We've got the following teams from now until the end of the season...
- Middlesborough (Home)
- Portsmouth (Away)
- Chelsea (Home)
- Manchester United (Away)
- Stoke (Home)
I’m going to make the bold step of presuming that we will beat Middlesborough, Portsmouth and Stoke and then look at the options of what happens if we beat Chelsea and United.
At the moment we’re on 62 points. If we beat Chelsea and United we’ll be on 77 points for the end of the season… where will that put us at the end of the season?
- West Ham (Away)
- Fulham (Home)
- Arsenal (Away)
- Blackburn (Home)
- Sunderland (Away)
Now, let’s say they lost to us, but beat Blackburn and Sunderland and draw to West Ham and Fulham, that would see them pick up 8 more points and that would see them finish on 76 points. Sometimes, I wonder why I write the “what if”, or “maybe, this could happen” blogs – I’m a bit of an optimist, but it could happen, you never know.
Looking ahead to the next BIG game (not taking for granted the big game this weekend against Middlesborough… we face Manchester United and we could have a completely different team available for selection by then. Looking at the injuries, it’s definite that Djourou and Clichy will be back for the game with Almunia a 50:50 (let’s say he does make it) and then we’ll have both Van Persie and Adebayor back too.
Let’s compare the two teams… one that played against Liverpool and the one that could play against Man United:
Liverpool vs Arsenal
Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs
Nasri – Denilson – Cesc – Song – Arshavin
Man United vs Arsenal
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy
Walcott – Song – Cesc - Nasri
Adebayor – Van Persie
It’s a much more exciting and experienced line up next week than this week, and if the team I suggested does play, we will have a real chance of nicking something at Old Trafford.
I’d expect us to rest as many of the team as possible against Middlesborough in order to have a fresh team on Wednesday – I’d expect to see Sagna rested, with Eboue coming in, I’d expect to see Bendtner and Eduardo up front with Arshavin and Vela on the wings and maybe Denilson and Diaby in the middle.
Arsene spoke on this:
“I am not happy with our defending but I believe that our defence has played many games and they were a bit jaded physically. We cannot change many players, especially at the back. Offensively we have a bit more choice but at the back we haven’t got too much choice. Of course [resting players against Middlesbrough] is in our thoughts but the best way to prepare for the Champions League is to win games in the Premier League.”
Cesc has also been in the press… commenting on the excellent attacking prowess of the team but also berating the deficiencies of the defence…
“We have seen the best things we can do, but there are a lot of things we can improve on. We played in front of great players and great fans and the team has to be proud of what we achieved, but still we go home with the feeling we should have done more. We gave the goals away too easily and after all we did to create four opportunities to score four goals – it is difficult to take.
“From an attacking point of view, we played one of the best games of the season. However, defensively we need to improve a lot if we want to be in the Champions League final. It is the most difficult thing because when you attack you have the creativity to do what you feel. If defensively you are not well positioned, you will concede goals. We still need to do a lot of work on it.”
And he’s bang on it. Our midfield did not protect our defence much at all on Tuesday, and against Man United, I’d expect Song to literally sit in front of the back two central defenders.
On a final note, I have to say I’m delighted with Fabianski for commenting honestly on his performance. There may be a few big games coming up for him soon if Almunia doesn’t recover… this is what the Pole had to say:
“I know that it was mostly because of me that we did not qualify for the FA Cup final. When you are honest and look with honest eyes on that, you can say it. Every day I had been waking up with the game still in my mind, so it was not easy.
“When the season is finished, maybe I will clear it out from my mind. It was a big, big chance to win something this season in the FA Cup. I did not help my team like I should have, and I am sorry for that.”
There is a long way until the Champions League, so let’s see what happens between now and then… more soon.]]>