It is finally here. No, not the summer, or even the spring, but Arsenal. Nine long, boring days have passed and we finally get to watch them play. Of course, if you live in the UK, this means watching an illegal stream if you wish to watch them live. I’d pay you Premier League to be able to watch my team play in every match, I would, honest I would. You just don’t give me that option so unless I fancy moving to one of the hundreds of countries around the world where they CAN watch Arsenal play live I have to choose to do something illegal.  I’ll still watch the highlights shows (well, if we win I will) so don’t worry, your BBC money isn’t at risk, but thanks, all the same.

Dammit this day is going to be long if I’m ranting this early.

Anyway, team news and we haven’t lost anyone since our last match which is something I don’t get to write very often (I know, I know, I have hardly been blogging so I didn’t really get to write anything much at all). Not only have we not lost anyone, but our players have had a nice long rest and we’ve even been able to add Santos in to the mix. What is this madness?

Before this mini-break, as you all know, we were on a great run and it’s imperative that we keep that going tonight.  With Sp*rs playing Stoke who are always a tricky opponent and will hopefully want to prove a point after crashing out of the FA Cup and Chelsea playing Man City we are in a position where the team above and below us might drop points and we need to make sure we are able to take advantage of that.  Everton can be a tricky place to go, in fact, it’s more often tricky than not in my head. Six nils such as we witnessed a few seasons back are the exception not the rule but we can hope that they are suffering a bit of fatigue following their weekend’s cup exploits and with Moyes already showing against Liverpool that he is willing to rest first-teamers we can hope for a bit of a favour on that front.  But, even if he decides to go ‘full force’ we need to be up for it and able to take all three points.  You can’t rely on anyone in this league to do you a favour, unless you’re Liverpool or United, but it would be nice.

Vermaleen is carrying a bit of a knock after a kick to his calf but is fit to play, Santos is listed as ‘fit to start’, Squillaci is back in full training (hands up if you even knew he was injured) while Coquelin, Mertesacker, Wilshere and Frimpong make up our incredibly short injury list.

On the official site Wenger has been talking about how this year’s run-in feels different and I can’t argue there.  Instead of expecting a collapse I am hoping that we can truly kick on and grab third place, looking to climb the table rather than slide it makes a refreshing change.  I could moan about our poor start, about how if we’d got our stuff together sooner we could actually have put in a title challenge this year (I know! How mad would that have sounded two months ago!) but such is life and living with ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’ is the quickest route to madness.  All we can do now is use what happened in the summer and the start of the season as a lesson and learn from it. If we do that, then all that pain won’t be in vain.

In other news, Abou Diaby came through a reserves match yesterday, and even though he took a knock to his ankle he was able to play on for another 15 minutes. I know! I’m both shocked and delighted for him. Regular readers of this blog and those who follow me on Twitter will know that I am a massive fan of Diaby, a player who could have made a significant impact for us if it hadn’t been for that troglodyte Dan Smyth. Everytime he comes back from injury I hope ‘this is it’ and this time is no different.

And that is your lot from me. As usual, I’ll be on Twitter, alternating between LadyArse (for nonsense and me screaming at the game) and LadyArseLive (for actual constructive match reporting).  Join me if you can.

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