Morning gooners. How are you feeling? Fired up, eh?
A couple of surprising results over the weekend makes tonight’s game (as Arsene would say) another cup final for us.
I could wax lyrical about how lucky we are to be in 4th place (considering how poor we’ve been) this season and about how a point tonight wouldn’t hurt us much. But to what end?
We have a chance to close in on the Tiny Tots today and we should grab it. Moreover Chelski won and we need to put some daylight between us and them. Why go for one when we can grab all 3 points.
I’ll digress a bit. World’s most powerful man, Robin Van Persie has been talking, probably not what you want to hear but he’s been speaking nonetheless. This time it’s about his faith in Arsenal’s ability to topple Spurs and finish 3rd. Said he:
“I have a strong feeling we can finish third. That would be quite some achievement, something to be proud of as a club. We want to continue that record because Arsenal needs the Champions League place…”
Encouraging words from the skipper you say? I could go further to tell you that I’m confident he’ll stay if we qualify for the UCL, but I won’t. Like you, I’ll wait for him to make that decision.
There’s the small talk of a game tonight though and Le Boss is wary of Newcastle’s play-acting. Wenger hopes the lads have learned the mistakes that crippled us in the last 2 games against them.
We’ve had three or so red cards in as many previous games against them and we should be looking to finish tonight’s game with 11 men, 12 if you include the roaring fans, and equally importantly, maximum points.
The team should not change much, Arteta returns to the starting XI, to complete the midfield with Song and Rosicky. I”ll start Gibbs if he can play. Allow Santos some time.
Give Walcott and Gervinho another shot on the wings and see if they can rip Newcastle to shreds. Replace the weak link with The Ox. Yes I wouldn’t start him.
Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns so you can expect their strongest side. But we are the Arsenal, we banished Spurs, L’pool and Milan in a week; what chance does a small side from the North East stand?
That’s it from me for now, I’ll be back with a review + player ratings of a big win I suppose. Robin needs goals too, let’s hope he gets them.
Just a quick note to every Sp*d around you: “objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear”.
Drop a Comment! Spread the Word! Watch the Game! Have Fun!
I partied all through last night but I can assure you that the title of this post is not alcohol-induced.
Yesterday’s draw against Fulham was more of one point gained than two points lost. Why jump the gun though? Allow me to take you through how events unfolded.
Arsene made two changes to the team that beat Dortmund at the Emirates, Djourou and Arshavin coming in for Koscielny and Gervinho. I’m sure we can now understand why Arshavin has not played a lot of games this season.
Fulham defended well from the start of the game. Senderos stuck to RVP and rarely gave him any sniff on goal. We had to use the wings and while Walcott was having a good game, Arshavin struggled.
We had a couple of good chances early in the game, both of which fell to Ramsey, another player who’s had better games. He forced a wonderful save from Schwarzer for the first but couldn’t hit the target for the second.
That was as close as we came in the first half. We were a tad slow and struggled to get into rhythm.
The half time break did not change much, Fulham defended, we could not break them down. We enjoyed possession though and looked more likely to go ahead than behind. Van Persie even had a shot cleared off the line by a defender!
Football is one helluva crazy game though. Danny Murphy’s delightful chip found Arne Riise in our box, and as he struggled to control the ball, Vermaelen’s interception ended at the back of our net!
We were now staring at a loss and needed something special on a day we have been quite flat. A sense of urgency returned to the game. We pushed players forward and Djourou almost scored from a corner only to be thwarted by Schwarzer.
Diaby, Gervinho, Chamakh came on for Ramsey, Mertesacker and Arshavin. And with just over ten minutes left, Walcott whipped in ANOTHER wonderful cross. It met the head of Vermaelen who took it past the goalkeeper.
We were back level, he had atoned for his mistake at the other end. I still ask myself how he got into that position.
The Arsenal players gave one final push for all 3 points, but it was not to be. One point was all we would get. In his post match interview, Arsene reckoned we showed “exceptional spirit” and I totally agree with him.
This was a game a “normal” team would have lost, but we dug deep and refused to accept defeat. And on a day when we faced a team that defended so deep, we could really do with Gervinho’s trickery and unpredictability from the start.
Arshavin looked really out of sorts, hardly did anything right. Ramsey kept going for difficult options and should have buried at least one of those chances. Diaby gave us a new dimension, good to have him back.
Is it a mere coincidence that the one game in which we did not start our first choice front three is the one we struggled to get a goal? It makes me wonder how we will cope when Gervinho leaves for the AFCON in January.
Chamakh also came on yesterday and for the umpteenth time, he did nothing of note! What happens if RVP isn’t also available in January? We’ll be stuck with a front three that comprises Walcott, Chamakh and Arshavin.
In all, it was not the best of performances but at least we still have our unbeaten run going. Man City visit on Tuesday and we will need to rotate. Don’t let me get ahead of myself again, a preview to that game will be up tomorrow.
Have a great Sunday wherever you read this from.
MUST WIN, no excuses, no complacency a la last season. Knowing quite well that a win guarantees us qualification and facing teams of lesser quality, I mean no disrespect. Its a match of two inform teams as both sides have gradually climbed their way into the top half of the table of their respective leagues. More so, its a duel of two inform players in Red (Hot) Robin & Young Super Mario(Gotze) who continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates.
Not much is happening here, Rosicky is ruled out with a thigh strain but perennial absentee Diaby is back to take his place in the squad. Djourou might come in for Mertesacker at RB and Kozzer moving back to CB. The rest of the team is going to remain unchanged and RVP is to lead the team out.
Possible Formation: Szczesny-Djourou-Kozzer-Vermaelen-Santos-Song-Arteta-Ramsey-Gervinho-RVP-Walcott
Prediction: Arsenal 3:1 Dortmund
Transfer News + Player News
When quizzed on Gotze and the rumors, here’s what Arsene had to say:
- “We have a big squad and we are after nobody. Gotze is a very good player and I can understand there is a lot of interest in him around Europe”
Typical Arsene, dodged the question. Knowing how Arsenal does its business, I’d say we’re definitely going for him. Let’s wait and see.
Szczesny says despite what is perceived as over confidence, he’s his own biggest critic and still has a long way to go before being considered great and first aim is to help Arsenal become big again.
Jack Wilshere has been chatty of late. He got infuriated by Spu*s fans saying they’re going for the title and made a wager saying if they finish ahead of Arsenal he’ll donate £3K to charity, if not, every spu*s fan following him donates a pound to his charity. What a legend.
From wherever you are, have a swell day. Qualification awaits. Cheers
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