I have to say that the Premier league is a crazy competition. A few weeks ago, we were looking at the possibility of not getting a UEFA cup spot next year, but a few weeks on, after wins against Liverpool and Sp*rs and a win but more importantly a valiant effort against Milan in the Champions League, we’re suddenly looking in much better shape.
This weekend has seen Man City lose but more importantly for us, seen Liverpool and Sp*rs lose. And Liverpool seem to be dropping off the radar a little, leaving three clubs – Sp*rs, Chelsea and ourselves. Chelsea are now level on points with us, but we have better goal difference, but to put a long story short, we’re pretty much joint 4th. And we obviously want to be clear by some points. With Sp*rs slump in form continuing, it means that we could get to one point from them if we beat Newcastle on Monday.
Who would have though hey? I would be a happy man if we finished third – third means guaranteed qualification for the Champions League and ultimately, it would allow us to plan better for the summer, plan better in terms of fixtures, competitions, the transfer market and more.
Things may already be changing in terms of our recruitment policy, with the interest we have in Lucas Podolski. Arsene is not usually someone who comments on players if they have not yet been signed, but last week, he devulged some information on the Cologne striker:
‘He is a good football player above all. He can play for us because he can play central, he can play right and he can play on the left. He has 96 caps for Germany and is 26 years old which is the best age. He is available at a reasonable price if we can reach an agreement, but at the moment we are nowhere near. I don’t want to disappoint people and let down their expectations. Let us first see what we can do.’
Interesting words from the gaffer and if he does join, it sounds like he will play alongside Van Persie, meaning that it could lead to change in formation. Podolski got sent off on the weekend for a headbutt, maybe that will lower his price?
For now though, it’s a matter of Arsenal vs Newcastle.
Newcastle are no mugs this season, and the duo of Cisse and Demba Ba are capable of scoring at any time if we let them. We need to be on top top form to ensure we can win tomorrow. It’s essential that we do not let our recent wins get to our head. We need to be up for this game both defensively and attackingly – and team news from Arsene over the weekend is that we have Arteta, Ramsey and Santos back in the squad.
Personally, I’d like to see Rosicky maintain his position behind Van Persie – he’s been in excellent form in the last few games and deserves the recognition and place in the starting line up… My XI would be:
Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Arteta – Song
Walcott – Rosicky – Gervinho
With the likes of Santos and Oxlade on the bench with Chamakh and Park (if things go unbearably wrong). There is a lot of calls for Oxlade to start, but we must not forget that we have Gervinho, whose first half of the season, we should remember, he really was someone who I thought would come on leaps and bounds and he is such a talented player, that a run in the team would give him more confidence and get him back to the form he was in earlier in the season.
Arsene spoke on Oxlade and whether he would start against Newcastle and the boss said:
“His feet are on the ground but we have to manage him in a responsible way as well. The problem when you have a talented player like that is that everybody wants him to play every single game. If you do that then he will be injured.
Fair enough, and where we have options like Walcott & Gervinho, perhaps Oxlade should be on the bench for now. Someone who can come on a make a difference if needed. Someone who can learn, watch and absorb. There is no doubt that the player has a lot of talent, but Arsene is right, he has to be managed in the right way.
That’s my digest for now, big game tomorrow. A win will see us 1 point behind Sp*rs. Let’s make it happen!