Following the howls of derision at Salford FC at full time on Sunday, where the mid table home team conceded a late Fergie time equaliser to bottom of the table Fulham, David Moists’ charges travel to the homeland of their support, London, tonight to put their Europa League qualification campaign back on track.
Having said that the Arsenal themselves have to wipe out the memory of the worst performance of the season so far at Anfield, even though that defeat was the first in the League since the 6-3 reverse to the Northern oilers back in mid December.
Thanks to the Baggies draw with the Southern oilers last night (are cracks appearing in The Specious one’s kingdom?) a win will take us back to the top of the table; further incentive if any were needed.
Our (totally un)worthy opponents have lost three of their last six and scraped two wins and a valiantly gained the aforementioned draw in their last dirty half dozen of games. Injury wise there’s no Jones, Fellaini or Jonny Evans so we face them more or less at full strength but potentially low on confidence.
Temporarily turning away from the unsavoury topic of the opposition and back to the good guys, we all know Theo, Rambo and Vermaelen are injured and Flamini unavailable, together with two more we didn’t expect to see anyway for differing reasons, Diaby and Källström.
A wild card in squad selection is Sanogo, who played 60 minutes for the stiffs last week, and is available even though I suspect it’s doubtful he will play any more than a bit part in the game if any at all.
Going by Moist’s very clever tactic of pumping cross after cross into the area for the giants Hernandez and Shrek to get on the end of, one hopes Wenger has made heading practice a priority for BFG and Kozzer.
Speaking to a ManUre fan of my acquaintance (Hounslow born and bred, of course) recently it was felt if you deny their midfield space, Carrick especially, they’d be unable to play and the front players would be starved of service.
The other facor is the arrival of Mata, nothing would encourage the eye gouger to congratulate himself on his ploy of selling a world class player to a team CSKA Fulham bus stop would no longer play this season.
With those options available and given the performances of the starting XI on Saturday team selection may not be as straight forward as in the past, however Wenger tends to send players who had a bad game out to make amends on the pitch so I am going with Wenger’s selection to be:
Personally I would have Tomáš Rockin’ Rosický in place of Arteta and maybe Podolski given a rare start so Özzy can come on later, although not necessarily as late as 65 minutes.
A hugely important factor in tonight’s performance is the help the crowd can give to the players from the off. Groans and squeals if a few early passes go astray will not help so we need the crowd to unite behind one common factor that will bind the home support together, namely this “person”:
Yes, this man and his deranged, eye-bulging rabid celebration after scoring against us at old Toilet, should remind us just what our opponents are all about and why I hate them so much.
What did he say when he sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver?
“I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United.”
Of course the little boy inside would say that, yet what would this little boy have said?
Fast forward to 2011 and we get this from Bouchra’s husband:
“The bottom line is that I want to win trophies with Arsenal, not with anybody else. I know you can win trophies in many countries and in many ways, but I want to do that in our way and in an Arsenal shirt.
“I’m sure I could win things at another team in another country, but would it feel like our trophy, my trophy? I’m not sure it would. Anything we win here will come from the heart and that’s what I want.
So proof positive, the little boy inside has no heart and if any of the Surrey glory hunters are still with me at this point (and if so why are you still with me? Just bugger off already!)and accuse me of being bitter my answer is:
“Yes I am…next!”
Bitter, but happy to see the grey haired turncoat returning to the perma crock we knew so well from his extended spells on our treatment tables whenever we needed him to be fit. I suggest his Christmas time injury spell was due to a sulk-induced overly protruding lower lip.
Every kick he takes should be met by our disapproval coming in any form possible; I believe every gooner should make every second he is on our turf a painful experience.
What’s that I hear about crossing the lines of what’s banter or not? We all know which are the teams whose fans love to sing “that” song about Wenger and one of those are our opponents tonight.
A spiky, vociferous home support is what is needed to give the good guys that extra push; and making the away fans match day experience as miserable as possible is every gooners duty, go ahead and goad with whatever you can come up with, here are a few suggestions:
“Show us your oyster cards!”
“Is he still the chosen one?”
“Europa cup, you’re having a laugh!”
Send them back to Caterham, Redhill and Carshalton heads bowed in defeat.
We need a big show from the crowd and the team need you tonight more than ever.
By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)