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Most of the teams kicked-off their Premier League campaign yesterday but today is where the real action is. Arsenal start the 2010/11 season with a tough away game at Liverpool. In spite their troubles (managerial change, finishing out of the top 4 plus Gerrard and Torres flirting with transfer away from the club), Anfield still represent a fortress for many top sides. However, the league is never about easy games and regardless of the condition that we are in, a win should be the minimum target.
We do go to this match with doubts over a host of our first choice players. Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie went all the way to the final with their respective countries and were subsequently given prolong holidays to recuperate. Denilson, Abou Diaby and Alex Song have been out injured since pre-season started and they have not had any match practice to boost their fitness.
We lost 3 central defenders over the summer and have only brought in one, in Laurent Koscielny. The third centreback, Johan Djourou is out with injury and will not feature at Anfield. The goalkeeping situation is still in a mess with Arsene Wenger choosing not to name a fix number 1 just yet. The movement in the transfer market for this position, or rather the lack of it, have prompted many experts and fans not to be bullish about Arsenal’s prospect in this season’s competitions.
Despite all those problems, I still feel confident for some measure of success this season. Samir Nasri have a big season ahead of him. Being dropped by France for the World Cup, seemed to have fired him up more than bring him down. Whether Fabregas is fit enough to play will dictate the position in which Nasri will slot in. Obviously he prefers the central role, who wouldn’t. Against static defenders like Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher, his guile on the ball and the speed of movement can bring Arsenal success tonight.
We are lucky that Fernando Torres might not play against us tonight. While he may peripheral at best in the World Cup, he is still a quality who can hurt us when given a chance. Liverpool will try to exploits the possibility of nervous debut from Koscielny with Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard running in from deep. With Christian Poulsen and Javier Mascherano patrolling in front of the back four for Liverpool, the England duo have more freedom to roam forward.
That should be that. First game of the season. First chance for the players and manager alike to show that we are finally ready for the long haul. Not to show spurts of challenges in periods during the season but to be there all the way, pushing the leaders and favourites. Any game at Anfield is a bit special, time for Wenger to find the DVD of the 88/89 season to show to the lads on the bus.
Come on you GUNNERSSSSSSSSS!!!!