Today sees us take on the bottom of the table side, West Bromich Albion in a mouth watering tie at the Hawthorns. It's a tie that we simply have to win. No side in the history of the premier league has ever had five 0-0's in a row, and I really hope we're not the team to make the wrong sort of history!
Team news sees Gallas injured for today's clash, which Johan Djourou an able deputy. Diaby is back and fit and should start even though his game against Fulham wasn't his best. A player like Diaby does need a run of games in order to get proper match fitness. With Arshavin lasting longer than the first game, I won't expect him to be in the starting line up tonight - he did seem heavy legged by the end of the game, but I do expect him on the bench...
This is the line up I envisage Arsene choosing:
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy
Eboue – Diaby – Denilson – Nasri
Van Persie – Bendtner
With a bench of Fabianski, Gibbs, Song, Ramsey, Merida, Vela and Arshavin.
Arsene has been talking about Arshavin and the impact he will make, he predicts another 2 weeks before he gets going:
“I believe that physically it will take him 10 more days. He says he felt much better than in the first game. You could see that he is not completely there but I am convinced he will have a tremendous influence on the game. While Arshavin acclimatises to the pace of the Premier League, the rest of the Arsenal squad is adapting to the Russian’s style of play. The quick-thinking Russian makes his national side tick and Wenger accepts that it will take time before Arshavin and his new team-mates are on the same wavelength. We work on that to adjust our combinational level together. That is as well down to intelligence. Arshavin has a quick brain and he is many steps ahead of the game and even on Saturday he gave two great chances to Robin; one header and one that Robin tried to finish with his right foot – two great passes. He had two great chances himself too. When you can have that kind of impact on a game it is very positive.”
Just to touch on our “goal drought”, I’ve been saying recently that if we can beat someone convincing, aka WBA, with a scoreline of something like 3-0, we will gain confidence in front of goal again, and then the goals will come. Arsene has compared the Fulham game to the Carling Cup final saying our game had more chances… I’m not too sure, but I can kind of see his point.
“Sometimes they think ‘why don’t we score?’ because in some games we have three or four clear-cut chances. That is why they have the same questions we have. What you do not want to lose is your defensive stability just because we want to score so much we throw everything in an unstructured way. It is important to keep our game structured and not to listen to the alarming signals too much. We lack spontaneity in front of goal and of course that is a confidence issue. When you want it too much, the first thing you lose is spontaneity. When you would normally place the ball you hit it hard and it’s not when you hit it hard that it usually goes in. But I still believe it is important that we focus on playing well and we convince ourselves that goalscoring comes from the quality of our game so let’s focus on the quality of our game. I believe that Fulham was more a 3-3 game than a 0-0 game because of the chances. On Sunday I watched the Carling Cup Final and it was a 0-0 game; Arsenal v Fulham was a 3-3 or a 2-2. I believe that when we get one goal they will start flowing again.”
Well, let’s hope the goals start flowing in tonight.
It is the most important game of our season.]]>