work rate we have demonstrated in this run. That needs to continue perhaps even more so today given the way QPR managed to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the last 20 minutes against Liverpool. That was a great result from them and may have given them a renewed sense of belief and hope. Let’s not forget, that they are managed by Mark Hughes, who sets his teams up to be difficult to beat and has had some success against Arsenal sides in the past with these annoying tactics.

I believe that in addition to the high pressing demonstrated these past few weeks we also need to attack their full backs as that is their weak link in defence. For this reason I hope we play Oxlade-Chamberlain or Gervinho but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramsey plays.

Ramsey has come in for a lot of criticism this season from factions of the fans. Let me just make this clear, I think he is a fantastic player and an effective distributer of the ball. My only criticism is that he occasionally is slow on the turn but he seems to have a decent football brain and exceptional work rate. He is going to be an important player for Arsenal over the next few years.

On the injury front there is the news that Koscienly returns which is as welcome as an addition as any. Also despite Diaby being fit, he will not be risked as he felt a little bit of pain in yesterday’s training session according to Arsene Wenger. Therefore the only injuries remain to be (according to that of Coquelin (hamstring), Mertesacker (ankle), Wilshere (ankle), Frimpong (knee).

On the Wilshere front, it seems as though he is nearing a return and is in fact training. Wenger said:

 "The latest on Jack Wilshere is positive, but cautious. That means he is doing well in training and is getting stronger every week"

He is still some weeks off a return to first team action and I’d imagine that has as much to do with match fitness as it does with ensuring there is no risk of aggravating the ankle. I sincerely hope there are no further set backs as he has a job on his hands to get back into the Arsenal starting XI at the moment.

I expect the line up to be along the lines of:


Sagna                          Vermaelan                               Koscienly                    Gibbs

                                    Arteta                                      Song


    Walcott                                                                                                 Gervinho

The only area of contention is the position of our attacking left sided player. There could potentially be any one of Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain or Ramsey. I would be happy with any one of those and would expect with that line up, that we win. If we continue in our current form there can only be one winner. However we all know that football is not as simple as that.

With that I shall leave you.

Enjoy your day and here is hoping to an eighth straight victory for the one, the only; The Arsenal.


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