Today we play Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, kick off 4p.m.
We have lost Abou Diaby to a calf strain from the north London derby, so I expect to see the following line-up:
Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy
Walcott Van Persie Nasri
On paper that is a team which should smash past a Bolton side which was torn apart by Stoke last week in the FA cup semi finals. You would expect their morale to be shattered after such a crushing defeat and the prospect of having to host Arsenal next should be a daunting one.
However, this is not the same Arsenal side that had the best away record in the first half of the season. If this match was 6 months ago I would be comfortable in thinking this was a near certain 3-pointer. A series of disappointing results since the Carling Cup final has left us with a weakened morale of our own to be worried about.
Arsene speaks about how to rectify this:
“It’s down to belief. Belief is the mother of the feeling and the feeling is the direct consequence of the motivation you put into your next game. If your belief is very low, your feeling is very low. What I think we can get from our performances is the belief that we have the quality.”
I believe we have the quality too. However, what I see is a team whose battery dies at around 65 minutes in each game. For me, this is the problem we face at the moment. This team is clearly exhausted, their season is over and they need a summer break. In every game a few traits can be seen consistently. One of them is a lack of creativity in the final third in the final 30 minutes of a match. For many, this exhaustion stems from not having a summer break. We never have a good season after a World Cup and I always worried this season would be the same. The World Cup, the pointless replays against lower league teams we played at the beginning of the year, the injuries to key players who haven’t