Today is a MASSIVE game for us (note the capitals)… after our break of Premiership football, where we failed to beat Championship teams – twice… a break where Arsene tried to get some fringe players back to fitness and sharpness and a break where we’ve take a foot out of the Carling Cup final door… But none of that matters now – all that matters is today’s game. 3 points on offer, 3 points required. There is no need to tell you – West Ham is a tough place to go… and we will see what we’re made of now.
Arsene talked about the condition of the team and talked about going to Upton Park…
“I said we were naïve and had no spark. I don’t think I have anything to change on that statement. The players are conscious of that, it was a night off as you say. We are of course sorry and we want to put things right in the second leg. We had a completely average performance. But we will not play like that at West Ham. We want to win there. We respect the way that Ipswich played but now we want to play well at West Ham on Saturday. We are on a good run in the Premier League and we want to continue that. We have produced fantastic games, quality-wise, during the Christmas period. I think we switched off a bit mentally during the Cup games, I am confident we will switch on against West Ham.”
Let’s hope we lose the fatigue, are rejuvenated and focused for today’s game – tiredness and fatigue aren’t really an excuse in January, especially when we rotate up to 8 players at one time! On to team news for today and the manager confirmed that Fabianski is still injured and will not be available for selection today – although he did back him publicly as his number one, but was also complimentary to the younger Polish stopper, Szcznesy, who will be in goal today.
“Szczesny has presence, has size and has quality,” he said. “We are in a world of competition but, for me, at the moment it’s clear Fabianski is No 1”.
In addition to this revelation, we also know that Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie will return to the squad, so I expect the line up to be……………..
Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott – Cesc – Nasri
With a bench of O’Shea, Gibbs, Denilson, Arshavin, Rosicky, Chamakh and Bendtner
I’m not going to re-ignite the “why has Chamakh been dropped” saga, or maybe I am – I really expected to see more of him in the last two games. What has he done wrong to deserve being dropped, and after scoring 10 goals this season, how has Bendtner been chosen ahead of him in recent times?
Today’s game has a bit more spice to it, with news coming in this morning that Martin O’Neill has been appointed manager of West Ham today… He’ll officially take over after today’s game and I’m not quite sure if it’s a good or bad thing for us – maybe the disruption behind the scenes will mean a little confusion on the pitch for them… but usually a new manager coming in does galvanise the team… let’s hope West Ham are the exception to the rule…
Okay… time to start tweeting away… all that is left to say is… come on you Gooners!!!!