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In all honesty, I was preparing to go with a very different tune for today’s preview. One with a clean slate and next season starts today and all that. But the results from yesterday and after listening to Sol Campbell’s pre-match interview on Arsenal TV, there is just one theme for today, and that’s basically surrounding the fact that we just got to keep going at it.
The showers of praises keep falling Campbell’s way after his inspiring performance at the heart of Arsenal’s defence on Wednesday night. In the interview he mentioned that the players just have to take the positives from those losses to Barcelona and Tottenham and learn from it. It is all about getting to the finals, semifinals and challenging for the Premiership right till the end. He goes on to say that the players will need to take heart from how the opponent showed that they wanted it and never giving up.
When asked whether we are still in the title race, he mentioned that it will be more than hard because the other two will still need to drop points in two games to allow us back in. Well, Chelsea dropped theirs last night and there’s every chance that our neighbours could do us another favour against United. It won’t be easy but we should not be looking at the results from our rivals and instead just concentrate on ours. Win the last 4 games and we’ll see what happens.
On to team news, Denilson has a tight groin but I think he will be well enough to feature today. Only Vermaelen will be the one player that we’ve lost from the midweek game. The defence is already down to the bare bones and Campbell will have no choice but to play out the rest of the season without rest. If we need to put him on ice-packs in between games just to allow him to recover faster, then so be it. I think the line-up will be almost similar to the one that played on Wednesday with Silvestre coming in for Vermaelen and probably Sagna dropping out for Eboue. We need to win this game (something that has been said every other game I’m sure) and it is worth gambling a bit in an away game. This is my call on the line-up.
Van Persie should be on the bench as 90 minutes of football may just be too much for him at the moment. Tomas Rosicky have not had too much impact this season and I’ll be inclined to replace him with Fran Merida for this game just to give him a little bit of rest and also show the Catalan youngster that we can entrust him in decisive games like this. He did well in the away game at Bolton and Wigan may just be the right opponent to unleash him.
Wigan are not going to roll over for us today. They are in the relegation dogfight and still need points to maintain their top flight status. Wigan are perennially poor travellers but at home, they are a formidable force that cannot be taken lightly. They have beaten both Chelsea and Liverpool at the JJB Stadium and likes to play expansive football under manager Roberto Martinez. That style of play could very well play into our hands. If they do attempt to continue that style against us today, then it will be ironically similar to us against Barcelona.
In his pre-match interview also on Arsenal TV, Wenger was asked whether next summer is a crucial time for us in terms of transfer dealings. Also in the same question was about our interest on Hugo Rodallega, who incidentally is our opponent tonight.
I admire him but we’re not interested. We are not looking for strikers (in the summer). We’ve already done what we needed to do.
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume Marouane Chamakh will be coming to our shores next season. Right. Let’s beat this Wigan lot. Till tomorrow.