It’s Tuesday night soccer day for Arsenal. We host Everton in a Champions League run in special. The Toffees sit on 55 points. 4 points behind us, which is a very close figure. They’re right in the mix, Moyes reckons the chances are as slim as 15%. I’d say they’re probably a bit higher. They’ve been playing well lately and they took 3 points off City a few weeks ago. I always feel relatively comfortable against them at home, today might be a bit different.
A draw wont do for either team. Arsenal need to continue the momentum and Everton need to catch up points as there aren’t many games left to play. Hopefully we’ll see some end to end stuff.
The team news for us is a real mixed bag. On the positive side of things, Rosicky returns to the fold. For me, he needs to go straight back into the side and we need to put Jack on the bench. Simple observations concludes that Arteta and Ramsey offer us more defensive balance. The pair have been impressive over the past few weeks. We need to have a solid midfield this evening. Everton have plenty of players who can ride rough-shod over us in the final third if we don’t keep things tight. Wilshere doesn’t have the fitness at the moment and he doesn’t have the form to make an impact the same way he might have a few months ago. Even Jack said as much.
‘I know it was only six weeks, but you still lose your match sharpness and it takes a few games to come’
The front three is going to pose some difficult decisions for Arsene Wenger. Gervinho had a pretty poor game against Norwich. His composure was poor and it looked like his confidence had taken a tanking again. Podolski looked sharp and fit when he came on, plus he managed a goal. But equally, Chamberlain and Theo Walcott caused problems. There’s plenty to choose from. I think I’d opt for a front three of Theo, Giroud and Podolski. We need to take care of the game as early as we can. We also need Giroud to have a second half performance like he did at the weekend. Wenger’s comments were pretty brutal…
“I think he had a very, very average first half and a very, very positive and influential second half,”
“He was much more in the game in the second half. He looked in the first half like he was not on the move when he got the ball. In the second half he was much more mobile and that made a difference.”
Wenger also hinted at having one less striker to purchase this summer. He’s working on Podolski as a middle man. The position he mostly played the season before he joined us.
‘After that, we won at Swansea…sometimes you have periods like that and I think he can play as a central striker as well.’
‘I work a lot with him as a central striker at the moment. He is a quality player and when he comes on you can see that straight away. You don’t get 100 caps by luck.’
Indeed you don’t. I just hope we’re not lining up next season with Theo, Giroud and Podolski as our seasons striking options. That won’t be progress. That’ll be disappointing.
One concern for this evening is the goalkeeper. He might be out with bruised ribs. I mean seriously, what is that all about? He just lands a chance in the first team and he’s about to surrender it for bruised ribs? I think I’d be inclined to feed myself up with painkillers and man my way through the discomfort. When Wenger says he has total confidence in Szczesny, we all know he’s talking nonsense.
“I have total confidence, no matter who starts the game,”
“In the past I have shown that, that I trust these players and trust that no matter who plays, they will show their quality.
“We have three good keepers. That’s been shown during the season. Everybody had the ability to show his quality and that’s what you want.”
You don’t go from first team keeper to not making the squad. Wenger has lost faith in the younger of the Poles for deeper reasons than just game time. I hope Lukas pulls through. I’d hate to see a player make it back into the squad without having to fight for it… especially if being poor was the reason the place was lost in the first place. Still, I’d rather him over Mannone. Our goalkeeping situation in general is a sorry state of affairs, because in the cold light of day, none of them are good enough.
In Mario Gotze news, The Daily Mail has reported on the sad news that the young German won’t be leaving Dortmund this summer… then when he does decide to go, he’ll likely leave for the sunnier climes of Barcelona. Or Manchester United. This isn’t a surprise. When you’re one of the most talented young talents on the planet, you don’t leave to go to a club less competitive than your own. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives on the market that we can tap into this summer. The problem with Gotze is firstly, we left it too late to nab him. Secondly, he’s German, he’ll have that English premium price type thing going on. Except he’s German. So let’s call it German premium. Like an Audi.
Right, that’s me done. Have fun at the game tonight. The first in a while where thermals aren’t a requirement. Tear the roof off and make some noise!