First all of all a massive thanks to Debs, JAT and Wills, whom in my absence have written some really good articles, and maybe being away is a good thing for the Arsenal, as we’ve won every game… We take on Hull tomorrow in a very important game – well, every game is important from now until the end of the season, in fact, they’re all cup finals, aren’t they – and that is how we played against Porto – a performance which was absolutely top draw.
It’s very close at the top with Man United on 63 points and both us and Chelsea (wagih) on 61 points… Hull for us, of course, will be a difficult test, they are a “bitey” side and have shown what they are capable of – against the big boys – with some impressive performances both this and last season, of course, a shock to all last season when they beat us at the Emirates. This season, there was quite a lot of animosity, with a flare up which resulted in both clubs being fined by the FA.
Tomorrow’s game action sees Chelsea and West Ham meet at Stamford Bridge for a 3pm kick off and then after that sees us travel to he KC Stadium. Chelsea have had a week’s rest or so, but I wouldn’t put it past West Ham to have a real go at them as they’re in need of points just as much as anyone else. Chelsea’s recent losses to Everton and Man City should sure inspire West Ham. With Man United playing on Sunday, we could leapfrog them and keep the pressure up.
Arsene has confirmed that Cesc is out of the fixture and we’ll also be without Alex Song as he completed the second of his two match suspension…
“His chances of playing are 0.5 per cent – that means unless a miracle happens, he will not play. At the moment, Cesc is out of Saturday’s game. We have a little doubt about [Tomas] Rosicky (groin), but we will check that tomorrow morning. Nobody else is back, but we will lose [Alex] Song, because he is suspended.”
With Campbell having played in midweek, I doubt he’ll play again so soon, as recent changes from Arsene have suggested that he doesn’t want Sol to play two games in quite quick sucession, rather to put him in every other game if required. Silvestre would be his natural replacement, and as a result, the team news could mean we’ll see this team deployed tomorrow:
Sagna – Vermalen – Silvestre – Clichy
Denilson – Diaby
Walcott – Nasri – Arshavin
With our next game after this at the Emirates a full week away, there won’t be any need to rest Sagna or Walcott which sees Eboue out of the team, which may be quite disappointing for the Ivorian, as he has shown some excellent form recently. I’d expect Nasri to continue ahead of Denilson and Diaby in the central midfield position and it’s a very exciting team. There is a question of which Niklas Bendtner we will see tomorrow, we all know he can do it, more games under his belt should see his consistency get better.
Arsene took time to praise Eboue’s recent form and said this:
“I believe it is like Theo [Walcott]. He [Eboue] was criticised last year and came back with the right attitude. Put the right performances in and people will love you. We are not loved for what you say when you are a football player but for what you produce on the football pitch. Sometimes we tend to forget that. He did that right. Theo did too. He [Eboue] is developing into a complete player – he can play full-back, right midfield, left midfield. He is a great football player. Emmanuel Eboue starts now to get the credit he deserves. He has a fantastic attitude and loves the game. He is an extrovert who has some talents not only on the football pitch but he can be funny. He uses that in a very positive way for a good mood in the squad. His best position is right back or right midfield. When we want to be a bit more solid we use Sagna and him on the right flank. But he is a very creative player. Full-back is a very important position in modern football, if you start well there – the quality of your pass and of getting out of pressure most of the time in the modern game comes through the wings and starts with the full-backs.
It’s funny, because every time Arsene praises a player before a game, he doesn’t play them in the next one, as we saw when Theo was on the bench against Porto. But personally, I have to say, my opinion of Emmanuel Eboue has completed changed and he’s a much better player than we all thought a year ago. In fact, Arsene has proved me wrong on several occasions with the likes of Flamini, Diaby, Eboue and Bendtner – all four players I was happy to see the back of, but they’ve all proved me wrong to become pretty damn good players. I hope Denilson can shake off his bad form and also prove me wrong.
Suddenly, having had the likes of so many good players back in the squad, having all had a run of games to regain match fitness, we see ourselves with a larger squad and more options. The run in is going to be exciting and there is no reason why we’re not going to be involved…
Come on you Gunners, one game at a time… Til tomorrow…