Well. It’s here. Four weeks ago, when we hadn’t lost to QPR and Wigan, and Chelsea couldn’t buy a win, things seemed a lot more straightforward, but such is the nature of football that in the space of those four weeks we’ve dropped six points and they’ve managed to fluke a win over Barcelona. And fluke it they did. On another night they could have quite easily lost that game three or four nil, and to paraphrase what Cesc said before the game – when Arsenal played Chelsea you could be all over them and then lose to a Drogba goal.
Fortunately for us Drogba won’t be flinging himself around the Emirates like a rag doll in a hurricane today, he’s saving that special for Spain, so we get their £50 million ‘goal machine’ to contend with instead. I’d mock Torres, but he does have the talent to make me regret that, so instead I’m going to welcome back Kos and feel much more confident about the whole thing.
Of course, we’re without Arteta and we have, I believe, a zero per cent win rate without him playing. Stats can lie, however, and a lot of the games when he was missing we also had no defence to speak of, so it shouldn’t be taken as the ultimate sign of doom. It’s certainly far from ideal, but we can cope. Ramsey to replace him in the middle as he looks to play his way out of his current slump. We will also be without Yossi who is not able to play against his parent club, and while I think most of us would love to see Arsene start with The Ox, I’ve a funny feeling we will see Gervinho take that spot. Unless anything’s happened to him in training I fully expect Gibbs to replace Santos. So, my predicted line up would be Szcsesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Kos, Sagna, Song, Ramsey, Rosicky, Gervinho, Theo, RvP.
As mentioned, they’ll be without Drogba who I believe is suffering from dramaticitis, Luiz has obligations to fulfil on The Simpsons and Ivanovich is suspended. Apart from that I’m not sure who they will choose to rest as they keep one eye on their away leg against Barca and their (flukey) win was perhaps the best result we could have hoped for as it keeps them suitably distracted. There is mention that Essien could start and I know he isn’t the player he once was, but by feck, what a player he used to be. He still can bring that to the game.
Neither side can afford to lose this game really so that seems to set it up for a draw, which wouldn’t be the end of the world. With five points between us and fourth we simply cannot end today’s game being five points ahead while Sp*rs and Newcastle have two games in hand. Let’s keep it in our own hands eh? With only three left to play after this one, there really is no time for any more comebacks. We need to make sure that the handbrake is ripped off and thrown out the window before we kick off, and with Mike Dean as referee we certainly won’t be relying on any favours. Expect our record of not having received a penalty at home in the league for over a year to continue (given how much football Arsenal play in the opposition box this stat seems somewhat sinister).
In other news, I’m currently working on two new sites which I’m pretty excited about. One will be along, all being well, in the next few weeks, while the second will be in place for the start of new season. Keep an eye out for those, and don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging daily here.
And that’s your lot for now. I like being first up on a Saturday, unless we lose, then it makes the weekend a bit shit really.
Luckily that isn’t going to happen.
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