It’s been a week since our last game, but honestly, it feels like at least two. The Barcelona game feels like it happened in March rather than just 7 days ago, that’s how long it feels we’ve been without football. Last night, I watched the Chelsea vs Bolton game which finished 1-0 to Chelsea, and in all honesty, it was one of those games that Chelsea could have drawn – the amount of chances Bolton had – I mean really good chances – were in abundance and by the end of the game, Chelsea were lucky. But at the end of the day, they got the three points and that is our only concern.
I had a block of cheese and with 15 minutes to go, it looked like Bolton were the only team that were going to score and if they did, I promised to eat the whole block of cheese. My stomach is probably happy that they didn’t equalise, but I’m certainly not.
The table looks like this:
Chelsea, played 34, 77 points
Man United, played 34, 73 points
Arsenal, played 33, 71 points
It’s simple – a win against Sp*rs will put us three points behind Chelsea and more importantly, one point ahead of Man United. Finishing second for us will be better than finishing third as we currently lie. I haven’t given up hope of the title, it’s still mathematically very possible and will be until the last two games of the season if we can win our next three.
Team news ahead of tonight’s game sees Van Persie return to the squad after a very long absence through injury and it will be good to see him back in action. At first, most probably like most of you, I thought it was a little premature – having not had any practice matches / reserve games. But Arsene has assured us that Robin is ready, albeit for a substitute role.
Arsene was quite excited at Robin’s return and he said:
“You would have talked about him along with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, of that I am sure. Of course he is in that company. The biggest frustration is that he had started to compete as one of the best players in the world and suddenly he was out. The sadness was that we lost him very early in the season. Nobody knows what difference he might have made, but I’d have loved to have had him for the whole season. Overall, I don’t believe we have been unlucky this year. I believe the team has shown unbelievable mental strength and has shown it has made a big step forward and this team deserves a lot of credit. But it is great to have Robin back. You look at him in training and it’s like he’s never been away. He’s a very important player for this club. He’s very important for the confidence of our offensive power. He can give a final ball, score goals and is good on set-pieces. He will not start, so I don’t think he will be captain. But he is a leader because he has a football brain and is a football thinker. All his vibes are in the game. He is a winner and he has matured a lot in the last three or four years as well.”
That’s quite an accolade for Robin, but he is a bundle of talent and we’ve seen the exceptional skill he has in glimpses in the last year – but like Arsene, I have to say that I also thought he was “coming of age” and really turning into a talent before his injury earlier this season. Although he won’t start the game, he will be on the bench and will feature if the time is right – maybe for 15 minutes or so.
In other team news, Arsene also revealed that Alex Song is still out injured and William Gallas is still 3 weeks away.
The likely line up could well be:
Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy
Denilson – Diaby
Walcott – Nasri – Rosicky
We’ll have Van Persie on the bench of course, most likely alongside the likes of Fabianski, Eboue, Silvestre, Traore, Merida and Eduardo…
Sp*rs will be without Palacios and although Ledley King is back, both Lennon and Kranjar are injured – the home team has just played 120 minutes of football on Sunday and we’ve had a week off. If there is ever a time to beat Sp*rs and ever a time to beat them with aplomb, the time is now.
Tonight is the time to leap frog United and put some pressure on Chelsea – oh yeah, and put Sp*rs to the sword in the meantime…