Well, here we are, patiently waiting to be scared within an inch of our lives when Arsenal take the field against a robust Wolves side later tonight.
This is a side who went to Chelsea and offered the most threat of any visiting side in a long time. They are a team who were within a whisker of holding Man United last weekend. And they are stronger at home than away.
Everything points to this being a very tough match.
But the players should know that and pound for pound we have a far superior team. The difference will be if the Arsenal players are willing to match the attitude and work rate of an industrious Wolves side. Do that and our skill will overcome. Fail to match them with desire and we will be the ones returning to London with our tails between our legs, having handed yet another team our scalp.
Maybe that’s why Song’s been growing his hair – to share.
It’s a theory.
So, how will we line up? As at the weekend we head in to this match with our strongest possible team bar Vermaelen and a fully-fit Van Persie. It was a long before we were able to select from the same players two matches in a row, but this isn’t the first time this season which indicates that we are at least moving in the right direction with regards to injuries.
We still haven’t got one player who has started every single league match though so there is still work to be done.
I honestly can’t see us being that different from the team which performed so abjectly against Newcastle. Djourou will come in for the suspended Koscielny and Arshavin will probably get the nod to start due to his being dropped seemingly putting a rocket up his arse.
At the back we have no option but to play Squillaci and Clichy alongside Djourou, and after Eboue’s last outing, a game of this magnitude should go to Sagna who is far less likely to be off-form.
A game of this magnitude. How depressing is that?
In midfield I think we will see Song, Cesc, and Wilshere start again, with Arshavin and Nasri ahead of them and Chamakh up front. Some people have stressed a belief that we will start Bendtner ahead of Chamakh, but I can’t see that, He’s still not fully-fit and while Chamakh had a bad day at the office at the weekend, his hold-up play and ball control are more effective than the Big Dane’s (don’t take this as a slight, just as an older player being better at something than a younger player).
I fancy we will see Theo start on the bench, to be unleashed late in the second half when Wolves legs are tiring. Van Persie showed at the weekend that he is nowhere near ready for a start and I would even question the sense in having him on the bench when he is clearly not match fit when you could give that slot to the JET who is doing everything in his power to force Wenger to include him.
There is, of course, the possibility that Nasri will start on the bench given that he took a knock at the weekend, but with Rosicky available on the bench we also have options. And I haven’t even mentioned Denilson, Vela, Lansbury or Eastmond.
Ahh, strength and fitness in depth. Tis a wonderful thing.
Oh, goalkeeper, that will be Fabianski, Wenger has stood by him when he made worse errors than the one he produced on Sunday, it would do far too much damage to his newly-restored confidence levels to drop him on the back of that.
From what I’ve heard all week, from the manger, the captain, and the future of the club (Jack) they are all aware that top clubs do not lose three matches in a row. To lose two in a row to clubs which could have reasonably been said to be relegation-fodder before the season started is not acceptable.
They know that.
Let’s get it clear, we could go there and lose, we really could have ‘one of those days,’ and it will anger many, but as long as every player gives 100% and we pound the Wolves goal for 90 minutes, I’ll accept that. It will be hard, but I will accept it.
If we do that though, if every player gives his all, there is no way it will be ‘one of those days’ as we will simply be too good for Wolves.
This game will see the team freed from the shackles of the home crowd and their expectations. They will be roared on by our amazing away fans. Add that to the immense disappointment the players are reporting to feel in both their individual and team performances and that should be what we need to ensure we come away with all three points.
A few early goals would be nice, 90 minutes free of fear for us stuck at home watching on a crappy stream, but you all know that we’ll take an hour and a half of terror if we come away with a 1-0. We won’t like it, but we’ll take it.
In other news, Arsenal have moved quickly to squash the stupid rumours floating around that we’d be willing to send Ramsey out on loan to get game time. Why would we do that? He was starting to nail down a place as a first-team regular before he encountered Shawcross, to suggest that we would send him out on loan is just idiotic.
In a statement released on Arsenal.com, the manager said:
At the moment we are not talking about [a loan] at all. What is important is that he comes back into the group now and that he plays for a while with us.
He is making surprising progress with the team so no [we won’t loan him]. Though there might be some clubs who want a good player like him on loan.
At the end of the month he should be alright to play in the Reserves. That is the target.
By now I’m sure that you’ve heard that Vermaelen’s rust issue is far greater than first feared and as more time passes, the more early season rumours that he would be out until the new year seems to gain more credence. It seems strange, however, that a bunch of people on Twitter would have more of a clue about timeframe than the Arsenal medical staff, but on track records, Twitter is winning by a mile.
And that’s the lot for today. For those of you on Twitter, I shall see you there for the match, and for those of you not, I’ll see you here tomorrow. Let’s hope it’ll be a happy reunion. Three points and we will have pulled away from the Spuds, and have the possibility of closing on either Man United or Man City (or even both).
That would be a happy day, but I’ll take the points regardless of the other teams. I just want to see Arsenal winning again.
Interesting from Twitter:
RT @OptaJoe: 15 – Wolves have won none of the last 15 matches against Arsenal in all competitions and have lost the last 10 in a row. Prey.
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