Very short match preview, as I am busy and the game starts in just two hours.
It is the third time we will meet the team surprise of the season, and no doubt this will be a tight one. The Saints really know how to defend and it will be hard to get into their box today. No team, other than the horrible Chavs perhaps, operate the double-DM pivot system better than Southampton, but they will miss the constantly very impressive, Wengeresque, Schneiderlin today. One of the disadvantages of having two DMs in the pivot is the potential lack of connection between defence and attack, and Schneiderlin plays a very important role in this.
Against the Chavs the Saints managed to keep their opponents out of their box, allowing only one shot on goal in the whole match. At the end they tired though, and had their opponents been sharper when they finally penetrated the Saints’ box, they could have taken all three points. They always have a threat going forward from both full backs and wingers, and we have to play disciplined today if we want to go home with a result.
A win will be hard, very hard, given the quality of the opposition and the tired legs of those who will have to create the magic (Santi, Alexis, Welbeck, OX, the full backs?).
It looks like Wenger will not battle against the Saints with his very own god of speed, Theo. It has all become very precarious with regards to Theo’s return to the team, but this is just the sort of game we need him in. Our senior players need a lift: some fresh and dynamic support and that is just what Theo would offer. Let’s hope we will see him at least come off the bench: time to jump in the deep end TW14!
Luckily, we can field a reasonably fresh and complete back-five today. It is key though that we give them the right support and another stint of junior and senior French duo of CoqMini in front of the back-four is highly likely, and preferable imo. Can Cazorla do another battling performance in the hole and are Danny, Alexis and Alex still capable of squeezing another ninety minutes out of their tired legs? Will Rosicky add freshness? We will see. I reckon Wenger will go for his strongest available (and fittest) team and not worry about the FA cup game yet, as this is a very important game to not lose, or, of course ideally, to win.
The mind says a hard fought draw with none or two goals, but the heart is hoping for more. Both teams have had a few good games in a row and confidence is starting to return…. It is not just three – or indeed six – points up for grabs today; the even bigger reward of further/increasing momentum is at stake as well. Can we do it?
This is the predicted team (am pretty sure though I wont get them all correct today):
Ox might well play instead of Rosicky or Le Coq, and Welbeck might not start due to fitness, in which case Alexis could play up top…. Let’s wait and see.
Come You Rip Roaring Gunners – Let the Cannon Roar!
Written by: TotalArsenal