It’s been 10 days since we last laid eyes upon the grass of an elite-level football pitch… doesn’t it feel like this season has had less football to you? International breaks every other week and massive gaps in football. Even December felt light.
Well, it won’t feel light this evening. Arsenal is on the charge towards the extremely consequential Liverpool game on Sunday. 3 points is the only answer. If we drop 2 today, we start to find ourselves adrift and we put unnecessary pressure on the game at the weekend.
The main point of weakness in this Forest side is its defence. Matt Turner has been on the struggle bus all season. His passing out of the back is reckless and doesn’t need much pressure to go off the rails in a massive way. I’m also not sure his rock-solid shot-stopping has been up to much this season. Arsenal know him well, I really hope we don’t take 35 minutes to let him know we have his number this evening.
Their centre backs haven’t been great either, they have a lot of injuries, and they have had massive representation at AFCON.
In short: We need to be direct and aggressive this evening.
Moving forward, they play some nice football. They’ve spent so much money they’re probably getting docked points, so it’s not a surprise. Away from home, the key is clearly not to concede something stupid early. This is the sort of game we should be eating up. They aren’t capable of a deep block and Nuno hasn’t had enough time to get his ideas into the players.
Arteta is playing games with the injury news as per. He seemed pretty emphatic that Thomas Partey wouldn’t be ready. Are we shocked? Arsenal going with the ‘like a new signing’ treatment on the main feed only to see him emphatically ruled out. The more worrying concern was the late fitness tests for Big Gabi and Declan Rice. The Evening Standard seemingly indicating that they have passed them.
It’s a big afternoon, these are evenings City don’t miss, and let’s be clear, City is who we need to be keeping pace with.
The big story of the press conference was more focused Arteta’s future. He was emphatic about a few things:
- He’s not going anywhere
- Arsenal is the best club for his career
- He hasn’t begun talking about a new deal
- He’s calm about his future
This Barca exercise might not have pleased him, but it sure did a lot for his reputation around Europe and maybe silenced a few of the weirdos online who think we should fire him.
Ok, short post today because I am werrrrrking.
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— LE GROVE (@LeGrove) January 30, 2024