Let’s set the tone early on shall we:
This game feels eerily familiar to last season’s match against Tottenham. We were down in the dumps; besieged – just like we are now. We responded then, and we will take action now. If we do not, the players are not worthy of wearing the Arsenal crest. The game at Old Trafford was a letdown, as was Fulham, but it’s now time to atone for our sins and get this season up and running again.
Missing in Action:
Arsenal: Diaby (thigh), Rosicky (tendon), Gibbs (thigh). All are not back and won’t be ready to play in this fixture. But hey what’s new? These three are regularly out, and never come back when scheduled. I don’t know whether Arsene says it’s to get our hopes up, or they have in fact had set backs, but it happens far too often. When was the last time you can remember an Arsenal player coming back on schedule? Gervinho (ankle) is due back next week, but if I factor in the humidity and wind resistance, and X that by player softness, and + Arsene/medical team lying through their teeth…he should be back just in time for the African Cup of Nations.
Walcott (muscle), Szczesny (ankle), and Ox (hip) face fitness tests.
Tottenham: Dembele, Kaboul, Parker, and Assou-Ekotto are out. Walker, Lennon, and Defoe face fitness tests. I expect Walker will find it tough to get up for this one, but the other two are likely to play some part. Tottenham will be hoping Defoe is fit otherwise they are left with the goalless Adebayor up front.
A lot has been said this week about Arsene trying a different approach by using a 5-3-2 formation. However, I don’t buy into it: it will be business as usual this week with a 4-3-3 set-up. Although I would like to see something different and perhaps some different tactics thrown in the mix, I just don’t see it happening.
Jack slots back into the line-up this week having served a one match ban for a reckless albeit deserving tackle on Evra (whose a boy now Evra? huh? huh? huh?). I’d like to see Giroud continue up front because if Gallas is playing he is going to give him all sort of difficulties.
Walcott should continue where he left off last season against the spuds. Podolski could do with a rest having played midweek for Germany, but he won’t be. I’d really like to see Eisfeld, Arshavin, Gnabry, or Ox take his place because without Walker they could create all sorts of problems, and Podolski, while brilliant, won’t expose them for pace. Hopefully Szczesny returns in goal for this one. It’s his time to shine again!
Before our previous encounter we were 10 points adrift from Tottenham on the table and, had just been smashed by AC Milan, and beaten by Sunderland. A power shift in North London was being mooted by the media. Power Shift? Heavens to Betsy; no way is that happening anytime soon! The game got under way and before we knew it the score line read 0-2, thanks largely to a very fluky deflection over Szczesny’s head, and a Bale dive.
Luckily we turned it around because at that very moment Arsenal fans and blogs were going into a state of meltdown, and if it continued any further we would have experienced an Internet Chernobyl. Sagna got us back into the game with an emphatic header (the way he attacked the ball with fearless intent was thrilling), followed by a goal by Rosicky (rumblings around the club suggest he still exists. I’m not so sure, I hear he only visits during contract time), and a brace from Theo. The score ending up 4-2*. The win catapulted us into some good form while sending Tottenham into a nose dive. Happy days!
The highlights can be seen here (brilliant passionate commentary)
* all traces of RVP have been stricken from the record.
Form Guide: Arsenal: DDLWW Tottenham: LWLLW
We find ourselves going through a bit of a rough patch, whilst Tottenham have been inconsistent thus far. They do however possess the best away record in the league at the moment winning 3 of 5. AVB is struggling to win over the Spud faithful, but a win at the Emirates to go along with their win at Old Trafford will certainly get them chanting his name. I don’t know about you but this fixture doesn’t feel the same without the Wheeler Dealer at the helm of Tottenham. I did loathe him, but he was always good for a laugh, and I loved seeing him go into ‘twitch’ mode when his team were losing.
One to Watch:
*Temporary* Arsenal speedster Theo Walcott. Devoid of recognised fullbacks at Tottenham, Walcott has a real chance to smash this game wide open. Last season’s demolition saw him play a game of two halves, first half he was non-existent and copped it from a few supporters, second half he finished off with a brace. Theo likes a big game and undoubtedly will be up and about for this one also.
Young up and coming CB Steven Caulker is our opposition watch this week. At 20 years of age he looks like a real find for Tottenham. He really matured out on loan for Swansea last season; it’s a path I’d like to see followed by our young Spanish CB Miquel to speed up his development. Caulker scored midweek for England, and has scored twice recently for Tottenham, so he ought to be watched during set pieces as he brings an aerial threat with him.
Sanga vs Bale
Bale, the most overrated winger in football, today, lines up against perhaps the best RB in football; Bacary Sagna.
Two games against Inter Milan, alongside a few great games against lower opposition, do not make you a superstar! Well at least I think so anyway. Yes he is super quick, but what does he do that is any better than Theo? Nothing! Most teams tend to double up on Bale (the sort of player for which Arsene would play Eboue on the wing, in front of Sagna; in an effort to quell his influence), but with Assou-Ekotto out, Sagna should bomb forward as often as possible in an effort to make Bale track back (something he does not do well). Arsenal have a similar situation with Podolski when he plays without Gibbs; he is not as influential without a quality defender behind him. Yes Bale is quick, but so is Sagna. Not a problem here: Sagna will stop him quite easily.
This week’s finger goes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic! It was a wonderful goal no question, I’m just jealous it wasn’t an Arsenal player who did it! The audacity needed to try something like that let alone the skill, technique, and power needed to pull it off just amazes me. Ibra you are a great player but I still hate your guts for diving against us last season and playing a part in kicking us out of the Champions League…also get a haircut!
Pre-Match pat on the back:
This week it goes to young Corporal Jenks yet again. This time, for signing a new long term deal with us (yes I know long term deals mean nothing, just look at Fabregas etc). He has ‘Arsenal DNA’ and as young Jack said “would run through a wall for Arsenal, he loves the club that much”. Too bad others at the club don’t share/show that sort of passion presently.
Frimpong also deserves a mention for showing just how much he loves the club. Reports midweek suggested he would be sold in January, but he quickly tweeted that the stories were wide of the mark. He is likely to close a loan deal for the remainder of the season with either Ipswich (Mike McCarthy is now there manager, previously of Wolves) or Wolves (having spent a brief period there before his suffering a horrible knee injury). It’s what he needs to develop greater positional nous and experience; at the moment he is a touch too gung ho in his approach, and tends to chase the ball too often. His reaction to the loan was very mature, and he stated he wants to improve so that when he returns to the club he loves (Arsenal), he can fight for a position.
Jenks, Wilshere, and Yennaris…loyalty still exists!!!
I’m predicting a comfortable 2-0 victory. The game will start ferociously but after scoring early we will (need to for our confidence) control the game; scoring the second one in the second half, on the break as they push numbers forward. Time to jump start our season again and this is the right game to do it! The Arsenal fans will no doubt make the place shake, just like they did last time.
Good luck, be safe, enjoy the game whenever you are, and give as much sh*t as you possibly can to any Spud supporters you come across. WE are the pride of London, and YOU are forever in our shadows!
Grow a Mo for Movember
Written by: Oz Gunner.