Match Day: Arsenal vs Middlesborough Kick Off 5.15pm

“They are the only team that have beaten us. So on Saturday we want to pay them back and get ourselves back to winning ways.”

That’s fighting talk that is! But remember, when we played them, we were without Cesc, Hleb and VP.   

Starting Line Up 

My maths ability seems to be waning as for some reason I thought Eboue and Aliaidiere were both suspended for today’s game. But neither are, and this add’s a bit more width to our team and a fair amount to theirs. For all his faults, play acting, inability to concentrate, get past his man, dive and inability to hit the target from 8 yards, Eboue is someone who can give something to us – he often gets to the byline and he link up play with Sagna allows Sagna to get forward too more. He “plays” his midfield role well and his crossing is his best attribute. He also keeps the spot warm for Walcott’s cameo which normally happens ont he 65th minute, and this allows a fresh Theo to make an impact against on the right.

Based on this tactic, Arsene will probably start Eboue, so the line up (to be confirmed) should be:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
Sagna
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Toure
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
Eboue
Right Wing
Flamini
Defensive Midfielder
Fabregas
Attacking Midfielder
Hleb
Left Wing
Adebayor
Striker
Van Persie
Support Striker

This would see Walcott, Bendtner, Gilberto, Senderos and Lehmann on the bench. This is probably our strongest bench all season…

Match Talk & Champions League

As we all know, we’ve got Liverpool in the Champions League, and it’ll be an exciting March and April. I’m not entirely disappointed this season as our previous game about Liverpool really set down the marker. We controlled the game, played very very well and were unlucky to only come away with a draw.

Arsene spoke about the game yesterday and the CL draw:

“It is a very interesting period for us. The next month will tell us more about all the teams and I am very confident on my side that we will show how strong we were. We know it is down to us and our performances but I am very relaxed and very confident. This team has fantastic mental strength. We were under big pressure when we went to Milan, and you did not see that pressure in our game.”

All very true, but our league form has been poor recently. It really is time to win, we have three successive draws and anything but a win would see us fall maybe too far behind. With Derby playing United earlier, three points is a must. Southgate wants to find a way to stop us, let’s forget their tactics and concentrate on breaking them down.

Arsene continued:

“I’m not concerned because I feel they were down to special circumstances. For me Birmingham was a big accident, a special day. And at Wigan, it was difficult to switch on again after such a high against Milan. Also we played against a side that fights not to go down and that didn’t help us at all.

“Genuinely, I believe the players want to do well in both competitions. Don’t forget we have lost just one game since the beginning of the season in the Premier League and in the Champions League we have lost one as well and that was when we had already qualified.”

I really do like the positive attitude of Arsene and there is genuine belief that we can win both competitions.

Here’s a quick round up in the World of Arsenal…

Adebayor says this is the year for us and that we’re going to beat Liverpool and win both the Champions League and the Premiership. We’re hosting the French presidentual stateat the Emirates visit which is interesting but doesn’t really have any footballing impact. Spurs have approached Bobby Pires to sign for them next season and he brand’s it a joke and says he’ll never wear their shirt. Left back talks about the conspiracy theory of the Champions League Draw. Young Guns talks about Pedro Botelho’s new English tutor ahead of his move back to the Emirates this season.

Finally Arsenal TV is available on Virgin Media. 

And finally Virgin Media and Arsenal have finally agreed a deal that will see Arsenal TV on their broadcasting platform. I know a lot of people who have suffered from this, it’s a welcomed bonus.

Keith Edelman said:

“We’re extremely pleased to be extending our reach to Virgin Media’s customer base, and are sure the channel will be successful on the Virgin Media TV platform.”

So are we all, so are we all!

Okay, it’s match day… in a few hours, we’ll all be somewhere watching the game (which is on Setanta today) and it’s promises to be an excellent game… let’s hope Derby or Sunderland can produce a shock and that Ade and VP get a hat-trick each!

Speak soon.]]>