Good day to you, we are just one day half a day away from our next match which is in the Premier League. Chelsea are the next opponent and just like how it was against Manchester City last Sunday, we’ll be up against a team that is our direct rival for the title. Yes, for the title. Dare to dream and all that, but it’s the performances in these kind of matches which will provide another indication as to whether we are ready to compete.
Chelsea are as much our rivals on the pitch, as it is off it. The financial side of things go hand in hand with the footballing side. Over the years, both Chelsea and City have pumped tremendous amounts of money to ensure that their respective teams rise above the mediocre ones and become one of the successful trophy winning side within the English game. Both are backed by billionaires and have their own method of procuring those money. As for us, we are also owned by two billionaires but is backed in a different manner.
Our financial result have been announced and it looks very positive. Now, I’ve never claimed to be an expert on the financial side of the football club and I guess I will never be. For that, just like you, I’m waiting for the immaculate SwissRamble to provide the breakdown of what it actually means. What has been announced is that we’ve got a pre-tax profit of over £30 million with over £150 million in the bank. Whichever way you look at it, those are very healthy numbers. We’ve got debt, sure. However, those are very manageable debts with fixed repayment schedule and there’s really no point in talking about paying those off immediately in one lump sum.
Wednesday’s game was more fun and relax than what today will be. That was a day where forgotten players got a run out and so did recovering players, recovering from injury that is. Though the biggest one of the all will only feature in an U-21 game on Monday. Jack Wilshere is on a steady climb back to full fitness and will get his first match practice, albeit for only an hour or so. Still, arguably the best piece of news for the week, at least till this half of the day has passed by.
It is all rosy in the Arsenal garden at the moment but we cannot allowed this to get to our head. The moment the concentration drops and the focus shifts a little, that’s when trouble comes looking for you. That applies to the football as well, especially we come up against a team of seasoned professionals and experience of Chelsea. Last season, we managed to stay unbeaten in that those games against them. Beating them away while dishing out one of those drab 0-0 scores at home.
At the moment, Chelsea are 4 points ahead of us. Just like us, they have remained unbeaten since the start of the season. However, while we’ve played some of the bigger/better teams, Chelsea have not. Comparatively, they were hammered when they met Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and allowed Juventus to claw back a 2 goal deficit in the Champions League. Despite their summer recruitments, there are still many question marks hanging over their head.
A summer that saw Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin joined them. Supposedly on the idea/plan that they should play a more expansive type of football. A plan which I believe will work in our favour more than it would for them. They have an almost full squad to choose from, except for the doubt that is Daniel Sturridge. Stopping Fernando Torres is an easier task these days, which is why I think the threat are coming from elsewhere. Those runners from midfield and wide areas.
As for us, we do not have additional members in the treatment room after last week’s game nor the midweek one. This is strange and also very pleasing at the same time. I think we’ve just gotten used to our players being injured or getting injured at one point or another. So much so that when we do not have injuries, it feels somewhat weird to me. Happy, but weird.
Thomas Vermaelen returns from his illness and as captain, will probably be restored to the starting line-up. Despite his goalscoring efforts last week, Laurent Koscielny looks the likeliest to drop out. Harsh but such is the form of Per Mertesacker that it’s almost quite impossible to drop him. Elsewhere, should also see the return to the side that ran out at the Eithad Stadium. I should think that Abou Diaby will still get the nod ahead of Aaron Ramsey. This, just like Koscielny, despite Ramsey’s storming performance at Eastlands.
Arsene Wenger said that the choice of striker will determine the little changes to his game plan and today, I do believe it’s the Oliver Giroud plan. The French striker will be eager to add to his tally after breaking his duck in midweek. He was not ashamed to admit that he was feeling the pressure as well and now that the pressure has been lifted off his shoulder, hopefully we’ll be able to see him start firing on all cylinders. Facing up against the ageing John Terry and the clumsy David Luiz, Giroud can’t be faulted if he’s rubbing his hands with glee.
There will be lots of interesting battles all over the pitch today. Ivanovic v Podolski, Lampard v Diaby, Cazorla v Obi Mikel are just some of those. The last one is a mismatch and I’m not even talking about size or height. The signs are pointing towards a more exciting affair than the last one. Whether or not that transpires is another matter, just like any other game, a win for us would be the sufficient result for me.
Up The Arsenal!!!