Arsenal vs Everton… The Preview!

After an underwhelming performance at Olympiacos mid-week, we now face Everton at home in a very much must win game. Granted, we’ve done relatively well to climb up the table, but we have a long way to go. Everton are a strong team and we’ll need to be at the races in every which way possible by the time we kick off. We’ve had some slow starts recently, and perhaps that’s cost us points against Fulham and Olympiacos.

Against Everton, we need a fast start, an attitude of closing down and a desire to win throughout the team. We do have a slight injury problem as all 4 of our wing backs – Sagna, Jenkinson, Santos and Gibbs – are all ruled out with injury. Arsene summarising the injury crisis:

Santos has an ankle injury so he is out. He will see a specialist in the coming days. Mannone and Fabianski are both out. Mannone has a shoulder problem, he saw a specialist on Thursday night. Fabianski has a nasty cut on his knee. Almunia will be back in the squad. Everybody else who was out there in Greece looks available, and the players who stayed at home are available as well.

We do have 6 fit and raring to centre back though, in Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertersacker, Djourou, Miquel and Squillaci and it would seem to me that we’d look at playing 4 out of the 6 of them… The big question is who will start… the two combinations that may work are:

(Right) Djourou – Metersacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen (Left)

or

(Right) Koscielny - Metersacker – Vermaelen – Miquel (Left)

The question comes down to who you’d rather have at the back, Djourou or Miquel. Personally, Djourou has been a liability this season (still no idea where his awesome form from last season went)… whereas Miquel has actually played quite well. Playing the latter four would mean keeping Koscielny at right back, where he has played very well and keep the Mert and TV5 together in the middle where they have also been decent…

So, my hopeful line up is:

Szcznesy

Koscielny - Metersacker – Vermaelen – Miquel

Arteta – Song

Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho

Van Persie

With a bench of Almunia, Djourou, Squillaci, Frimpong, Rosicky, Arshavin, Benayoun, Chamakh

It’s a shame that we can’t have 12 of the bench, I’d like to see a place for Oxlade-Chamberlain, as to be totally honest, I think he can do a better job than Arshavin or Benayoun coming on to change the game if required. Let’s see what Arsene does, but it would be smart to reward him of a place on the bench due to his recent good performances.

Talking about good performances… today Arsenal unveiled the best accolade to a player who was full of good performances… the one and only Theirry Henry, the legend himself was award an amazing accolade in a statue of himself at the Emirates…

Pretty amazing hey! There were three statues – one of Henry, one of Tony Adams and one of Herbert Chapman.

Henry was down at the Emirates and spoke of his delight at the statue, but in the most humble of ways, to the man he is today, he credited his team mates for the accolade:

“I want to insist how important how important it was for me to play with some great players. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to play there.  When you look at the likes of the back four – Martin [Keown], Nigel [Winterburn], Lee [Dixon], David [Seaman], Lauren who came after, [Sol] Campbell, [Ashley] Cole – I am going to name the whole squad – Patrick [Vieira], Sylvain [Wiltord] too, who was underrated at the time because he was an amazing player. Robert [Pires] as well. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did – we went through a season unbeaten. I wanted to say that again – without your team you are nothing. It would not have been possible without them so I want to thank them too.”

He also spoke on how much he has been taken aback about the statue…

“When I left Arsenal [was the last time I was that emotional]. It’s part of the past now, but when I did leave Arsenal, yes [I cried]. The guys might be thinking that I’m saying this because I’m here right now but I love Arsenal, I’ve said it so many times.I support the Club now and I always come back. There’s something about Arsenal Football Club, it’s a family club. Every time players want to come back to train, to feel it, the vibe of the dressing room, to see the boss again and all the people at the training ground. There are great people all over the stadium. ”I’m more than proud – honoured, privileged. At the very beginning I honestly thought it was a joke, until I realised it wasn’t. As I said out there, 125 years of history, when you know the players that have played for Arsenal Football Club and I was chosen to be out there next to the stadium.  I always have something to say usually but I’m kind of speechless. The way the statue is with me leaning in front of the stadium is a great one – it’s exactly how I feel about Arsenal Football Club. Also facing not just the Emirates, but Highbury. It’s amazing. I never thought I’d be out there like that.  I was fortunate to have won a lot of stuff in my career but that tops it all. You don’t dream about that, it doesn’t ever come into your head. Like I said many times, I always went out there in the Arsenal shirt and played 100 per cent. I can only embrace it right now and what the boss said in his speech about me was overwhelming to be honest.”

And very deserved… Mr Arsenal…

He’ll be in the crowd against Everton, and I hope the team are inspired by him…

Come on you Gooners…

  • Kodjo

    I agree with you Dev. I think AOC should get a place on the bench…but Arsene is the one who sees the players everyday and knows who is ready and who is not.

  • SpeedDemon

    The problem he may “have to” keep established players happy even if they are not performing.

    It’s obvious to see that AOC is playing better than Bena, Arsh and Rosicky, but he won’t get onto the bench cos he is not established and therefore won’t be upset.

  • eric

    how sad it is to see arshavin in this state? What is it with Russian players? Yesterday, when RvP ran over to the bench to celebrate, what stood out was AA staying aloof and away from the celebrations..He hardly tries on the pitch and gets shoved away by a slight nudge everytime..I think its time to cut the cord and let him go.. we will forever remember u AA for the wonderful moments esp Anfield but sorry..for your calibre there have been only those many u can count with your fingers