Hello and I hope you’re having a super Saturday. There’s Arsenal today and there can’t be anything bad about that. Well, not if we win the game anyway. Today sees us visiting the DW Stadium to face Wigan, a team mired in the relegation zone. After the sacking of Steve Bruce at Sunderland, it would be fair to say that Roberto Martinez will be slightly worried about his position.
That said, Martinez has always had the backing of Dave Whelan in the Chairman role. Martinez’s preference to play football the right way is laudable but on occasions, it is to his detriment. It’s not about individuals quality because we’ve seen Swansea able to play the passing game and are quite adept at it. Defensive errors has been a big problem for Wigan all season.
Their position is also not helped by a misfiring talisman in their side. Season on season, much is depended on Hugo Rodallega’s goals but so far he has scored none and only contributed 2 assists. Wigan are averaging almost a goal a game in their 13 league matches thus far, with Franco Di Santo leading the charts with 4 goals. Martinez has no injury worries but will miss the services of Antolin Alcaraz who will serve the last of his 3 match suspension for spitting at the opponent.
DW Stadium has not been a good hunting ground for us, at least not in recent seasons. Last 5 visits to this stadium in the league campaign sees us achieving only 2 victories, 2 draws and a defeat. Given how vast the difference in our standings at the end of the season usually is, it’s fair to say we’ve constantly let the ball drop during this match. I’m sure you remember the 3-2 reverse 2 seasons ago which effectively ended our title challenge.
Onto Arsenal news, it looks to be a fit and healthy squad as we do not lose anyone from the Manchester City game. Abou Diaby will be out for another 10 days while this match comes too soon for Tomas Rosicky and the Czech captain should be able to return for the Olympiakos game.
This will be the first of 7 games in December. The only time the players will have more than 6 days of recuperation time will be before the City game at Etihad Stadium. We can have no complains about the fixture schedule, if there’s a game to be chosen to have sufficient rest, it would be that game. 16 out of 21 points from this run of fixtures would be good in my book. Whatever happens when we travel to Greece has no bearing while a point at City with their first team players back would be a result I can bear with.
The big question for the manager today will be on the defensive side again. Not the usual, players in poor form and we need a new body. This time, it’s all about players in form and being unkind to somebody by leaving them out. Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Santos’ positions are secured their own reasons but the other 2 positions are up for grabs.
With his performances in the last 2 games, Johan Djourou is slowly but surely recovering from his dip in form. He is pleased with how he did as well. In many ways, having Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson out at the same time has benefited Djourou. He would find his chances in the centre positions limited at this point in time and thus the game time at right back would be much appreciated by him.
However, even Djourou is not the most in-form defender we have now. That title falls to Laurent Koscielny. That Frenchman has gone from strength to strength and it is no coincidence that since he got his first international cap, he has been virtually faultless. Koscielny would’ve viewed the cap as a recognition of his effort and realisation that, the top of world football is somewhere he does belong.
Both players has done remarkably well in the absence of our usual right backs but given how the Swiss seemed to play himself back into form, removing him now but hurt his confidence a little. I hope the manager rides on this and keeps Djourou there. While also means that Koscielny might be returned to the centre of defence and Per Mertesacker afforded some rest time. The rest of the team should pick itself out.
We are now in 7th spot, 3 points behind the 4th place team, Newcastle. The team from Tyneside will face the 5th place team in Chelsea. Apart from a Chelsea win (due to the goal difference), a win today at Wigan could potentially see us move up in the table. Although, we could still be a place higher for 24 hours at least, since Liverpool are only playing tomorrow.
Up The Arsenal!!!