Hello from a sunny and warm Yokohama. This weekend is a big one for football, for myself anyway. There is the Arsenal vs. Sunderland game tonight, Liverpool vs. ManUre tomorrow and there is the return of the J-League. Tomorrow I will be heading to the J2 season opener of one of my local teams, Shonan Bellmare, who will be taking on Fagiano Okayama.
Last Sunday’s Carling Cup final was gutting and depressing. I know that it was our fourth choice trophy, but I still wanted to win it. The team didn’t perform up to its full potential and there were some odd starting selections and substitutions. But, you can’t really legislate for such a stupid defensive mistake and for it to occur in the final minutes meant that there was no chance to come back. Frustrating, to say the least. But, such is life for us Gooners.
On to today, the team news is that there is no Fabregas, Walcott, Song or RvP. Ramsey and Koscielny are both in the squad and the latter is likely to start alongside Djourou in the centre of defence. I imagine that Ramsey will be a substitute and will hopefully come on in or around the 70th minute. I hope he gets some game time and it would be great to see him in our starting team again after spending a year out of top flight football.
We will probably start with: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy, Diaby, Denilson, Wilshere, Nasri, Arshavin and Bendtner.
It’s time for Diaby and Denilson to show just why Wenger continues to show them so much faith. We need big games from them over the coming weeks. Denilson is a bit of a strange one, he can often appear to just not be up to scratch but when you look at his numbers he rates well. Diaby, on the other hand, is a player that we all know to have a lot of talent, yet he seems to lack the drive, aggression and work-rate that are required if he is to fulfill his potential. However, I would like to be proved wrong on Diaby and perhaps if he can stay injury free for more than three or four games at a time he will have a chance to develop.
The team needs to get a result today, by hook or by crook. I don’t care if the winner is scored in the 93rd minute via a deflection off someone’s arse, but getting the three points is vital given ManUre’s loss to Chavski during the week and their game against Liverpool tomorrow. We need to close the gap and put pressure on the Mancs. The team also needs to banish the ghost of last Sunday’s result.
There is an interview with Ryo Miyaichi on ATVO which is worth checking out. In it he reveals that he doesn’t really mind where he plays in attack. With his pace, he could be a very useful future addition to our match day squad. A player with pace is something that we needed in the latter stages of the game against Birmingham last week.
Sorry for the brevity of today’s post. I’m hip deep in work and am in the final three weeks (in theory, anyway) of my MA dissertation, so blogging time, more than ever, is at an absolute premium this month.
The game is live on J-Sports Plus and coverage will begin at 23:54. I have yet to figure out why coverage generally begins at 23:54 or 21:39. I mean, why not the more obvious 23:55, or 21:40? The oddity that is Japanese broadcasting companies, I suppose. I’m not even sure why I have wasted time thinking about that.
You can follow me on Twitter, where I am much more active, at: www.twitter.com/colm_smyth or just @colm_smyth
That’ll have to do for today. I have to finish cooking dinner and then get back to the grind.
Take it easy folks. Here’s to three points for The Arsenal tonight.