Today sees the return leg of the Arsenal-ManUre game, the immediate meeting between these 2 teams following what happened at Old Trafford a few months ago. Since then, things have taken a turn for the better although we have lost 2 straight league matches already. We should not overlook the positives though and a look at that squad that day vs what might be put out today should sufficiently assure gooners that today’s result wouldn’t really be a foregone conclusion.
August 28, Before our end of transfer window signings, the squad was:
Szczesny, Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Traore, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott, Arshavin, Rvp.
And this was because of various injuries and suspensions.
With the exceptions of Szczsny, Coquelin and Robin, the whole team was particularly woeful, with Djourou being the worst of the lot. Since that game, we’ve had four (excluding Henry) more new signings (although only Mertesacker looks to be the only new guy starting today) and a lot more injuries, but I daresay today’s squad would be more competent than what we had.
My predicted line-up for tonight:
Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Ramsey, Rosicky (?), Walcott, Arshavin and RVP.
With the exception of Rosicky, I think the team is fairly set and it is sad that Wenger’s persistence at playing Arshavin is hurting the team more than it helps Andrey. Oxlade-Chamberlain would do a much better job at playing on the flank and working whoever is blocking him (be it Rafael or Evra), but it is something I have no control over.
The loss of Arteta could factor out to be a very huge loss and the way we have missed him in the past 2 or 3 weeks have been telling. While his assists and goal records hasn’t exactly been stellar, the statistics speak otherwise, telling the story of a midfield lynchpin that keeps possession and distributes the ball well. With his maturity, he has allowed Ramsey to (sorta) bloom due to his complementing style of sitting back if Ramsey’s at the front and pushing upwards if Ramsey is caught short. The current injury stricken squad has no replacement for such a player and our best option is Rosicky, whom we are hoping produces one of his rare good performances.
On the bench, there’s the Ox, Benayoun, Miquel and hopefully, an extremely doubtful Thierry Henry. The injuries have been piling up and it always blows to think of what could have been. It is however, not an excuse because ManUre has had their fair share of injury worries and they are still doing well.
With all that said and done, it is of course not impossible that we might emerge with all 3 points today, which I would emphasize is important to us, seeing that our closest rivals all dropped points last night. Our squad, even with injuries and even with the Mike Dean refereeing tonight is more than a match for them ManUres and victory is undoubtedly what Arsene will be looking at, because
“As ever,It just depends on how well we play on the day.”
Meanwhile, in the early kickoff today, another top of the table clash sees Citeh taking on the spuds. I wouldn’t begrudge a 10-0 Citeh victory but a 1-0 Citeh victory where De Jong breaks at least 5 pairs of lily white legs would do as well.
C’MON YOU GOONERS!!!