No it’s not a spelling mistake, but I will take the opportunity to wish all Arsenal supporters everywhere a Very Happy New Year. And to all those of you who Yearn for silverware and titles, I offer these words of comfort…….
The season is half over. We’ve done well; we’re 2 points off the top of the table in 3rd place.
Could we have done better? …. YES
Are we fortunate to still be in touch with the top? …. YES
Is it within our power to win the Premiership? …. YES, YES, YES ….. if we show the RESOLUTION and work rate we did against chelski
It all starts today when we face Birmingham City. They are hovering just above the relegation zone on 19 points and represent something of a bogey team for us in recent years. Apart from Martin Taylor putting an end to Eduardo’s Arsenal career, we also have to right the wrong of the very soft late equaliser conceded last season from a Kevin Phillips lobbed header that Stevie Wonder could have saved. Before that game we had a realistic chance of winning the title, but that result accompanied by yet more injuries to key players heralded the start of the collapse of our title hopes as we only collected 7 points out of a possible 18 to the end of the season.
Birmingham are no pushovers as they proved in a hard earned draw against the mancs. They play for one another and are a better side than their position of 16th in the table would suggest. Their team is a mix of ex-Arsenal players (Sebastian Larsson & Alex Hleb), seasoned pros (Stephen Carr), scumbags (Lee Bowyer – but thanks for the goal against manure) and an array of enthusiastic journeyman players schooled by their tough manager Alex McLeish. They also have a giant up front in Zigic who has already scored from a header against us in the home tie which finished 2:1 back in October.
Zigic is a player we have to be aware of, not because of his sumptuous ball skills (because he doesn’t possess any) but simply his physical and aerial threat and for that reason, I implore Arsène to put Song, Djourou and Sczcesny in the side. We need to put pressure on the ball and outclass them in midfield and Big Johan will have to remove Drogba from his pocket to make room for their big Serb.
After Wednesday’s game I have absolutely no idea what side Arsène will put out. I’m not going to second guess him, so this is the team I would pick.
Chamakh looks tired and a little lost so I’d keep resting him and play RvP. The jury is still out as to whether these two can gel in the same team. We cannot afford to have any passengers for this game so Nik and AA would be on the bench for me.
I’m pretty sure Fabiasnki will be in goal and AW is unlikely to pick all the players I have chosen as he will have half an eye on the citeh game coming up on Wednesday. My philosophy is simple, (some of you will probably say flawed and naive) win this game and then worry about the next. If we have the luxury of being 3 goals up with half an hour to go, we can substitute the more important players with any of the excellent options we have on the bench.
We’ll have our captain back and hopefully vice captain in waiting Thomas Vermaelen will shore up the defence very soon. Can we win? can we keep winning?
To the Michael Buble cover song – It’s a new life:
It’s a New Year
It’s a new day
It’s a new game
And I’m feeling good