Wet, windy and cold. Proper footballing weather outside today. Not for the feint hearted. Fulham come to town today. Well, they don’t really come to town, it’s only a few miles. Will they fly? Depends how busy the trains are I suppose. Will they come with a tactical master plan? Of course they will.., what will that be? Listen on my friends… listen on.
Fulham will have watched Schalke in midweek and seen exactly how they played. The don’t have he resource to go at us quite like the Germans did, but they’ll know Thomas Vermalen is a shaky mess and they’ll also have noticed the rest of the defence are still quite alien to each other. Expect them to put a lot of pressure on the left hand side and expect lots of high balls into the box. I’d imagine Berbatov will be hanging off the last man, in the hope our offside trap isn’t sprung in a flat line. United and Schalke both had a lot of luck in the department.
There’s no quick win solution to this one. It took George Graham years to drill his defence to perfection, Steve Bould has had a few months. The defence have to get back to clean sheet ways today. A home match should suit us.
Wenger has been speaking about all manner of things in quite a franc manner. The issue of captaincy was flagged, he thinks the pressure of being the best player on the pitch has adversely affected the Belgian. I can’t agree, I think the sharper light shined on his game has made it glaringly obvious he’s a flawed defender. Performances were poor last year. He shouldn’t have been given the armband until he was ready enough mentally not to be effected by pressure in that way. That’s why Arteta or Mertesacker would have made more sense. Older, wiser and more consistent.
Stil, it is what it is. I love him as a person and a fighter. But he needs to fight his way out of the dark space he’s found himself in mentally, sadly for Arsenal fans, there’s no magic switch for that. It could come from an amazing tackle, it could come from a goal or he could just work out how to deal with his game after a good nights sleep.
We need change fast. The last person you need to be a calamitous passenger in your team is the man you’re asking to lead it.
Today’s backline should look the same as the one we played in midweek. Koscielny and Mertesacker through the middle with Sagna and Vermaelen flanking them. Rumours are that Chezzer might drop back into the number one role. That can’t come soon enough. I hope a reserve keeper is on the shopping list this January.
Midfield will see Rambo back in the mix. Why this has to happen is a mystery. It will though. Wenger is more predictable than an Ivan Gazidis AGM speech. I’d be giving Chamberlain a chance. He had an exceptional game against Milan in the centre, he’s fast, has better vision and passing efficiency and most importantly… we know what Ramsey offers and form wise it’s not deserving of constant starts. Reward good performances. Not perceived potential. The latter is what we did with Alex Song… and look at how we were rewarded there.
Up front, it’ll be Podolski, Giroud and Walcott. Wenger has spoken about the Germans lack of form and thinks he’ll come good (this same piece was on Arsenal.com last year but with Gervinho as the central focus). I’m sure he will too… I’m just second guessing whether that will be out wide? The most direct and clinical striker we have in the team is being adapted as a wide man. The second most clinical is facing the same fate. Really odd. Still, Giroud found the net in the week, he’s another adapting and he’s another I have faith in. That said, I believed in the Danish ego…
We need to play with a bit of guts today. It won’t be easy, it never is… but the fans do not deserve another dross performance. Far too much negativity has set into the squad of late. They need to play their pass and move game, they need to be expressive and they need to take a chance when presented with one. When you’re down on your luck, no one gambles. When no one gambles, responsibility for making things happen becomes confused which ends in a stagnant attack. We need some big performances from our big players… If that happens, the points will follow.
If you’re at the game today, make some noise. If things go badly, I really don’t think breaking out into negative songs is the way forward until the game is over. Nothing can change until January, we need to help the team pull through this… home should be where the players feel supported. Most of the issues we’re suffering come from bad management… That’s not the players fault. They’re not blameless, I just feel for them.
Anyway, enjoy the game, see you there!