Birmingham Preview, and Happy New Year!

Morning All… or should I say Afternoon!

On January the 1st, the morning basically finishes at 6pm… It’s an action packed day of football and with the exception of Chelsea every one at the top will be playing – West Brom and United the early kick off, City host Blackpool, Liverpool host Bolton (yes, I know Liverpool aren’t near the top, but just imagine if they lose?), Sp*rs host Fulham and after all that we play Birmingham at their ground in what can only be considered a must win game.

I’ll get onto the team news straight away and come back later to talk about a few other things – Arsene is poised to reserve the 8 changes that he made for the Wigan game and field the team that beat Chelsea, which will mean the starting line up will be:

Fabianski

Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Van Persie

With a bench of Szcznesy, Eboue, Squillaci, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, and Chamakh

No space on the bench for Denilson and of course injury absentee, Abou Diaby is also missing – there are many people who get on Diaby’s back and just a quick reminder that it’s not his fault he is injured again – if anything, people need to look why our players don’t feature in reserve games and are eased back into action likes other clubs. Going from “out for 3 months” to “straight back in the team” is obviously asking for trouble.

We can see that Arsene is taking special precaution with Van Persie and Djourou, with little game time, but why not grant Diaby a little “special attention”.

“Physically I have to be a little bit more protective with Van Persie and Djourou at the moment. They are just coming back [from injuries]. Djourou was out for nine months with a big question mark about his knee so I am naturally a bit more protective.”

Birmingham do try to play football but there will be a massive temptation to lob balls in Nicola Zigic’s direction – we all remember what he can do – he loves to score against us too! But with Djourou in the team, I think we have a player who can deal with him. It worked very well against Chelsea – the Djourou and Koscielny combination. It’s a shame that Vermaelen has basically been out for the season so far, because Djourou and Vermaelen would make an awesome combination.

There is a lot of news around Vermaelen, and a lot of twitter chat that he is indeed out for the season – but without official news from the club, we simply don’t know – for all we know, he could be back for the Carling Cup semi finals (along with Ramsey). However, amidst all these rumours, and they are become stronger, there is news that we are going in for Real Madrid’s outcasted defender – Garay – whom is an exceptional player on Championship Manager, so who knows, he could be an exceptional player for us! Arsene hinted something may happen if necessary:

“I haven’t ruled out signings. If I have an outstanding opportunity, maybe I will take it. I do not want to sit here and say we won’t, then people can come back and say ‘but you said you wouldn’t sign anyone’. There’s still a big chance we won’t sign anyone because it’s difficult to find better players than what we have, but if there’s an exceptional opportunity, you never know.”

Garay is a good player and he didn’t make the 25 for Real Madrid – the fee is touted at 10 million euros, so that’s about £7m – if Arsene could pull it off, I would suggest that that would be a good deal!

On a separate note to the game, I have to say that the football this Christmas and New Years has been awesome to watch, and yes, the league is calling out for a winter break, but at the same time, it really is a feast of football…

“It is the charm and craziness of English football. Personally I like it, I have been vaccinated after the years I have been here. It certainly contributes to the promotion of English football. The whole world stops and England goes on. That means when Arsenal play Chelsea, the world has no choice than to watch. They don’t work and are bored so they watch English football  - which is not boring. Yes I would like a winter break but after Christmas. I would like to keep that tradition personally and create a break after January 2 for say for two weeks. We can go on holiday for one week and after we can prepare for one week. As it is, we play Man City then three days later we play Leeds and four days after that we play Ipswich. The players are under massive pressure so, when you play a 2-2 at Wigan, it is not the worst result. Mentally it is all very demanding but you have always a game in front of you and what is important is the next one.”

You wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?

Okay, here’s to some favourable results today followed by the 3 points (for us) up at St. Andrews….

Come on you Gunners!!!

  • Fo

    Exactly, brilliant stuff! I wouldn’t want it any other way – I have a really good feeling that we are going to win today and I think Spurs and City will draw. I hope I’m not proved wrong!

  • Fo

    Oh my gosh, West Brom are drawing against Man United – if that finishes like that then a win against Birmingham could put us top!

  • devday

    The top 5 is:

    United, 18, 38
    City, 20, 38
    Arsenal, 19, 36
    Chelsea, 19, 34
    Sp*rs, 19, 33

    How compact is that! We need others to drop points and we need to pick 3 up today!

  • Sam

    ManU are the luckiest team in England & refs do support them, for whatever reason. They collected 3 points today by ref not giving a penalty against them, and the opposition unable to convert the other penalty that was given! This ManU is so soft… Time for ManC & Arsenal to take things serious.

  • devday

    We definitely have an opportunity if we get some consistency!

  • devday

    Fabianski, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie

  • devday

    Bench: Szczesny, Rosicky, Denilson, Squillaci, Arshavin, Eboue, Bendtner

  • Berth

    Good game DEV. The combo of FAB, NASRI and VAN.P was terrific. Hope we win Mancity

  • ZimGooner

    This was a good game and goes to show that there is no time to experiment by fielding mediocre players. That’s the team that will get us silverware with Vermaelen in the fold ofcourse.

  • Goonerman

    I can’t talk about him highly enough but it really does seem when djourou comes into the defence the who backline looks so much more solid!! In my opinion he has to be first choice in every match if fit and when vermaelen does come back it could be a very nice pairing!!

  • andy97

    Morning All

  • vj

    I don’t know guys but clichy is starting to play really well, Djourou again was fantastic, good sub apperance from the dissapointing arshavin, things starting to click, bring on city, Walcott as well stretches the defense so well giving space to cesc rvp and nasri

  • Berth

    @VJ. The Clichy improvement is possibly down to Nasri’s move to the left which also offers defensive cover for our team and again Wilshere’s English Grit helps our midfield a great deal.

  • terrencetg

    In childhood our needs are basic and minimum: food, clothing and shelter. But as we grow we are influenced by our inner desires and expectations. Excessive desires and over expectations cause burden, pain and conflict.

    Cutting them down to proper size makes life easier, happier and hassle-free. It gives mental and emotional space to absorb distress, failure, insult, etc. Life does not always work out the way we plan it to be. It is not straightforward, exact and trouble-free all the time because there are many factors and variables in play.

    For example, we suffer because of others, mistakes, when people are rude and stubborn, our computer breaks down, etc. By lowering our expectations we will be surprised with joy when things work out, and when they don’t we will not be devastated.

    Lowering expectations should not be misunderstood with lowering our standards of excellence and effort. It simply means accepting bad moods, mistakes, failures and glitches to be a part of life.

    Over expectation is a sign of self-centeredness. By reducing it we broaden our purview to include others. We learn to consider others, appreciate them, reward them and serve them.

    A shift from being self-centred to all-inclusive takes places. Arrogance gives way to humility, power dissolves into service and dehbhav (believing one’s self to be the body) is eradicated to unveil atmabhav, which is the core to an eternal and blissful life. This is why we need daily prayer in life.