Recently, it has felt a bit like our season has lost its intensity, after an interlull and games being played only once a week. Luckily, this will change in the coming week with three games in seven days: Norwich and Everton at home and Fulham away. We all know Arsenal cannot afford to drop points if we want to get in front of both the Spuds and Chavs, and we have a golden opportunity to put significant pressure on both of them by winning our next two fixtures. But it won’t be easy.
First up is Norwich and it is time for revenge. I remember our away fixture really well, as I was at the game. Arsenal were disjointed and lacked focus, and after a good run of games, it was a big disappointment that we let them beat us so easily (1-0). Luckily, we have learned and moved on from those sorts of performances as evidenced by our recent cool and professional away wins at Bayern, Swansea and WBA.
Norwich have been in free-fall recently and find themselves only four points from the dreaded bottom three; and they will be keen to start gathering much needed points again. With home games against Aston Villa, Reading and West Brom, they will have better opportunities to both gather points and give their direct opposition a bloody nose – I am sure the Norwich fans would not mind at all to beat a certain manager at Villa – and so they are likely to approach our game without too much expectations, and therefore tension.
We shall see whether this is good for Arsenal or not, but key is of course to concentrate on the way we play tomorrow: we need focus, a high tempo from the start and throughout the game, and take our chances as soon as possible. Nothing new there!
So, how will Arsenal line-up tomorrow?
No Mertesacker, so we are likely to see Koz and TV in the middle. On the right, we probably see Sagna, and I am going for Gibbs on the left for this game, as I expect the Pod to start on the left tomorrow, and one of our strongest weapons this season has been the Gibbs-Pod combo on the left wing. More about this in a bit. I also reckon Wenger will stick with Fabianski between the sticks.
It will be interesting to see how Arsenal will cope without Mertesacker organising the defence, but hopefully we will dominate the game mostly in the Norwich half of the pitch.
I expect us to play with Arteta and Ramsey in the double-pivot, and as Rosicky is not 100% fit, I am going for Cazorla in the hole tomorrow; as this would also allow Wenger to reintroduce the Pod on the left. Jack is apparently close to being fully fit again and will probably start on the bench; maybe coming on for Cazorla or Ramsey for the last 20 minutes of the game or so.
I reckon Giroud up-front is a certainty – there is little chance Wenger will surprise us all with either the Pod or even Theo or the Gerv in that position – and on the wings he will have to start the in-form Gervinho; our only specialised, or classical, winger. Theo will probably start on the bench and, like Jack, might play 20 minutes towards the end.
We all know our biggest risks are complacency and thinking too much ahead to our crunch game against Everton on Tuesday. Let’s hope the boys continue their impressive recent run of games, focus hard and finish the Canaries off professionally.
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!
Written by: TotalArsenal.