Surely one of the most uninteresting International breaks of all time is now over… and it’s lull-i-bye to any further Internationals for a while… fingers crossed… Having seen injury after injury after injury come from International break after International break after International break, it’s make or break time down at the Arsenal in terms of who comes back injury free.
The official site announced that Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci are all back… I would actually swap all three of them being injured for Thomas Vermaelen being fit. As far as we know, the last announcement about Vermaelen was at the end of September when Arsene said he’d be back at the end of October / beginning of November. At the time of writing, Van Persie was due to start for Holland against Sweden in Sweden, and I hope he comes through unscathed.
With our away form absolutely appalling at present, we must must must win at the Emirates on Sunday (yes, we have to wait an extra day!)… Niklas Bendtner is ineligible to play on the weekend, as he is on loan for the season, but nevertheless, Sunderland are no mugs – they have experience in last year’s Man United reserves and fringe players and Steve Bruce is under pressure for a result. And managers love to get a result against the Arsenal when they’re under pressure, don’t they?
This season I’ve often commented on Van Persie’s striker role in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 that we play and likened it to how we used to play with a 4-4-2… Personally, I am a big fan of the former formation, when Bergkamp played just behind Henry. Well, since my comments, it’s interesting that Dennis, the maestro himself, has commented on the current formation and seems to think the same thing….
The former Gunner said:
‘When I look at Robin Van Persie, he is the front player, but he is better in my old role. They are missing an out-and-out goalscorer. Now they play with an extra midfielder instead. The midfielders are all the same sort of players. You need one who wants to get in behind Van Persie.’
And he’s quite right – Van Persie would thrive on having someone playing through the middle with him – and surely that man is “I’m a central striker”, Theo Walcott. Van Persie & Walcott = a younger (and still to develop) version of Bergkamp & Henry. The problem with that formation is that it requires two very good midfielders to marshall the middle of the park – and Song & Ramsey & Arteta have something missing. One of the things to remember too, is that Bergkamp & Henry used to close down very well, something which the current team doesn’t quite do.
But I would love to see Van Persie and Walcott up front, with Gervinho & Oxlade on either side and Jack & Song marshalling the midfield… it may just change the way we play, we might actually end up scoring more than we concede. Which in itself was a previous trait – remember 10 years ago… if Arsenal conceded, you knew they would go down the other end and score a goal straight away. In fact teams used to be scared to score too early against us. But maybe Theo down the middle is not the answer – maybe Park Chu-Young is the answer – he scored his 7th goal in 4 games for his country today. Pretty amazing form for Korea…
No matter what we do, who we play, how we play, if our mentality is right, we will win against Sunderland. In fact, the support behind Arsene is dwindling – the comments I’ve seen have amazed me – and if we don’t win this weekend, then they will only get worse for sure…
Hopefully by the time I write the next instalment, there will be some positive news about the International break with all players returning unscathed…
Did I just jinx it?