Morning all and a very happy Easter to all my Christian readers,
As I awake filled with nerves and trepidation about the gargantuan match that awaits us, I am least comforted in part by a host of Easter eggs to munch on. Now while they certainly don’t help the nerves, they do help rid my mouth of the taste of lots of alcohol.
As you may have read in the last few days that I believe this is a match we can afford to lose this afternoon, I really, really don’t want to. The truth of the matter is with Tottenham dropping points; we have a chance of re-establishing our hold over third place which is where we all want to finish now. It will be no easy task as we know but to move two points clear at this stage of the season will be hugely important in the race for third/fourth.
By way of team news today, there is not much news. The injuries remain the same with all of Coquelin (hamstring), Mertesacker (ankle), Frimpong (knee), Wilshere (ankle), out for the fixture today. There seems to be some confusion over the progress of Jack Wilshere’s return to first team football. It was widely speculated that Wilshere was due to play in a Friendly at the start of the week. This clearly didn’t happen and Wenger had this to say at his press conference:
“We try to keep the hope alive for him without taking too many risks. That means we adapt day to day to manage him, to improve his physical state and get him fit as quickly as we can without taking too big a risk, which means when he has pain we stop him. In the next four or five weeks we will know more — and the next three weeks will be decisive.”
So it is clear that we are not likely to see him yet but from his comments I infer he is not far off, it is more a matter of caution and match fitness. The concern may be the summer competitions and whether the England/Great Britain Manager will force a selection as it seems he is medically fit. Let’s hope logic prevails and he is not unnecessarily risked.
Well with the squad available I would imagine that we would stick to a team similar to that which has started the last few games. Despite a nightmare performance from the otherwise reliable Vermaelen, you can be sure he will retain his place to lead the line. The only area of contention would be the left attacking forward position where anybody’s guess is good as mine. Given the match is at home I would expect that it would be Gervinho to get the nod but don’t be surprised if it is Chamberlain as he has had some success against the Manchester Clubs this season, looking particularly impressive against them.
The team I expect is:
Sagna Koscienly Vermaelen Gibbs
In order to win this game it will require the work ethic and discipline in roles that we have shown in glimpses this season. It will require Song to not attempt the impossible through ball every time he gets it. Although it is fantastic to see when he pulls it off, I would say the defeat to QPR was largely in part due to Song’s indiscipline as it was Vermaelen’s unfortunate slips.
In other news there has been an interesting article in the Guardian by former Arsenal player, Sol Campbell. He speaks of the imminent departure of our Wenger’s long standing number 2; Pat Rice. With Pat Rice due to retire following the culmination of the season, many are wondering who our next Assistant Manager will be.
“I rule myself out as a contender for now and instead look to Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, both of whom I know would love to be offered such a role and, who knows, could replace Arsène whenever he does quit as manager and, ideally, takes up a role upstairs.
Sadly, I cannot see this happening. Arsène is a single-minded leader who does not like to have anyone around who could threaten his authority, either by challenging his decisions or by being the person that will eventually take his job. But hopefully he proves me wrong and makes such an appointment.”
Some interesting words from a person who clearly has a better idea than most, into the type of person Arsene Wenger is. He has affirmed a suspicion of many fans that Wenger’s authority is complete at the club and many of the people he has surrounded himself with are yes men. It will certainly be a busy summer, not only in transfers but also perhaps in a backroom staff shake-up. I can’t see either of those two mentioned taking the mantle of Assistant for different reasons. Bergkamp would not travel in a plane which would seriously hamper his chances and well Vieria seems to love his new role at the moment.
So either way, there are more important things for today; come on Arsenal! Let’s hope this holiday weekend is capped off in style.
Come on you Gunners!