Feels strange doesn’t it. That Arsenal did not play in midweek. From the best part of December right until last week, I can only remember once or twice that we didn’t have a midweek match and one of those was for the international fixture. In any case, they are back tonight against West Bromwich Albion.
Let me put it this way. They have beaten us once already this season and will be looking to complete the double over us. That was the game where Manuel Almunia had a nightmare and the same keeper will be on the prowl again tonight. West Brom are in 16th place as it stands and have already picked up 5 wins at home, crucially their last win at home was on January 15th this year. More importantly, none of those 5 victories were against any of the big sides.
I would very much like us to think this way. What has happened this season has happened. It is all in the past now. There is no need to revisit any of those matches and think of what ifs. We can’t change those results. What we can do now is to look forward. The league season really starts now. Win the next 10 games and we’ll be league champions. Simple.
Despite the gap in league placing between us and West Brom, this would not be a walk in the park. It really should have been one except that we’re missing a whole host of players for this game. Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou, Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby and Alex Song will not put on the red and white jersey tonight. Varying degrees of injuries will prevent them from helping our cause.
Of those that are left, this is surely our starting line-up for tonight;
Despite what Andrey Arshavin thinks his mental state is, he has to start tonight. Like I said in the previous paragraph, there’s absolutely no point moaning about what had happened for the last 2 – 3 weeks. The time is now for the team. Arshavin’s form has been a real mystery to everyone. Capable of the insanely unbelievable at both ends of the spectrum. You can admire him as much as you can be frustrated of him. Time for him to get his head down and work better for the team.
After last weekend’s failed experiment of Denilson and Diaby in the middle of the park, I sincerely hope Arsene Wenger drops that particular plan. Aaron Ramsey is surely fit enough to start the game. I very much prefer to start with the strongest and build a lead before making changes to protect the players, than the other way around.
Sebastien Squillaci comes back into the squad in place of Djourou. The Frenchman has had a torrid middle part of the season after doing reasonably well at the start. It is time for him for use his wealth of experience and cut out those mistakes. It’s time for him to take charge of our defence. It will be an all French defence for Arsenal tonight and surely communication is not a problem for them.
We’ll just have to continue our unbeaten run of 11 games. But that wouldn’t be enough. Anything other than a win and our season will look like ending much earlier than we would’ve wanted. Whether the winning goal comes from an offside position or a penalty or off the backside of Arshavin or deflecting off the referee’s nose and into the back of the net; it doesn’t really matter. And I would not mind at all.
Here’s to the start of our season. Come on Arsenal!!!!!!