What will be today’s most prevalent discussion in the bars before the game today? Lack of signings and our injury problems. The signings may well arrive but once again we go into an early season game with a long injury list and a threadbare squad. I cannot recall us starting a season with a fully fit squad in many years – what is the point of pre-season training and friendlies if we are to lose players with such startling regularity?
We start our home PL campaign against a confident and resurrected Liverpool. A team which has had a fortune spent on it since the arrival of “King Kenny”. Look at their bench and compare it to ours today – which team looks prepared to compete for the title? This depresses me and many of our fans. It is cause for discontent. And yet I believe that even with our depleted first 11 we will give Liverpool a shock today.
Wenger has insisted upon playing the same system from youth level to the first team which has resulted in new players slotting into the first team with confidence. They have already spent much of their careers playing Wengerball, hence Frimpong’s impressive cameo on Tuesday evening. With Song paying for his stupidity young Frimpong is very likely to start today.
Back to the injuries – Rosicky, Gibbs, Traore (perhaps), Diaby, Wilshere, Djourou – all unlikely to play today.
Will Nasri play? He is in the squad (though we have named 19, so by now he could be out!). He must be fit having played for France not so long ago. If he plays, how will the fans react? His departure though likely is not in any way certain. He could sign his contract and become an Arsenal great. Remember Rooney last season; one week about to sign for City, the next signs a long term contract at OT. It is unlikely that the Nasri situation will end with the same result – we will definitely not give Nasri €220k a week and nor should we. I would play him – we are paying his wages, so let him bloody earn them.
Liverpool are going to be a force this year. They have improved all over the pitch and what they have managed for the first time in many years is to create a team which does not rely on Gerrard. That they can have Stevie G injured and still have such a good player as Meireies on the bench bodes well for them. Thinking of MF’s, where is Joe Cole? And Aquilani? The new signings have been expensive but good quality: Adams, Enrique, Carroll, Suarez, Henderson and Downing are all fine players, especially Suarez who looks “super quality.” This is a rejuvenated Liverpool.
An interesting afternoon looms for the defence. The bulk of Carroll and the darting runs of Suarez will test TV and Kos. The lack of an adequate left back will be a problem and I hope AW can find a decent solution. Midfield is an area in which we will be seriously depleted and one can imagine Dalgleish expecting his team to completely dominate. Who would you play? This is my guess ……
Subs: Who knows!
My choice of Squillaci is because I do not believe it is wise to blood the very inexperienced Jenkinson out of his natural position. Squillaci is not the best but he remains an Arsenal player and is a defender! Perhaps Lansbury, Frimpong or Rasp could play LB and assist in us not being forced to play the Italian – only AW will know.
I have been googling for inventors born in Liverpool and all I can find is one Kenneth Dodd who invented something called the “tickling stick” sometime in the 1960’s.
It would be great to start with a win today and Arsenal are always best when facing adversity. Let’s hope this patched together team can pull off a surprise.
Key player? Arshavin. He likes scoring against the Scouse.
Written by Big Raddy