It's a massive day for both Arsenal and Manchester City today, if City win they keep the pressure on United who have what is usually a fiery game against Liverpool, if Arsenal win, we pick up a hugely important three points which puts us 3 behind Spurs with a game in hand. They drew yesterday against the woeful QPR.
Arsene Wenger senses it'll be an open game because both sides need to max out on points. I predict it'll be an open game because Arsenal are incapable of playing a disciplined tactical 90minutes. I don't think City will look at Arsenal and worry too much about being blown away by great football. Though they'll clearly be aware of what happened when Newcastle came to town.
Sadly, I don't think Wenger will look at City and put together a robust plan of action that addresses how we deal with their strengths.
The only fitness concern for Arsenal is Olivier Giroud. I hope he starts. He's good at holding up the ball and he can come deep to pick up the play. It's a shame he doesn't have more pace which would allow him to more effectively switch positions with Theo during the game. What the Frenchman needs to be today is clinical. We're unlikely to get a flurry of chances, he can't afford to miss 6 yard headers.
We also need to give him options in the box. He needs crosses to feed off, both high and low. The midfield are going to have to have a day when they click. That means playing with an aggressive decisiveness we've lacked in many games this year. Sometimes I worry the trio are playing for pass completion stats. Arteta is especially guilty of this. You need to take risks to win games, our three central guys have stopped doing that of late.
Up front I don't want to see static players. If Lukas is playing he needs to press and get amongst it. He also needs to make sure he drops back and covers at the back. Same for whoever is playing on the right. Sagna doesn't have the form to spend all game exposed.
As for the defence, let's have a mistake free ninety minutes for once, the boys all need to be aware of what's going on around them and they all need to communicate.
I don't have high hopes for today. A draw would do, but really, I'd like to see some of the managers deluded faith in his players repaid. I'm sick of going into these games with that dull feeling of inevitability. Arsenal are the team constantly looking to turn a corner on a motorway that's barricaded both sides. The fans need a big show today. The club needs a big show. The table needs some points added to it.
There are a million transfers this morning, but I'll chat about them at a later date... I have the feeling most are just agent talk. Milito to Arsenal? He was a veteran when Mourinho snapped him up!
Anyway, enjoy the game and I'll catch you all later!