Match day. This time it’s a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich. After the end of the round of fixtures today, we could be sitting in second place if results elsewhere goes our way. We are now in 7th place, which is nothing to be sad nor happy about because we are still relatively very early in the season to be thinking that the table indicates how strong the team is. The same could be explained about the home side.
Chris Hughton’s side are now sitting in the lowly 19th place in the league. Without a win in the the 7 games that they have played thus far this season. It’s a far cry from the excitement that followed the club after their achievement to be able to stay in the Premier League after their promotion last season. The departure of the manager who brought them up in Paul Lambert didn’t help matters. Hughton is someone who manages in a very different way compared his predecessor, not least in terms of tactics.
It will take time for the players to adjust to a new manager and embrace his training methods as well as his match tactics. Hopefully the two weeks break wasn’t enough for them to improve too much that they will cause any problem. The power of Grant Holt remains the big threat from the Canaries and we’ll have to be wary of that. Last season, the strength of Steve Morrison beat Per Mertesacker in a tussle that caused us to concede. Last season, that Dutch player got us out of jail, someone else will have to turn up for today.
We have a much longer injury list than them, what with Laurent Koscielny joining Theo Walcott on the list. Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky are still working their way back but the list is a little false. In the sense that come this time next week, or even in this game, the numbers would be much shorter on that list. Jack Wilshere is reportedly in the team today. What we do know is that he travelled with the squad, whether just to get him acclimatising to the squad or he is slated to be on the team sheet, is another matter entirely. If it’s the latter, Wilshere probably won’t be in the starting eleven.
Yet, his presence alone would be a massive lift to the rest of the squad. The players who have been around with us would recognise the talent that he has displayed for us previously and be excited about his return. While for the newer employees of Arsenal Football Club, the training sessions with Wilshere would have raised a few eyebrows and get them feeling rather happy to know that we have a player of his quality to add to the squad. That’s not even counting the volume of cheer from the fans that will emanate if/when Wilshere is introduced into the game.
I believe Arsene Wenger will stick with the same line-up that started at Upton Park. The only exception being that at left back. Kieran Gibbs is unavailable due to injury and the Brazilian, Andre Santos steps in. He hasn’t played an awful much this season but you could hardly find a word of discontent from him. In fact, Santos is displaying a huge amount of professionalism in the way he’s handling the situation.
He treats it as a challenge. A challenge to be better and the realisation that the current situation benefits the team in general. No disrespect to Norwich but this represents a perfect game for Santos to step back into the swing of things.
After his more productive outings in the past two weeks, I do think that Olivier Giroud will get a chance at a prolong run in the starting line-up. That display against West Ham coupled with his bright albeit brief performance for France against Spain, it would fair to say that his confidence has been given a little boost. One only has to look at the intelligence of his game to see how he’s a nightmare for defenders. Always ready to make a dart here or there and knowing when to pull short or go long. That goal against Spain typifies the smartness in his game.
As the season progresses, it gets increasingly more important to look at the league table. As it stands we are as many points behind league leaders, Chelsea, as where we are in the table. Should Chelsea not be able to win against Spurs, it represents a chance for us to close the gap. The gap must be bridged and one can only do by chipping away at it until we overtake them. As Wenger puts it, our moment of truth starts now.
Up The Arsenal.