The Premiership is back, it’s been gone for so long, I can’t really remember what happened last time out… but for us, October will be a vital month. I’ll start today’s blog with a quote for Sir Arsene Wenger III:
“In October the moment of truth starts for the team. The league establishes itself a little bit and the Champions League goes to decisive moments. Therefore of course, it’s important to be decisive and convincing.”
We play Norwich tomorrow at Carrow Road… we have a CL home game against Schalke – being German, they will be tough opposition, then it’s QPR and then Reading. We need 9 points from the next three Premier league games to get back into the title race. Being 7 points behind Chelsea already means against the likes of Norwich, QPR and Reading, we must absolutely without a shadow of a doubt win those games.
Team news ahead of the game sees the return of Jack Wilshere to the squad – or so we all think – Bacary Sagna could also be included in the squad. I doubt either will start, but we’ll see what the manager does. Gibbs is a player who is definitely out along with his English compatriot in Theo Walcott, who is still recovering from the attack during England duty! Diaby and Rosicky look to be out of action for the next month or so, so it’s basically as we were. In the goalkeeping department, both Szcznesy and Fabianski are out injured, so Mannone and Martinez will be our keepers in the squad.
My predicted XI is:
Jenkinson – Mertersacker – Vermaelen – Santos
Arteta – Ramsey
Gervinho – Cazorla – Podolski
And for the bench, I think we’ll see:
Martinez, Koscielny, Sagna, Coquelin, Wilshere, Oxlade, Arshavin
The manager has been in the press and has been talking about our style and how we’re more suited to away games. I’d have to agree. At home, it sometimes quite frustrating and breaking down teams becomes laborious. The good thing about away games is that the onus is on the home team to come out and attack. This means that they will always look to move forward and this leaves gaps.
“The games are a bit more open and because we have a positive attitude away from home. Sometimes we take more advantage of our chances [on the road]. I’m very happy with the behaviour of the team, [be it] away from home or at home. Maybe [we’ve] played with less freedom at home – with a bit more pressure. Let’s do well at Norwich, and I think that will put the team in a better position at home as well.”
There is absolutely no reason why we can’t beat this Norwich side. Individually, we have a great collection of players and they are all in form – Giroud scoring for France mid-week, Cazorla playing for Spain and looking good. Arteta’s had a rest, Gervinho’s got 5 goals this season and Podolski’s free kick was goal of the month.
Here are some interesting facts too!
- Arsenal have not lost at Carrow Road in 11 visits since a 1-0 defeat on Boxing Day 1984 (W4, D7). They have also won a League Cup tie in Norfolk during that time.
- Arsene Wenger’s side have scored 18 goals scored in their last five Premier League meetings against Norwich, who have also scored in each of those matches.
- Norwich are winless in their last nine matches against Arsenal home and away since a 4-2 victory at Highbury on the first day of the Premier League in August 1992.
We’ve got the late kick off tomorrow, 5.30pm, so we’ll see where that takes us and where we start off in the table. A win tomorrow is very much required….
Come on you Gooners!!