Now that we’ve had a bit of time to digest Saturday’s game, I think it’s time that the toys went back into the pram. There was a fair bit of ‘burn down the Emirates and hang the manager’ hysteria following the result, which was a bit over-the-top. Yes, it was a bad result. Yes, we played extremely poorly, without any real desire or commitment. But, neither of these can be solely blamed on the quality of the pitch or the team selection. The players that went out onto the pitch didn’t do the business, except for Walcott and Gibbs. End of story. Let’s hope that they have their game face on tonight because we will need a much more committed performance at Anfield against a strong Liverpool side.
A draw tonight would be a good result, considering the number of injuries we have, the disappointment of Saturday’s non-performance and also the fact that Villa could only draw at the weekend against West Ham. For the confidence of the team, I think it is important to get a positive result.
Team news ahead of the game sees Liverpool being without their captain, Gerrard. I expect us to start with Song in central midfield alongside Denilson and Cesc. I really hope Diaby doesn’t start. Out wide, the boss will have to choose between Nasri, Arshavin and Walcott. I have a feeling that he might go with the former two, to give Walcott a bit of a breather and bring him on as a sub. I can’t see the manager not starting Arshavin and if he starts out wide he will probably drift in centrally quite a lot to play just off Bendtner.
Van Persie (surprise, surprise) and Adebayor are set to miss out through injury, so I expect Bendtner to start up front on his own, although I am not sure he is yet up to the task of being the lone target man. I reckon Eduardo will be on the bench, given that he hasn’t played much football. Arshavin should be well rested for this one so I expect a good performance from him.In defence, there is the possibility of Sagna returning in place of Eboue. Otherwise we will line up with exactly the same in defence as we did at the weekend.
It’s a big game for the club, no doubt about that. We don’t want to lose two games on the bounce, not with a champions league semi-final just around the corner. There was tabloid talk that Arsene might like to lose the game against Liverpool in order to keep the pressure on ManUre ahead of the Champions League game, but I think we all know that that’s just a load of tabloid tat. That tactic would almost undoubtedly blow up in our own faces and is ridiculous to suggest. What we need right now is confidence, not a bit of extra pressure on ManUre. We should go there and kill ourselves to get a positive result. It’s what the fans want to see, not another performance filled with mediocrity. If we can get our confidence back, that will bode well for next week’s Champions League game much better than losing in order to keep pressure on ManUre. We need ManUre to be worrying about us, not Liverpool…
Looking ahead to the weekend and it seems that good news may be on the way in the form of a returning Almunia in goal. Let’s hope that will be the case. Fabianski has the potential to be a decent keeper, but he still has a lot of developing to do.
It’s just a short post today because things are hectic at work and I will be busy in the evening. So, here’s hoping to a good performance tonight. If we perform well, we should get a positive result. Though we’ll need to cross our collective Arsenal-supporting appendages to make it happen.
Come on you Reds.
**NOTE: This post was made before new team news was available, so apologies if any of it is a bit wide of the mark.