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Wolves Preview + Club News & Clowny FA Decisions

Good day wherever you read from. Last night was proof that the established routine can be broken when ten-man Liverpool actually managed a win, more so shocking that the winning goal came courtesy of Andy should-rather-runway-model Carroll.

It’s the sort of scenario Wolverhampton Wanderers will (however absurd it may seem to the world) hope for, to break the established routine when we visit Molineux tonight in a Premier League encounter.

I’m always wary of stats when they’re in our favour and the ones for this fixture is an avalanche that’s heaped pitifully on Wolves. Just a point won in the seven matches manager Terry Connor has overseen so far to add to the club losing the last five matches at home to Arsenal in all competitions.

And while we have kept a clean sheet in three of our last four matches, our hosts have failed to keep one in 15 home matches. Then there’s our run of eight wins in nine league matches compared to Wolves’ quite appaling run of six consecutive league losses; the worst such run in the top flight in three decades.

Without the rest of the overwhelming stats, we should win this outright, yes? Sure. Same way the three points looked assured going into the QPR encounter. Coupled with the fact that Wolves held us to a 1-1 draw t the Ems earlier in the reverse fixture only makes tonight’s encounter potential banana skin for Arsenal.

In light of this, Wenger said “Believe me, they don’t know much better than you or me and the result of every game is just a consequence of your performance on the day.” adding that, “Nobody can really predict that (team performance) because your performance on the day depends on you, but also depends on the other team as well.”

Therefore the team must avoid complacency in our quest to open a five point cushion between us and the chasing pack in the race for the lucrative Champions League places, for which we occupy the final automatic qualifying spot.

Boss Arsène Wenger therefore cannot afford to toy about with the starting line-up though some changes will inevitably be made from the team that started against Man. City.

Possible line-up
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Ramsey, van Persie.

Johan Djourou will start thanks to Koscielny’s two-match ban for receiving his 10th yellow card against City, while Gibbs will likely make way for Santos after picking a slight knock on Sunday. And in attack, it is obvious we’d prefer the Ox started but… you just never know with the boss, could even start Gervinho for all we know after the ‘Eddy’ didn’t even make the bench on Sunday.

Club News
With Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin still on course in their recoveries, the big surprise is the big f**king German Mert4 apparently coming back from his ankle injury sooner than expected, much sooner that he’s expected to resume training later this week.

And in the reserves’ league, our January arrival from Borussia Dortmund Thomas Eisfeld yesterday evening scored the lone goal; his first for the club, as the Arsenal Reserves defeated the Newcastle Reserves in its penultimate match of the season.

Finally, the English FA, that just always have a way of reinventing themselves in the black book of world football following its acutely contrasting decisions on incidents involving Ivanovic, Wigan’s and Mario Balotelli, with the latter to only serve a ban for his red card without the addition of being charged and banned for his stamp on Alex Song’s knee on Sunday.

Consolation is in Song being available anyway and here’s to going a step closer to sealing third spot in the league with a much needed win tonight.

COYG!!!

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Arteta Earns Vital Win for Arsenal; Player Ratings

We deserved the win and for a long time it looked like we’d punish ourselves but Mikel Arteta’s long range beauty earned us a vital victory. Straight to the ratings then, where we’ve incorporated the highlights of the match that saw Balotelli get sent off.

Szczesny – 8
Had relatively little to do but was much assured in goal, tipping over a goal bound header and rushing out to clear when Balotelli was through on goal, the latter proving most crucial. Solid game.

Sagna – 7
Impressive defensive display from the Frenchman, handled Balotelli whenever the Italian ventured down our right side.

Vermaelen – 7.5
Very solid defending from the Verminator, making interceptions and going forward with the ball at times. Unfortunate to have kept out Robin van Persie’s goal bound header in the first half.

Koscielny – 7
Good game from the Frenchman too.

Gibbs – 4
Uncharacteristically poor today, didn’t impose himself and his substitution was inevitable.

Song – 6
Good game. Saw one of his trademark lobs to van Persie end up bouncing away from Man. City’s post. It did seem then we were destined to somehow not win this.

Arteta – 7.5
Cracking long range goal from the Spaniard when someone needed to take the bull by the horn. It was that or we’d rue all our missed chances.

Rosicky – 6
I feel he didn’t pull the strings as well as we know he could. He did get better as the game wore on.

Benayoun – 6
Great work rate shown by the Israeli, compensating for a somewhat flat performance.

Walcott – 3
The Theo we hate to see came out today. Clueless for 80 minutes though could have got a goal in the frenzied moment his shot came off the post (only for Vermaelen to miscue the rebound and Beayoun see his effort somehow cleared off the line by Lescott.)

Van Persie – 7
No goals in four games now though he had one (rightly) ruled out for offside and his two headers denied by Vermaelen and the post. He scores when he wants, do score soon enough RvP.

Substitutes
Santos – 6
Imposed his presence soon as he came on and added some bite to our attack.

Ramsey – 3
He could have squared to RvP in stoppage time but decided to try curl it in, wrong move.

Ox-Chamberlain – N/A

Most importantly, we’ve got the much needed win and put ourselves back in third on 61 points, two ahead of the sillywhites and five of Chelski and Newcastle United. For City, we’ve in essence ended their title hopes; you’re welcome Old Trafford.