Morning all, had a bit of a lie in this morning so apologies that the blog is a bit later than usual. You know you’re getting old when 9.30m constitutes a lie in eh?
Tomorrow we see Arsenal face Norwich in what is not only a must win game but also Pat Rice’s last home game as assistant manager and Arsene’s 900th game in charge of Arsenal. In that time he has won 519, drawn 204 and lost 176, winning three league titles and four FA Cups and two doubles. To put that in perspective, Sp*rs, in their entire history, have won two league titles, seven FA Cups and one double. Yes, Arsene is greater than all of Sp*rs combined. But seriously, who didn’t already know that?
Anyway, team news ahead of the game against Norwich and Djourou is available after picking up a foot injury (who even knew?) but Diaby has joined Arteta and Jack who are out for the rest of the season. This we already knew. Theo, who was out for the rest of the season could be back in training on Thursday or Friday but given that next weekend is the last weekend of the season and Arsenal are rubbish at actually knowing when players are fit, let’s say he’s gone as well. Apart from that it’s as you were for the game in Middle Earth last weekend.
Norwich currently lie in 14th place and aren’t really on the best run of form at the minute having only won one of their last six games and lost four. They’ve been losing at both halftime and full-time in their last three matches conceding at least two goals in five of their last six. On paper, it should be a straightforward Arsenal home win.
But games aren’t played on paper. That would be silly. Imagine the mess when it rained for a start. If Arsenal won all the games they were supposed to win on paper we probably wouldn’t find ourselves heading in to the penultimate game of the season just one point ahead of both Newcastle and Sp*rs. Complacency, so very frustrating throughout the rest of the season, can be fatal to us if we turn up tomorrow thinking the game is already won and with a handbrake anywhere in sight.
Speaking about the need to win, Sagna told Arsenal.com
“The fans have always been amazing to us, even when we had a bad start to the season they kept pushing us. They kept the belief and we have come back to third because they kept pushing us.
“Even against Milan, when we were four goals down [after the first leg] we came back and managed to score three times – against one of the best teams in Europe – because of the fans.
“[Beating Norwich] will be a way to thank everyone and bring them some happiness. But of course, overall we have to fight for third place and win both of our remaining games.”
He rightly points out that Norwich have beaten Sp*rs (at Shite Hart Lane) and are capable of giving us a hard game. With safety guaranteed for the Canaries and their form taking a bit of a dip, it is tempting to think they will just roll over for us. Teams rarely do and we have to make sure we want this. I mean REALLY want this. Playing ahead of everyone else we have a chance to really lay down a marker, to crush what little bit of hope those other two pretenders might have and also extend our goal difference as well, just in case. Of course, I will take a 1 nil win scored off Vermaelen’s arse in the 94th minute, but, you know, I’d rather we didn’t leave it that late if we can help it.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’m back being nervous again. Time for coffee I think, that settles nerves right?
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