Well, how did that go for you? Has the whole world and everything in it been put right with the turn of the new year?
Anyways, no time for resolutions or hangovers, we have a very tricky game away at Birmingham to concern ourselves with today so that’s what we should do.
Birmingham currently sit 17th in the table, but we shouldn’t let their lowly position fool us. For one thing, they are only one point behind Wigan, but apart from that, we saw what they are capable of last year when we played there, and if we needed any reminders, they conveniently did the same thing to Man United only a few days ago.
The fact is that Birmingham have only lost one of their nine games at home, drawing five and winning three. They concede less than a goal per game at home, but on the plus side they only score one per game which is slightly less than we like to concede on our travels (1.1).
We should see quite a few changes today as Wenger looks to rotate again. Regarding his rotation policy, Wenger said yesterday:
“Fabregas was suspended and it’s always the same when you rotate, if you keep five in and keep five fresh it never works. You change completely or you keep everybody completely in.”
That means that we should see the likes of Clichy, Djourou, Cesc, Jack, Song, Nasri, Theo, and Van Persie return to the starting line-up as we look to get our first points of the year on the board.
If you have been one of those wondering why Djourou never plays two matches in a row and weren’t that swayed by the argument that his knee needed to be protected, think again as Wenger said:
“Djourou was out for nine months with a big question mark about his knee so I am naturally a bit more protective.”
A big question mark? To me that implies that his career was at risk. Can we NOW please stop demanding he plays in every game until Arsenal deem he is able?
Anyway, I see us lining up exactly as we did against Chelsea:
Fabianski, Clichy, Djourou, Koscielny, Sagna (who made it in to @Optajoe’s team of the year – the only Arsenal player to do so), Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie.
Of course, there is always the chance that Arshavin could retain his starting place, but I can’t see it. We will hopefully be going for a high intensity approach and that only works if all ten outfield players are on the same page.
What is there to say about this match? We know about our history up there and it doesn’t make pleasant reading. The Eduardo tackle, the penalty that never was, the last minute Phillips equaliser. We know that we need to turn up with the same intentions as we squared up to Chelsea with, but will we?
We should do. The starting line-up which faced Chelsea contains more than a few match-winners as well as a few players who don’t actually like to lose points and are prepared to work that little bit harder to make sure we don’t. Press high up the pitch, give them no time on the ball, get a few goals up, and then keep the tempo up and we should be ok.
Don’t and we won’t.
It really is that simple. Some will tell you that we no longer have a room for error. It’s not quite that bad, but it’s not far from it.
RT @Orbinho: Birmingham have scored a 90th minute goal in 3 of their last 4 home games vs. Arsenal, meaning Arsenal dropped a total 5 points as a result.
That should be all we need to tell the team before kick-off. The team either want to try and win the title, or they don’t.
Told you it was simple.
(as usual I’ll be covering the game live on Twitter, so if you can’t get a stream, make sure you follow @LadyArse.
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