After a hugely depressing week in terms of Arsenal, we have potential light at the end of the tunnel. The light that we can see comes in the form of the Chelsea game this afternoon. This however may vanquish and instead turn into eternal darkness, the likes of which have never been seen. We will find ourselves living in the deepest depths of depression where Arsenal fans will inexplicably wish death on their own players (you should be ashamed of yourselves).
Wigan was an atrocious result. It was a real chance to cement our credentials for third and turn today’s game into a walk in the park. Following that defeat though, it has become anything but and is in fact; yet another "must win" game.
The news on the injury front (according to Arsenal.com) is not promising either. We have Arteta confirmed to be out for around 6-8 weeks which of course rules him out from playing any further part this season, Jack Wilshere will definitely be out for the remainder of the season along with Per Mertesacker and Frimpong. We also have Coquelin who will miss out today’s game due to lack of match fitness and Diaby though may feature, is unlikely to start.
If the injuries weren’t enough, then due to the Premier League rules on loaned players not playing against their parent clubs, we are also without Benayoun who has excelled in the big games this season.
That leaves a few dilemmas in the centre of the park as well as out on the left. I would imagine that Gervinho will come in on the left and Ramsey in the centre. In addition, the return of Koscienly from suspension means that we should have our first choice back four. Gibbs is available again from the get go and I would certainly put him in the team. I would have Chamberlain start today but given the past reluctance to play him in the past I am not holding my breath.
The line up I expect is:
Sagna Koscienly Vermaelen Gibbs
So all in all, a much depleted squad, a must win game against a Chelsea side who have finally decided they can be bothered to play. So what is this light I speak of?
Chelsea were pummelled for 90 minutes at the hands of Barcelona but somehow, against odds, managed to finish 1-0 to the good. This now will play some part in today’s game as Di Matteo will certainly have one eye on the return leg. I would imagine he will field a much changed line up to the one that played midweek.
Regardless of who plays for them or us I believe we have a team more than capable of winning. It will require us to bounce back and play the successful pressing game we have employed in most games recently. Let’s hope we can maintain a level on intensity we couldn’t against Wigan.
Come on you gunners! Let’s bring home third!