Morning fellow Gooners.
Tomorrow is a big big game and one that we are all looking forward to without a doubt. It’s the El Classico of North London – it’s Arsenal vs Sp*rs… this time round – we’re at the Emirates – this time round, we’re playing our full squad in the league – with three points at stake. Admittedly, our home form has not been great this season – with two defeats in just a few outings in the league – but what better way to change it than to get one over our nearest and dearest rivals.
If we win on Saturday… we will go top of the league.
Nice hey? Beat Sp*rs and go top of the league. It’s been a week of Internationals, and as a result, we’ve had a few players popping over the lake to a few foreign countries and the lark. Clichy, Walcott, Sagna and Nasri didn’t have to go too far… Squillaci didn’t have to go anywhere… throw in 45 minutes for Robin, a bit longer for Maroune over in Northern Ireland and with the exception of Andrei, who played a 90 minute game, all of the team should be relatively relaxed and raring to go.
This is our biggest game of the season so far, well, at home, it definitely is.
Earlier in the season, we went to White Hart Lane and won 4-1. It was a magnificent game to watch, a marvel of football – and a key component to that victory was young Jack Wilshere – who is a doubt for the match, the player saying yesterday:
“Feeling better today, training tomorrow and hopefully selected for Saturday.”
And if Wilshere does recover in time, it’ll be boost – I’m sure he’ll be eager to show our local rivals what he’s made of – but if he doesn’t make it, then after Denilson second half performance against Everton, I’ll be happy for him to deputise – and the reason for Denilson good form is simply that his place in the team is not guaranteed and he has to fight for his spot. Which means every opportunity he gets to impress, he has to take it – and this is something that we’ve not really had at the Arsenal – competition for places – and I’m glad that Arsene has a dilemma of who to pick, three fit strikers is a first for Arsene.
And he’ll have to make that decision tomorrow – I’m sure Van Persie will be very keen to start the game tomorrow – but how do you leave out Maroune Chamakh, whose form has been the constant is our rise to 2nd in the table. Can he accommodate both? I’m not sure… well, I’m not sure in the 4-3-3… so, here’s my guesstimated lineup…
Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy
Wilshere - Song
Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Szcznesy, Gibbs, Eboue, Denilson, Rosicky, Walcott and Van Persie
So, in my opinion, and surely based on Wednesday’s performances, Nasri will be selected ahead of Walcott, and Van Persie remaining on the bench – a bit controversial, but where can he play without dropping the front four? With Braga away on Tuesday, it could be a good time to re-introduce Van Persie to the starting line up – in a game that if we won – we’d be through to the next stages of the Champions League…
One of Sp*rs players stands out and that’s the one they are now calling Bale-inho… an over-reaction of sorts, but credit where it’s due, the young Welshman has done very well in recent games to raise his profile… The player marking him Saturday will be Bacary Sagna, and the Frenchman commented on Bale:
“He’s doing very well at the moment but don’t put pressure on him too early. He will learn a lot, he’s only 21 so he will improve a lot in the next few years. But, at the moment, he’s one of the most dangerous wingers.”
In fact, Sagna still remembers last season’s 2-1 defeat on route to the title – well, non title for us… and talks about getting revenge for the defeat:
“We have to win because we lost the last derby and if we want to be competitive, we have to take the three points. Of course everyone is ready, everyone is focused, everyone is motivated. Now we have to do it. We have to think about Saturday, but first we have to rest because everyone played for their national teams.”
Very true Bacary, very true!
And tomorrow we will see the return to the Emirates of former captain William Gallas – I’m sure he’ll come back to a major chorus of boos – he didn’t really do much for us except upset everyone and he didn’t really get on with anyone – well, he definitely didn’t get on with Nasri.
Interesting to see Sagna come out in support of Gallas:
“I’m not angry at him because he signed for our rivals. He was always very professional and he always gave everything [during his time here]. Football is football, I’m not furious against him. He needed to leave to play football and that is what he loves. Even if the newspapers were talking about him because of his behaviour, [that] was his hunger because he wanted to win so much. Maybe he expressed it in a bad way but it was not bad at all because he wanted us to win. I’ve kept in touch with him. On the pitch there is a war but off the pitch we are all friends.He deserves a good reception because during the time he played for Arsenal he always did well.”
But I can understand why – the two boys are still mates – we all know how football works – you have friendships and when players leave your team, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer friends with them- unless you’re Adebayor, of course… but I have to say that Sagna is on his own there… I don’t think many fans will give Gallas a good reception!
Okay, there it is… Arsene will be giving his pre-match conference a little later today and we’ll hear a little about team news and his approach to the game… all that is left to say is… Come on you reds!!!!!!