It’s back to the Premiership this weekend with some very interesting ties later today. At 12.45, Stoke entertain Liverpool at the Brtiannia in what could be an explosive encounter, with Liverpool really struggling for form this season and Stoke very strong at home. The other members of the top three, Chelsea and Man United play Sunderland and Burnley respectively – with both games being played at home. There is a real test for Mancini as Man City play Everton away, but come Sunday, we could (and probably will) see Chelsea six points ahead of us.
So, with the draw at home to Everton still fresh in our minds, it’s time to get back to winning ways against Bolton at the Reebok this Sunday. Bolton have been buoyed by the fact they’ve replace Megson with Owen Coyle – who in my eyes is a very good manager – he has a lot of respect for his players and additionally plays in a way in which football is supposed to play. I just hope he tries to play well and the players can’t cope – as it’s his first game in charge.
We, however, have our talismanic captain returning to the team and that’s very good news. Cesc is probably THE most important player in the team and news is that he has recovered fully and more than able to start the game. Our line up tomorrow should be:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermalen – Clichy
Eastmond – Diaby
Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin
As you can see, it looks like we will also have Clichy back – and if you remember the Everton game and how out of depth Traore was, it’s a welcomed return at left back. Personally, I think Eastmond will start the game too as he is defensive minded and with the absences of Song and Denilson, we need someone who can play that role and think defence first. I remember in the Carling Cup, the young lad didn’t look out of place at all. Diaby will offer the driving force bridging defence and attack and also a height for those aerial balls.
Going back to Cesc and I really think the boy has come of age this season, to the point where his presence on the pitch and desire to win could really, honestly help us win the league. Arsene was in the press yesterday talking about Cesc and how he’s matured – saying:
“I believe he is more mature. and he has gained a fraction of physical power. He’s 22 and that’s when you really become a man. Cesc hasn’t worked especially on his finishing. I believe it’s just his calm in front of goal. He always had chances and, in some games, he missed three or four because he always wanted to finish with power. Now, he finishes with calm. He places the ball and suddenly he scores goals.”
And in all honesty, I didn’t really see Cesc in the more advanced role when he first started playing for us, but Arsene has yet again proved me wrong, and the new formation and especially having a player like Alex Song in the team, does allow Cesc more freedom going forward and his calmness and assured play does help the forwards and wingers.
Frank McLintock spoke about Cesc and how Song’s role in the team helps him:
“Song deserves some of the credit for Fábregas’s form and goals. Song is the most improved player in the Premier League this season and he has given Fábregas more freedom to receive the ball further up the field, where he can use his quick body movement to carve out space to shoot. I often thought because Fábregas was such a good passer, that his shooting would be equally good and now he has the confidence and freedom given by Song, you’re seeing him do it more and more. He has been the heartbeat of the team for the past few seasons, the one that the others look to. His maturity, skill and stature allows him to seize control of a game.”
With Cameroon bottom of their group – and if they lose to Zambia on Sunday – then they’ll be out of the competition – we may just see Alex Song back in the team before he is due back. So, with a packed day of Premiership action, let’s hope Burnley can overturn Man United at Old Trafford and Sunderland can get the three points at Stamford Bridge…
Til tomorrow! Come on you Gooners!