These were the questions going through my mind whilst thinking about our imminent encounter with The Royals:
- Can we make it 12/12 wins against Reading?
- Will it be another goal-fest (19 goals between the teams already this season)?!
- Can we maintain momentum in chasing down the Spuds and Chavs?
- Can Ramsey fill the hole left by Jack’s and Diaby’s absences?
- Will Ox or Gervinho start tomorrow?
- How tired will our defenders be and will we play with the same ‘back-five’?
- Will our strikers be hungry or rusty?
Proper football is back and boy have we missed it. Reading’s brand new manager, Nigel Adkins, will have wished for an easier fixture than playing us away as his first game in charge, but on the other hand, expectations will be low and that can only suit him right now. Any game after an interlull cannot be underestimated though, and despite the fact that we won all eleven previous matches against the Royals, and have already scored twelve goals against them this season, it will not be a walk in the park tomorrow.
Our attackers – Ox, Pod, Giroud, Gervinho – have been rested mid-week, with only Giroud playing literally a couple of minutes against Spain. I reckon this is a major bonus for us, as they will be fresh. However, there is a risk they will be a bit rusty tomorrow; especially Podolski has not played much recently.
I expect Giroud to start up-front with Podolski on the left, in his familiar position. As Theo is out, the big question is whether Gervinho or Ox will play on the right wing tomorrow. Gervinho’s last game was against Ivory Coast against Gambia on 23rd of March, so he should be well rested by now. Ox’s last game was also more than a week ago, so Wenger will have to make a choice tomorrow, and I reckon it will be Ox who will get the nod. Gervinho could be used as super-sub again, as he can play in all three positions up-front (although he is at his best on the wing).
With injuries to Wilshere and Diaby, our midfield will have to be chosen from Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky and Cazorla. Rosicky played a full game against Armenia (away) on Tuesday and is unlikely to start again tomorrow. Just like Gervinho, he is a good substitute to have on the bench. It is almost a given that the well-rested Arteta and Cazorla (did not play midweek) will start, and as Ramsey is ahead of Coquelin, and also did not play mid-week due to suspension, I reckon our three in midfield will be: Arteta and Ramsey in the double-pivot and Cazorla ‘in the hole’. Again, Coquelin is a fine player to have on the bench tomorrow.
The back-five – including goalie – is likely to remain unchanged, although Sagna is fit again and could start instead of Jenkinson. But I reckon the same back-five that played against Swansea and Bayern will start again against Reading; even though, Monreal, Koscielny and Mertesacker all played a full game on Tuesday. For a good defensive performance, consistency is king, and so it would be unwise to break up a ‘winning’ back-five right now.
Predicted line-up against Reading:
Let’s hope the boys are fully focussed and take their chances when they arise, and that our defenders are not put under too much pressure tomorrow. We need the full three points, so we can put maximum pressure on the Spuds and the Chavs in the race for a top-four finish. They both have tricky, post-interlull away fixtures against Swansea and Southampton respectively, and this is a great opportunity to let them have a mighty old sniff of our burning gunpowder!
Look behind you Chavs and Spuds, the Gunners are aiming for you! hahaha 🙂
Come on You Rip-Roaring Gunners!
Written by: TotalArsenal