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You might wonder about the headlines but that is exactly how Arsene Wenger described Arsenal’s performance against West Brom on Saturday. He said this; “What is the most frustrating is that there was no electricity there. We had lost a generator and then it becomes difficult to play football.” Maybe not so much as a broken generator but more like a total power plant shut-down. Somehow somewhere, he will need to find the spark to ignite the team again.
Quite what Wenger needs to do to achieve that is not within my expertise but there’s nothing like a quick game in succession to get the painful defeat out of the system. It will be another Champions League night for Arsenal and it is a trip to Serbia to play against Partizan Belgrade. They are the champions of Serbia for 3 consecutive seasons now and only lost by the solitary goal at Shakhtar Donetsk two week ago.
Now, that is as much as I know about them. It will be very presumptuous of me to say this but I’m guessing they have a game which is very similar to what we’ve seen of Dinamo Zagreb whom we previously played before in a Champions League qualifier. Which will mean that they have a couple of flair players and will try to play a passing game. Whether they will resort to a defensive tactic against Arsenal remains to be seen. Maybe they were thinking of doing so but hopefully after they catch our defeat on Saturday will revert to a more attacking strategy which would mean a more open game.
As is reflected by our top 8 seedings during the Champions League draw, this is a game that we should be winning. Then again, that is something we all thought prior to our first defeat of the season at the weekend. Whether it is because of the physical aspect or the mental aspect, I shudder to think what would another defeat do to our already fragile confidence. What’s more, the repercussions of this result could spill into our weekend encounter against Chelsea. God knows we how hard it already is to play them in the first place.
Manuel Almunia drops out of the squad with a rather convenient elbow problem. In his place, Lukasz Fabianski looks set to start with Wojciech Szczescny settling for place on the bench. The injury was picked up when he clashed into Peter Odemwingie and his absence offers Wenger a chance to make the change without further damaging the confidence of the Spaniard. I’m not sure which is worse really, that Almunia is injured or that Fabianski is going to start. I’m sure we will found out in exactly 27 hours from now.
Kieran Gibbs also returns to the squad as well as a promotion of sorts for Henri Lansbury as he gets a spot on the plane to Zagreb. I’m hopeful that means the end of Gael Clichy being automatically chosen as first choice. Clichy is well experienced by now and still makes the amateur mistakes of taking up wrong positions and lack of concentration. There’s nothing like a little fear of losing your place to spur you to the next level. Here’s what I think the line-up is going to be;
Alex Song is a defensive midfielder and he should be mindful of his role in the squad. All he has to do is to provide the shield in front of our defence and leave the attacking side of the game to the other 5 that we have. This season more than most, he has been caught out of position further up the field that he is suppose to be. No one expects him to be a box-to-box player and he should really stick to what endeared him to the fans last season.
I’ll watching the game role and I’m hoping not to get burn twice in a week in such quick succession. Till tomorrow.