* Just to clarify that the statement above was not to indicate that I am always in a bad mood nor that I have mood swings. On the whole, I am in a good mood, but the good mood stated is better than normal, maybe I should have said great mood?
It’s Friday and normally it would be the time to look at the weekend games. But as we’re playing on Sunday, I will preview the game on Saturday. This mean’s I’ve got time to do a feature on the title run in and examine who we’ve got, when we’ve got them, who the others have got, our winnable games and how we win the title…!
The Title Run In
There are just 10 games to go until the end of the season, let’s have a look at our run in as well as that of Man U and Chelski.
|Wigan (Away)||FA Cup||FA Cup, Derby (Home)|
|We play this Sunday against Wigan and must pick up three points. With Chelsea entertaining Derby at home on Wednesday they will surely pick up three points.|
|68 points||64 points, game in hand||61 points, game in hand|
|Middlesborough (Home)||Derby (Away)||Sunderland (Away)|
|Chelsea will play Sunderland away – their game in hand – this may be tricky as Roy Keane’s side will fight feriously as they are looming near the bottom, but Chelsea may have too much. United travel to Derby, so a definite three points, and we play Middlesborough at home. I’m sure we would like to avenge our only defeat of the season.|
|71 points||67 points, game in hand||64 points, game in hand|
|-||Bolton (Home)||Sp*rs (Away)|
|The midweek game on the 19th season United host Bolton at home and Chelsea away to Tottenham. United are favourites at home and Chelsea would be ready to get one back over Sp*rs after the carling cup game.|
|71 points||70 points||67 points|
|Chelsea (Away)||Liverpool (Home)||Arsenal (Home)|
|One for the diaries, and what a weekend it will be. I really hope we can beat Chelsea, we’re playing well and they’ll want to concentrate on the FA cup and Champions League. Liverpool will be battling it out for fourth, so it could be a draw for all. I do actually think we will win this and United will beat Liverpool, but’s let’s wait and see nearer the time who’s available…|
|72 points||71 points||68 points|
|Bolton (Away)||Aston Villa (Home)||Middlesborough (Home)|
|It’s a win for us and a win for both of them. We’ve got the trickiest tie this weekend, we have the quality but to beat a Bolton side fighting for relegation, we will have to be on top form.|
|75 points||74 points||71 points|
|Liverpool (Home)||Middlesborough (Away)||Manchester City (Home)|
|This is when the predictions become a little harder as this game is sandwiched between two Champions League games. I have a feeling that United will become unstuck against Middlesborough and both Chelsea and us will draw in “must-not-lose” game. City will want to avenge the 6-0 drubbing and Liverpool will frustrate us with their “must not lose” tactics.|
|76 points||74 points||72 points|
|Man United (Away)||Arsenal (Home)||Wigan (Home)|
|This is the match that we always knew would define the season even when we were 5 points behind or 6 points clear. As long as we avoid defeat, we’ll stay on top. Chelsea will surely win against a Wigan team in the relegation zone.|
|77 points||75 points||74 points|
|Reading (Home)||Blackburn (Away)||Everton (Away)|
|With Chelsea gaining ground on the two top last week, they will come down to earth with a draw against an inform Everton team, whilst we hit 6 at home against Reading and United squeeze past Blackburn 1-0. Plausible!|
|80 points||78 points||75 points|
|Derby (Away)||Chelsea (Away)||Man United (Home)|
|Well, it’s a big weekend this weekend – we travel to Derby on the Monday, so we are either clear by 1 point or 2 points or behind by 1 with a game in hand. I think Chelsea will want to beat United and will do so. Of course, I can’t see past three points for us!|
|83 points||78 points||78 points|
|Everton (Home)||West Ham (Home)||Newcastle (Home)|
|Knowing that a win would win us the title, I think we’re going to do it. Chelsea and United fight it out for second, both win and are 5 points behind with one game to go.|
|86 points||81 points||81 points|
|Sunderland (Away)||Wigan (Away)||Bolton (Home)|
|Having won the title, we field a weakened team against Sunderland and lose up north, but United and Chelsea slug it out for the 2nd spot, which United get on goal difference.|
|86 points||84 points||84 points|
The run in sees us win the title, even with draws against United, Liverpool and Chelsea and a final day loss at Sunderland having already won the title… I’ll leave it to you to make your own mind up on this. I personally think we will beat United, Liverpool and Chelsea but then we’ve just won against Milan away so my mindset has changed. If you asked me after the two league draws my tune may have been different. With our injury woes easing up at the right time, this season really could be ours. Which leads me nicely into a quick injury round up….
While the long term injuries (Eduardo aside) ease up and players return to the squad, the niggling injury count continues to chop and change our squad for this weekend’s trip to Wigan.
For some unknown reason, young Theo played a behind the doors friendly against Colorado Rapids yesterday and injured his thigh. He injury is believed to be short term which will see him return for the Middlesborough game the following week. Arsene says: “Today we lost Theo Walcott. He played against Colorado Rapids and he got a little thigh problem. “
Colorado Rapids 1 – 2 Arsenal: see the full match report from Young Guns.
Injury prone Diaby picked up a calf injury against Milan and looks set to miss the Wigan game too.
Robin Van Persie
Robin played an hour against the Rapids yesterday and it was a good game for him to gain some match fitness. According to Arsene, he looked quite tired after the game and is most probably set for a role on the bench against Wigan. The boss said: “Robin played an hour and he looks OK. But it looks early for him, he finished the game very tired today so I will have to analyse that.”
The never present Rosicky will miss both the next two league games. He is currently suffering from a dislocated moustache, but will be back soon. Arsene estimates 10 – 12 days.
Kolo Toure & Alex Song
I’ve combined these two players because it seems that they will return at the same time. Arsene says that they may both be short for this weekend but will definitely be back next week. I don’t think we’ll risk Kolo unless he 100% fit, so if he does return it may be on the bench.
The starting line up will see the same outing as last time, but with Denilson replacing Walcott with Eboue suspended and Hleb moving to the left. Bendtner will get a start in place of the missing midfielders and Robin yet not fit to start.
More team news tomorrow.
News Round Up
Okay, let’s take a whizz round the papers and the net and see what else is going on in the world of Arsenal.
Arsenal FC Blog says this is our best chance to win the Champions League. With Man U & Chelsea having full & fit squads now and us having a little injury nightmare, it would be some acheivement.
The Champions League draw takes place on March 14th with Arsenal, Man U, Chelski, Barce, Roma, Schalke, Fenerbache and either Liverpool or Inter in the last 8. At this point, there is no restrictions on Nations, which means we could face one of the three other Premiership teams in the quarters. Paul Wright talks about how any team would be scared of us. But I’d still prefer Schalke, then Fenerbache and then a union with Barcelona in the final… let’s see what happens on the 14th.
Arsene talks to Arsenal.com about rumours that we were unhappy with the treatment at St. Andrews and mysteriously that Eduardo had a second operation. He also updates us on Dudu’s progress:
“I am informed by the medical people that he is alright. The first thing he must do is get over the risk of infection and that is going well. So we have no problems apart from the obvious big disappointment of him being out and not playing.”
Here’s a link to Arseblog’s exclusive Eduardo interview. A lot of people read my reporting of it, but didn’t read the article and then asked me about it… so take a read today, it’s a very interesting read!
The media reaction has been great after the Milan game, but it has maybe a little bit over the top and this maybe doesn’t help when our players speak out. Almunia speaks about Cesc, and how he is a legend, but Ade goes as far as saying that we can beat everyone, he may not be wrong, but statements like that sometimes just intise the opposition…
A Cultured Left wants to start “beating every team in the world” by taking three points at Wigan.
Carlos Vela has been hailed by Osasuna coach Jose Angel Ziganda, saying: “He gives all time his best in a match, as well as that he has a great attitude to work very hard every day”. Read more on Carlos Vela News.
Young Guns also reports on 17 year old Pamphile Mihayo Kazembe, has been “put through his paces” by Arsene, is on trial with us. Spotted whilst watching his team mate Tresor Mputu. And The Arsenal Way reports on a young Welsh player, Aaron Ramsey, who is also on our wanted list.
A Huge Thank You
Thanks to all the readers who have written in with comments and suggestions… Yes, I’ve finally managed to replace the blue (non AFC colours) with red and white in the main image up on the top of this page. It’s had an immediate impact for me… let me know what you think! I plan to expand on this as time goes on and by the end of the season, I’ll have a more action packed blog. I love your views on the blog and comments on anything Arsenal, so do feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Well, it’s the end of a week, a great European night included this week and I’m sure you are all looking forward to our next game. Have a good Friday, Wigan preview tomorrow…
Update: An excellent comment on this blog did spot that maths is obviously not my strong point as I gave Chelsea only 2 points for a win against Wigan. If you do the maths, you’ll see Chelsea and United really fighting out for 2nd place.]]>