Bore da gyfeillion Le Grove.
That’s a big fat welcome in the good language of Welsh. Why? Because Swansea is in Wales and I want to celebrate diversity.
I’m looking forward to this afternoons game because we know Swansea will play an open game. They’ll try and hit us on the wings with their pace and they’ll certainly leave gaps. According to the stats, Swansea are more efficient at the passing game than United, Liverpool and Spurs. They might not be as adventurous, but a super stat all the same, top 4 stuff from a newly promoted team is testament to the excellent vision of career manager Brendan Rodgers. Another interesting stat for all the muppets that slag of the Premier League and its technical ability is that the Premier League is more effiecient than La Liga with accurate passing in the final third according to Rafa Benitez and his data analysts.
Today is a prime game for Theo to showcase why he’s the best player in the universe and it might even be a good game to unleash the raw talents of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
My gut feeling says that Wenger will go for experience over the folly of youth. So I’m expecting him to start Theo and Arshavin out wide… and possibly Thierry through the middle. It feels like the sort of game we should be resting Robin, trouble is, outside Thierry, all we have is risk. That said, he did take Park Chu Young off in midweek, so maybe we’ll get to see the explosive marketing talents of the Asian dream. We know he can finish because we’ve seen him score before. Question is, will he be able to handle the rough and tumble of the Welsh?
In defence, things are still looking about as promising as the French credit rating, so the midfield will have to muck in at the back. The wingers will also have to offer as much cover as they can. JD returns to the side, he certainly doesn’t need an invitation to play like a rusty nail. At left back, I’m guessing we’ll opt for Miquel, who looks like Pires, Benny and Rosicky all rolled into one. Let’s be honest… he’d make a marvellous Gooner paternity special on the Jeremy Kyle Show… my money would be on Bobby, the man oozes reproduction.
The centre backs will be Koscielny and Mertesacker. I’m pretty sure those two will deal with Swansea. In midfield, Ramsey, Song and
Arteta will probably start again. I’m not sure when Arteta is going to land a rest… maybe when Diaby comes back? Which will be next season. Let’s hope he powers his way through another game… his experience in the middle is hugely underplayed at the moment.
Word has it that Arteta may have picked up an injury, so he’s rumoured to be out the line up. Who we slip into the middle now is a mystery. Kind of an ideal game for Frimpong. As he’s not there, things really do look precarious. Do we move JD from right back into the holding role and move Song forward. Do we move JD into the centre of defence, bring Yennaris in and play Koscielny in the middle of the park. Or do we slip Rosicky or Benyaoun into the middle and hope they give us the same stability Arteta does. I know our injuries are bad at the moment, but it’s not like we don’t have these same issues every year… we should have more players to call upon to deal with it. Instead, we’ll have to patch up the midfield with a damp, soggy plaster.
Wenger always tries to work through with the bare minimum and invariably, it always bites him on the arse. I’m reading the Alex Fynn book on making Arsenal a superclub. Great book, but reading the last 5 season back you end up bashing your head against whatever is nearest. It’s ground hog day over and over again with the same pitiful excuses. It kind of worked at the start, apparently Wenger couldn’t play Theo for the first year we signed him because we couldn’t afford the initial first appearance fee. We also had to defer Robin Van Persie’s transfer when we first went in for him because we were skint. However, from January 2008, we’ve been caked in cash for him to spend. We had £18million to go into market with in 2008… and it’s roughly been the same or higher since.
The manager is complaining about the transfer window again and the pressure it brings…
“Everybody becomes nervous in November until January. Then players maybe think, ‘If I don’t play then I will leave in January’. They are already less committed to the cause, it gives them an opening.
“We have gone from a period where we knew if we didn’t play we had to be committed to the club, had no other option but to fight for the place.
This is true, but it’s not something we haven’t been aware of since 2002. Moaning on about how hard it is just feels like deflection tactics again, because interestingly enough, we can’t find players in the summer either. Now, we’ve either got a manager who has totally lost the ability to identify players or we have a broken scouting network. We could blame the board, but they seemed to pull it together quite nicely when Wenger was under pressure. Remember as well, the board when it comes to transfers is Gazidis. The rest are obsolete or figure heads.
Either way, it’s looking bleak for January action. As for Saad Al Mukhaini… what the hell is that all about? Wenger now seems to be going to comical lengths to be seen as the wizard of value… You’d have better chance of finding a good left back over Hackney Marshes.
I think the key today is our finishing. The team isn’t performing in front of goal at the moment and confidence is shot to pieces. The longer missed chance go begging, the less likely we are to break the deadlock… especially with players like Gervinho and Chamakh (oh I jest) missing. I’m confident it won’t come to that, I’m hoping that the Leeds game will spark a bit of inspiration in the rest of the side and I’d like to think we’ve been working on finishing over the last week.
We have a chance to push further ahead of Liverpool after another draw from them and we have the chance to catch two points on Spurs (well played Frimpong). Tomorrow isn’t about excuses and bitching about the conspiracy of referees, complimenting Swansea on being a major force in the Premiership or blaming injuries for our woes. It’s time to take the season by the scruff of the neck and kick it up the Arsenal. At the end of the season, only one thing matters… that’s points. How you get them or lose them is totally irrelevant. So let’s push on and make sure we seize the day.
Just to keep you up to date… we’re on schedule to have a new site up and running by the end of the month. I think it’s looking smart, and hopefully you will too when I let you loose on the BETA version in a couple of weeks time. A nice touch is that next week, it looks like we’ll break a million approved comments before we leave this home. We’re 2400 away from the magic number! If the millionth comment is from a London based Grover who goes to the game, I’ll buy you a Peroni before a pre match. If you’re based abroad, I’ll give you a lovely cyber high five! A million in a little over 4 years… very exciting, so a big thanks to everyone who has contributed to that number!
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Right, enjoy your day, let’s be having those three points lads!
P.S. Take a look at Rambo’s appeal in the press for a missing man.