Tonight’s game is where it will all start for us this season. With a run of winnable games coming up, a squad that is starting to come back from many injuries and a style of play that can beat many a team. Yes, our style has been questionned recently – but it’s our style that has made us one of the teams that you can’t help but watching. Arsene’s philosophy has won us many a title, cup and more, and it’s a style that will ultimately prove the making of our super team. Despite our defeats against United and Chelsea, there is no reason to feel like it’s all doom and gloom. We’ve proved to everyone this season that we’re around to make a difference, and having a run of games against the two biggest teams in Europe makes us look much worse than we are.
Tonight is where the rest of season starts, and a win against Liverpool, something that we have already done at Anfield will put in good stead for the next few games. With no FA cup or Carling cup distractions, we can concentrate on the league and push forward. It’s normally February that we start our unbeaten runs and there is no reason why we can’t go full steam ahead from now until the end of the season.
A lot of people had quite a bit to say to me after the last post, but Arsene summed up my thoughts beautifully when he said this:
“I am sure mathematically [winning the League] can happen. And if you look at the fixtures it can really happen. But it is down to how much we believe and how much we refuse to give up and how much we can stick together despite all the conclusions. Sport is change and movement and we have to accept that in sport things can change quickly. Of course it is realistic to still think we can catch Manchester United and Chelsea – why not? We have already played all the big teams. There was a coincidence of the fixtures, which was quite amazing. If we had won all the games, then it would have been a big advantage. At the moment, it is a disadvantage, but let’s continue to believe in what we do, play our game against Liverpool with belief. We will not always be 2-0 down after 20 minutes.”
We have played Liverpool, City, United and Chelsea away as well as Chelsea and United at home – we have played our hardest games of the season now. Liverpool at home will be the test and if we can coem away with three points, then there is no reason not to believe.
Onto team news, and little Eduardo amazing run of injuries shows no light as he’s out for another week, but we do have a striker in Bendtner who has a few games and training under his belt and can come in and make a difference. Even if he doesn’t hit the heights we want him to, his presence will give us another option and will give us the ability to play players in their right positions. It’s a difficult one to know who will start but I have a feeling, it may be the following team:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Song – Diaby
Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
Of course, this leaves Eboue, Nasri and Walcott on the bench, but this gives us options. With Walcott’s starting berth on Sunday, I don’t think Arsene will start him for two games in 4 days. I think Bendtner will get the start that will mean that Arshavin moves to the left – his best position and I believe Nasri will be rested after his efforts on Sunday.
For Liverpool, they will be without Fernando Torres, but their captain Stevie G will lead the line with Kuyt – probably their two most influential players, but the midfield dynamo hasn’t been up to his best this season and we should be too strong for them. The plan of action is to be disciplined, something we’ve lacked in the last two games. To be patient and let the front four players have a go.
It’s an exciting game tonight and I really do think we will win and I hope we give Liverpool a good seeing to, to increase the gap between them and us and to start climbing up again and clawing back some lost points.
Early news this morning – in the Mirror – is that we’ve agreed the signing of Maroune Chamakh on a pre-contract that will see him join us in summer on a free and a £50k contract. Whether or not it’s tabloid talk is yet to be clarified – we shouldn’t really believe it until we see it on the official site – and it’s not on there at the moment… he’s not joining us now, so we don’t really have to worry about this until the end of the season anyway!
For those of you who are worried or bemused by all the rumours around Cesc, I wouldn’t worry – they have been happening non stop for the last few years. Whilst I don’t agree with the tactics that Barcelona and the Spanish and English media employ in destabilising players, fans and clubs, speculating and worrying will get us nowhere.
Arsene is keen to focus on winning the next game…
“There is no concern at all. What is more of a concern is that we try everything to win something. Cesc is committed when he plays, [so] what’s the future? We don’t know what will happen in six months, in two years, in five years. Your commitment is when you sign your contract and where you play.”
So, forget rumours, forget the recent defeats and let’s cheer on the team tonight. We need to take the season one game at a time, give our all, as fans, which will in turn allow our players to reagin the lost confidence (well, Theo still thinks we will “kill” any team we play) and start getting back to winning ways.
Get behind the team tonight, it’s going to be the start of the rest of our season, and who knows what’s in store…