The Premier League continues tonight with Arsenal facing the bottom side of the league. West Ham are the opponent and you could not find a more dire team thus far this season. They have already lost 5 games this season and leaked in 17 goals. That and the fact that they have not won away all season. With those statistics, you can only see one result tonight.
A win for us tonight would not see us move any further up the table but it would take us within 3 points of Chelsea, without taking into account of their game with Blackburn that will be played at the same time. Arsene Wenger’s team will be in buoyant mood after last week’s win at Manchester City and also from advancing to the quarterfinals phase of the Carling Cup.
With no further injuries reported from the midweek match, you would expect the core of team that lined-up at the City of Manchester Stadium to start tonight. These players were afforded a rest in midweek and should get straight back into the team. Perhaps the boss will look at the fact that Johan Djourou also played at Newcastle and have already played in a couple of continuous games and put him on the bench instead. With that in mind, I suspect our starting line-up to be something like this;
Anything other than a home win will render last weekend’s result useless. We must start to find some form of consistency to our season and not let slip the momentum that we’ve picked up recently. With the Champions League game to secure our passage to next phase and a very long flight to Ukraine at that, tonight’s game needs to be settle early and efficiently.
Lukasz Fabianski finds himself with another opportunity to shine after recent confident displays. Wenger labels him as a natural talent and it is a ringing endorsement of the kind of form the Polish finds himself in. He has not been called upon much in these last 5 or 6 games but when required, pulls of either saves or clearances. In the past, concentration has been his weakest point and it looks to have been rectified. Still a long way to go before we accept him as the permanent solution though.
New deals are in the offing for 2 young players. Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny will have contracts being laid out in front of them as Wenger looks to secure them to Arsenal for the foreseeable future. What this season has shown is the fact that both of them are talented and have the capability to match that with their performance. While I’m quite sure Wilshere will put ink to the dotted line, the same assurance I do not have for Szczesny’s case. He has spoken about his lack of opportunity recently and may vie for a move elsewhere.
Elsewhere, Wenger’s definition for success somehow does not sit right with me. “To go as far as we can on all fronts”. At some point he will need to prioritize which competition he wants most, and that is not hard to guess as it would probably be the Premier League or the Champions League. With that in mind, Wenger will have to be cautious in his squad selection and not use players like Fabregas in Carling Cup. We definitely need to win something this season and spark a winning mentality within the squad.
Individually, we can only see what is ahead of us. For Arsenal, that means West Ham. Let’s win this and concentrate on the next one after that. Here’s to a good win tonight.