So, we’ve come the last home game of the season. It has been another season to remember, not so much out of any profound satisfaction but more because of the disappointment. However, let’s not go into the season review just yet. Aston Villa are the visitors for today and Arsene Wenger and his men will look to get a victory sending off for the Grove.
There’s supposed to be a walk prior to the match today. Now, I do not follow any of people who organized this walk in any of the social network. I have not read any of their statements, so I can’t claim to know what the walk is about. In truth, I can’t be bothered either. If they are protesting in any form of the state of the team, then I cannot support them. If they are walking only to protest the hike in ticket prices, then they should be supported.
Since the departure of Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa has gone off the boil. After finishing 6th for the past 3 seasons, they are now sitting in 14th place in the league. That being said, 2 wins their last 2 games plus other results going their way, Villa could still finish as high as 8th. The gap between the bottom half of the table is smaller comparatively to recent seasons.
Gerrard Houllier who is their current manager, is still recuperating from his heart problem and will be absent from the game today. Gary McAllister will take charge of Villa today and apart from Ciaran Clark (who scored one of the goals against us at Villa Park), he will have a full strength squad to pick from. Though, Robert Pires is not likely to be the first name on the team sheet.
The last time Pires returned to play at the Grove, he was with Villareal. We dumped his former team out of the Champions League quarter final and I’m hoping for the same outcome this time around. Pires has been quoted as saying that Wenger needs to add the English bodies to his squad if we harbour any hopes of winning anything next season. His thoughts perhaps somewhat swayed by the fact he had Tony Adams, Martin Keown and many other English stalwarts during his Arsenal careers. I do not think that is the solution and we have to be mindful that qualities like the ones Pires played with are not available as and when we want it.
Today we’ll get to see Thomas Vermaelen back in action. He has thus far completed a full 90 minutes with the reserves and probably a couple more of closed door matches to boot. Add to the fact that he has returned to full training for close to 3 weeks now and we can all understand why Wenger might give the Belgian a start. To say that we’ve missed him is an understatement but we can never know for sure if he could’ve helped prevented the 20++ set piece goals we’ve conceded.
I think Wenger will choose his best squad and give the supporters a good sending off for the season. Being the last home game, there will be a lap of appreciation after the game and it is always better to do that after winning a game. Here’s my take on the line-up;
A win will also help to celebrate the fact that Pat Rice has agreed to another year at Arsenal. I don’t know if many will be pleased with this news. Lots of people are clamouring for Wenger to have someone new as his right hand man, someone to provide fresh ideas. I’m leaning halfway towards the same camp. Let’s see how this one pans out.
Here’s to a good home win. COME ON YOU GUNNERSSSSSS!!!!!!