Merry Christmas to all… I hope you have all enjoyed the time you’ve had with friends and family and now that the Scrabble, Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit is over… and the Turkey, Lamb or Ham has been eaten, it’s time to focus on a major piece of football, which is Arsenal vs Wolves.
Wolves are no mugs – they do have a leaky defence – but they make up for it in tenacity and energy. In fact, twice when Wolves have been losing matches this season 2-1 and 2-0 respectively, when they’ve looked out of the game, dead and buried, have come back to win them. There is a very good solidarity about the Wolves players and we’ll have to on top of our game to beat them. Doyle hasn’t been as prolific as previous seasons, but the player is undoubtedly talented.
Arsene spoke about the opposition and had praise for Mick McCarthy:
“I like Mick McCarthy because behind his severe outlook he is a guy who plays in a fair way. His teams go for it and he has a positive approach to the game. It reflects his real personality. He is a guy who loves football. He is a fighter and will keep going until the last minute. And that’s what you expect from them against this time.”
Arsene knows this, and I am sure the squad know this too. We’ve had a little bit of a break – an extra day than others to recover and we should be raring to go. Yesterday, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all drew. For us, that means a win will bring us closer to the top four – heck, a 5-0 win would see us go 4th… but all we can do is concentrate on our game, focus on what we’re good at, and win every game, one by one.
Team news following the break is that Djourou may be fit enough for a place on the bench, but either Coquelin or Mi,quel may start. Personally, I think Coquelin will get the shout if Djourou is not fit…
Coquelin / Djourou – Koscielny – Mertersacker – Vermaelen
Arteta – Song
Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho
With a bench of Almunia, Squillaci, Frimpong, Rosicky, Benayoun, Oxlade, Park
The reason I haven’t got Arshavin or Chamakh on the bench and I have Oxlade and Park on the bench is down to Arsene’s recent comments about both players being ready for first team action.
In fact, Arsene says he is practically ready:
“He is not far. He is a talented boy, it’s all there – he just needs that toughness in the games and because every game for us is so tight… the other night, again, I could have brought him on and you have the hesitation to do it. But you do not want him to be a little bit overawed by the intensity of the game. He is ready to play. He is just missing that experience at the top level. You have to throw him into a few games.”
He was on the bench against Villa, so I would expect the same – but perhaps in lieu of Arshavin, who has been pretty useless to be honest… when he has come on, he hasn’t quite clicked, hasn’t quite managed to keep or pass the ball, and those are two very important parts of the game.
I would like to see Rosicky start ahead of Ramsey on current form, as the Czech midfielder has been very exciting in his cameos this season. Of course, Ramsey is much younger so naturally more inconsistent, but if things aren’t going our way up front today, I would like to see Rosicky on the pitch as soon as possible.
Festive wishes to all, let the 3 points be ours!!!