Time to do an Alan Partridge.

November 6, 2010

Yes, you read that title right. Though you will only get the meaning of it if you have watched the show and know that in it he had an autobiography called ‘Bouncing Back.’ That’s exactly what we have to to against Newcastle this weekend.


Apologies for no post-Shakhtar blog, I have been struggling with some kind of bastardo illness. Hopefully I can shake that off this weekend. Suppose it also means that I can save some money, and my liver, by staying indoors. That money can now be used for a bit of speculate-to-accumulate action on Paddy Power for this weekend’s games.


Team news ahead of tomorrow’s game is that Gibbs and Diaby are out, as are the more obvious Ramsey, RvP and Vermaelen. Though RvP is now back in training and Vermaelen is nearing a return to training. According to the manager, Vermaelen is a matter of days away from a return to training. Great news. It is looking good on the injury front, touch wood. Also returning to the squad are Koscielny and Sagna who were rested in midweek, along with Cesc, Song, Arshavin and Denilson who didn’t travel to the Ukraine as they were carrying knocks. However, there is still a question mark over Cesc’s involvement on Sunday and he will have a fitness test sometime today.


Diaby is still out with an ankle injury which I assume to be a consequence of the tackle in the game against Blackburn. If I remember right, that is the same ankle that he injured against Sunderland in 2006, an injury which could easily have ended his career. Diaby is a strange player, he has all the skill needed to become a class act but he lacks the work rate and desire at times and this is slowing his progress. If he gave 100% in every game, he would be a real asset for our squad but, more often than not, he has frustrated. Listening to manager talking about the fears they have for Diaby’s fitness, it sounded like the player could have some serious ongoing long-term issues with that ankle. Fingers crossed that that isn’t the case and that he can regain fitness and become the player that the manager clearly believes he can become.


It will be important to keep Carroll in check tomorrow and we will also need to keep an eye on Nolan at corners. I’m sure that Newcastle will try to put a bit of pressure on Fabianski and he will need to be strong and stand up to the challenge. Our players will also have to prepare themselves from some kicks being delivered by Dolly Barton.


I think that the starting eleven tomorrow will be Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Arshavin and Chamakh.


I would like to see Walcott start ahead of Arshavin however, as he played in the Ukraine in midweek, he may have to settle for a role on the bench. I am still not at all convinced that Nasri is suited to playing in a wider position, as he has his best games for us when he plays more central, but he could always drift inside leaving space for a Sagna to move into.


The fact that we will play before Chavski will give us a great chance to close the gap on them and put them under increased pressure to get a result against Liverpool. Newcastle will be a tough opponent, but it is a great chance for the team to get the month of November back on track after the shaky start in the Ukraine.


The new owners of Liverpool have again raised the idea of playing a Premier League game abroad. Now, if I were a UK or Ireland based fan I would be against the idea. However, as I now live in Yokohama, I am totally in favour of the idea, assuming that it is feasible. These days, a game played abroad is the best, and cheapest, chance that I would have to see a game. For the most part, it seems an unworkable idea given the already packed league schedule. The only way that I could see it working is if it takes place on the opening day of the season, thus allowing teams to travel to their destination ahead of time and even incorporate it into their pre-season schedule, or tour. Apart from that the only other way I see it being workable is if there was a winter break and the game abroad was played as the final game just before that break starts, thus allowing the players to recover from the trip during the break. One thing is for sure, with more and more teams being owned by overseas investors, it is an issue that is unlikely to go away.


I just want to say that I won’t be discussing the alleged affair which our manager is supposed to have had. It is a totally private matter between the man and his family. The shitrag that is reporting it should never be bought by any true Arsenal fan ever again. I mean, who cares if he has had an affair anyway? In my opinion, it’s better for someone to have an affair than to leave club after club in financial ruin, a la Hairy Rednob. I hope that this matter will serve to unite the team even more in their support for the manager and start an us-against-them siege mentality. That’s all I have to say on the matter.


If you are based in Japan there is plenty of football action live on TV, as usual, this weekend. Tonight at 21:39 there is Bolton vs. Tottenham, followed by ManUre vs. Wolves at 23.54. Both games are on J-Sports Plus. On Sunday, you can catch Arsenal vs. Newcastle at 22:24 on J-Sports Plus, West Brom vs. ManShitty at 23:54 on J-Sports 2 and Liverpool vs. Chavski at 00:54 on J-Sports Plus.


On Paddy Power you will find odds of 21/10 for a penalty being scored by either side, 5/1 for Nasri to score from outside the box, 17/2 for both Chamakh and Carroll to score, 20/1 for Dolly Barton to be sent off and Wilshere is 16/5 to score anytime.


Once again, a reminder that if you would like to follow me on Twitter, you can find me at @colm_smyth.


One last thing before I go, if you are going to the game tomorrow make sure you sing your hearts out in support of the boss. A banner or two wouldn’t go astray either. The boss is going to need our support, as will the team. Time to get the Emirates rocking in support of both.


That’s all for today, have a good weekend folks.